IFC Center Peephole – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura

IFC Center Peephole

The best way to get a sneak peek at the movies. 


Upon exiting the West 4th Street subway in New York City, just across from the famous “Cage” street basketball court, you will find the IFC Center. It was formerly known as The Waverly, immortalized in the song “Frank Mills” from the Broadway show “Hair.” The theater features independent and foreign films. But if you don’t feel like buying a ticket, there is a secret way to get a peek inside, and even watch a film, right from the sidewalk.

When facing the entrance, look for a small metal circle about five feet from the ground. On the circle, you will notice two more, eye-width apart. No other signage exists. Get close, slide over the eye covers and you will have a direct view into one of the theaters. If a film is currently playing on screen, you’ll be able to watch from the sidewalk (while looking a bit like a crazy person with their face smushed up against the wall).

According to Bedford and Bowery, the peepholes came about in 2009, after an old cafe was converted into theaters four and five. Larry Bogdanow, the architect who converted the old Waverly Theater into the IFC Center, came up with the idea.

If you’re passing by, give it a look. Who knows what’ll be on the other side!

Know Before You Go

If anyone is in line to have a peek, be considerate and keep it moving.

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