We didn't call it LOW-SSSS like it was some royal palace. We called it LO-EASES. Because that's how you really say LOEWS.
This one was on Delancey Street. So we called it DA LO-EASES DELANCEE (as opposed to the one on Grand Street and Essex which was smaller). And it was no royal palace. It was a beat-up movie theater with a tattered lobby.
"Where ya goin'?" "LO-EASES DELANCEE. Gonna go see a pitcha."
Florence told me when she was a girl - and even as a young woman - she used to climb up the fire escape stairs and sneak into the movie house to see the second feature because it was easier to sneak in during the second half. It was easier to sneak in, period. No fire alarm, no cameras, no nothing.
I remember me and my big sister going to the Saturday matinees, the place packed with screaming kids. The "COMING ATTRACTIONS!" were always horror movies trailers with monsters and demons and really scary men. Maybe there was already too much fear inside me from this life or a past life or the street life but I would freak out and run to the back of the theater and hide in the lobby until "COMING ATTRACTIONS!" were over. For years the words "COMING ATTRACTIONS!" sent me into a panic.
On the rare occasion Florence took me along in one of her infrequent escapes, it was understood I was not to bother her or remind her of her current life as mother/wife/piano teacher. I was to be a silent witness. So when I panicked at "COMING ATTRACTIONS!” I tried to be really quiet about it. This was her time and I now wonder what movie I really watched - the one on the screen or the one sitting next to me.
Who knows what lives inside DA LO-EASES DELANCEE these days…the neighborhood spouting up luxury housing, the street level filled with cheap stores and cheaper national chains. Any hint of a movie theater has been obliterated. But ghosts of those stairs are still there, etched into brick, holding memory of a rakish girl sneaking in to see a pitcha.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.