The Quad Cinema is New York City's first four-screen movie theater, and, according to its founder, the "East Coast's first multiplex". Located in Greenwich Village, it was opened by entrepreneur Maurice Kanbar, along with his younger brother Elliott Kanbar, in October 1972. It has been described as "one of the oldest independent cinemas in the city" and "a vibrant center for art house films."
In the late 1960s, Maurice Kanbar, an inventor and real estate investor, purchased a six-story loft in Manhattan with plans to create an Off Broadway theater. After those plans fell through, he found himself with a large block of unused ground floor space. Kanbar thought that it would be a good idea to build a movie theater with multiple small auditoriums rather fewer larger ones, so that the complex could be profitable even with smaller audiences at most screenings, so he opened the Quad, which he calls "the East Coast's first multiplex". From 1972 to 1988 the theater was operated by Bernard Goldberg, executive vice-president of Golden Theatre Management, operator of the Quad and six other New York City houses. The theater exhibited Hollywood studio films (see movie studio), independent films, and revivals of older films, but had difficulty obtaining the most attractive releases due to the exclusive licensing practices then followed by film distributors. Legal action led to substantial monetary settlements.
In 1988, Maurice's brother Elliott took over the theater's operations. Facing new competition from new theaters opening in Lower Manhattan, the Quad adopted a strategy of exhibiting foreign and independent films. This strategy proved to be financially successful, although it also led to competition between the Quad and other downtown art film exhibitors, notably the nonprofit Film Forum and the IFC Center. In a 2010 interview, Elliott Kanbar noted that in its earlier history the theater had benefited from a switch of its distributor relationship to City Cinemas, which had a positive relationship with Walt Disney Pictures and its Touchstone Pictures affiliate, and that it was regularly frequented by Andy Warhol, whose "fans would come in droves" and whose influence was a factor in the theater's "big homosexual audience for certain films." In March 2010, the Quad announced a new initiative to assist national and foreign filmmakers wishing to self-distribute low budget films via "four wall distribution"  and, most recently (May 2012), the so called  QUADflix program.
Other art cinemas in Manhattan
Other art houses in Manhattan: