Elgin Theater

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Coordinates: 40°44′34″N 74°00′02″W / 40.742766°N 74.000545°W / 40.742766; -74.000545

The Joyce Theater in 2009; this building formerly housed the Elgin Theater
This article is about the theater in New York. For other uses, see Elgin Theatre (disambiguation).

The Elgin Theater opened in 1942 on the corner of 19th Street and Eighth Avenue in New York City. It was designed in the Art Moderne style by Simon Zelnik[1] and was a popular movie house for decades seating 600. It served as a home to cult films and revivals and, later in its career, as an adult theater. In 1978 the community forced it to close. Even while it was an adult theater, it still kept up its program of showing midnight movies. The Elgin is credited inspiring other New York theatres to show midnight screenings. In 1970, the managers showed Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1970 surrealist western El Topo at midnight with the idea spreading midnight showings to other New York theaters.

Notable midnight films[edit]

A list of films played at midnight during the 70's at the Elgin

Joyce Theater[edit]

Main article: Joyce Theater

The building was returned to service as the Joyce Theater in 1982 and it is now a 472 seat Dance and Performance theater. The interior was completely gutted and the structure restored by architect Hugh Hardy. Hardy also preserved the marquee and façade outside. The theater hosts nearly 140,000 people a year and serves as a popular Dance venue in the city. The new name is in memory of the daughter of LuEsther Mertz, who made possible the purchase of the theater in 1979, at a cost of $225,000.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot (June 2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). NY: Three Rivers Press. p. 1088. ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. 
  • Kisselgoff, Anna (1981-07-26). "Creating a Theater Just For Dance". NY Times. p. A18. 
  • (no byline) (1981-06-26). "Facelift Begins at Renamed Elgin". NY Times. p. C26. 
  • Armstrong, Leslie; Morgan, Roger (1984). Space for Dance. Publishing Center for Cultural Resources. ISBN 0-89062-189-6. 
  • Davis, Ben; Elgin, Owners of the (Summer 2000). "Children of the Sixties: An Interview with the Owners of the Elgin". Film Quarterly 53 (4): 2–15. doi:10.1525/fq.2000.53.4.04a00020. 
  • Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) (for credits, see the film's IMDb page)

External links[edit]