Elgin Theater

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This article is about the theater in New York City. For other uses, see Elgin Theatre (disambiguation).

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

The Elgin Theater was an American movie theatre, located on the corner of 19th Street and Eighth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York.


Opened in 1942, the theater 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 1970, the managers showed Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1970 surrealist western El Topo at midnight, with the idea spreading midnight showings to other New York City theaters.

Even while it was an adult theater, it still kept up its program of showing midnight movies. The Elgin is credited with inspiring other New York City theatres to show midnight screenings.

In 1978, the community forced it to close.

Notable midnight films[edit]

A list of films played at midnight during the 1970s 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.). New York City: Three Rivers Press. p. 1088. ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. 
  • Kisselgoff, Anna (July 26, 1981). "Creating a Theater Just For Dance". The New York Times. p. A18. 
  • Staff (June 26, 1981). "Facelift Begins at Renamed Elgin". The New York 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]