Thursday, February 16, 2012

The other secret old movie theater in the East Village

There's not much new to report on the long-empty 185-193 Avenue B at East 12th Street. There is a demolition application on file already with the city (dated Sept. 20). And, according to the DOB, plans for a mixed-use seven-story building with 44 units are pending with the DOB. (You can read a short history of what's happening with the space here.)

On Friday, EV Grieve reader Ron Z. noted some activity at the building...

Yesterday, another reader noted, "Construction work going on this AM, door wide open. They appear to be drilling un middle of auditorium floor."

Given the interest in the hidden theater behind the now-shuttered East Village Farms on Avenue A, thought it might be a good time to revisit this space.

The address was a movie theater for many years, first the Bijou in 1926, then the Charles. (The theater closed in 1975, and a church took over the space.) A fire nearly destroyed the building in October 2006.

A reader got inside the space back in July 2009 ... at the time, he sent us these photos — and diagram!

We went inside the space in June 2010...

Here's the Charles in 1966. (Via.)

You can see the Charles here in this shot from 1949. We're looking north from 11th Street. (Via.)

Anyway, just wanted to take another look here before the building comes down.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Revival planned for church and theater on Avenue B

Inside the Charles

Former landmark countercultural theater now for rent on Avenue B

7-story building in the works to replace former countercultural theater/church on Avenue B


Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

I was at the Charles in the 60's saw French language 'Beauty and the Beast,' there were maybe 10 people in the place. But did you ever hear of a movie house on 3rd St between B & C? Showed the usual monster films, as did the movie house on Suffolk & Houston, whose names are long gone from my memory.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Charles in the early 60's as well, living up the street in Stuy Town, it was a fixture of the neighborhood for many years. But sentimentality aside, from the picture of the interior, it's a fairly indistinguishable example of vintage theater structure with hardly any architectural detailing at all. Would there really be a compelling reason to mourn its loss, other than the impending arrival of the unwanted new apartment and its residents ?