Cinema Village

22 East 12th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 1 - 25 of 87 comments

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Hello-

what thehorror13’s post fails to mention is the uncomfortably small size of the men’s room. i am surprised they didn’t expand it during the 2000 tri-plexing. i can’t believe it meets the NYC Building Code standards.

thehorror13
thehorror13 on November 11, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Built in 1963 in the shell of a turn of the century fire station, Cinema Village is the oldest continuously operated cinema in Greenwich Village and one of the oldest continuously operated art cinemas in the city.

Through most of it’s first three decades of life Cinema Village was one of Manhattan’s several repertory cinemas. Showcasing a canon of vintage classics, cult and contemporary critical favorites on double bills that would usually change three times a week, this once essential programming format has now largely died out in commercial cinemas in the city and around the country. Before the video revolution, short of a private film collection, going to a repertory cinema was virtually the only way to see many films after their initial theatrical run. Rep houses like Cinema Village, the recently re-opened Thalia and the now long closed Bleeker Street, Carnegie Hall, 8th Street Playhouse and Regency were the autodidacts' film school and favorite haunts of cineastes for decades.

Undermined by home video, buy outs by major circuits and real estate development, commercial repertory cinema virtually disappeared in the city by the late 1980’s. Cinema Village only escaped closing and survived with a switch to limited engagements of highly alternative first run programming.

This resulted in an eclectic mix of slip through-the-cracks American indie sleepers (Red Rock West), the occasional revival (In the Realm of the Senses, Two Lane Blacktop, The Leopard), documentaries (Theremin, Waco: Rules of Engagement, Kurt & Courtney), festivals, animation compilations, Japanese cult cinema (Tokyo Decadence, Angel Dust, Ghost in the Shell) and heavy doses of Hong Kong cinema.

In the early nineties before Jackie Chan, John Woo, Michele Yeoh and their stunt coordinators went Hollywood, Cinema Village became known, through its annual festivals and other bookings, as the place to see the amazing Hong Kong films of what would soon to acknowledged as a filmmaking golden age. For filmgoers who never ventured to Chinatown or had only seen blurry bootleg videos, these films were a revelation and they would soon have a profound influence on international filmmaking styles. During this period we also had the privilege of playing host to personal appearances by talents such as Michele Yeoh, Chow Yun Fat, Wong Kar Wai and Peter Chan.

In 2000 our patron’s support was rewarded with a long deferred renovation and expansion of screens. When we reopened, we had transformed ourselves into a thoroughly modern three screen facility with state of the presentation. Our additional screens allow an even more diverse programming mix and permit us to extend runs of special films to extraordinary lengths (Mulholland Drive: 18 weeks; Yi Yi: 21 weeks; The Piano Teacher: 28 weeks).

In 2001 we quietly introduced digital video projection capabilities to accommodate the increasing reliance on digital video by independent productions. This now gives us the potential to play deserving features without the burden to distributors or filmmakers of an expensive conversion to celluloid.

Nearing its fourth decade, Cinema Village is proud of its longevity and thankful to have survived the pitfalls that have taken down so many other independent cinemas. Notwithstanding our resourcefulness, our ability to survive is testimony entirely to the New York City audience. We could probably only exist where we are: in the midst of most diverse, cosmopolitan and cine-aware of cities.

Auditoriums

Screen #1 Capacity: 155 seats Projection: DCP, QuickTime, Blue-ray, 35mm,16mm Sound: Dolby Digital

Screen #2 Capacity: 63 seats Projection: DCP, QuickTime, Blue-ray, 35mm Sound: Dolby Digital

Screen #3 Capacity: 69 seats Projection: DCP, QuickTime, Blue-ray Sound: Dolby Digital Accessibility

Theater 1 is wheelchair accessible.

Listening Devices Listening devices may be provided upon request

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on June 11, 2015 at 11:32 am

i know. Once in awhile this theater shows crappy movies….

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on June 8, 2015 at 11:35 am

This theater was featured in a story on “Last week Tonight” due to the fact that this theater was the only one in the NYC area to show the Fifa funded United Passions which bombed at the box office due to the scandal surrounding the soccer federation and it’s outgoing leader Sepp Blatter.

artpf
artpf on February 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Built in 1963 in the shell of a turn of the century fire station, Cinema Village is the oldest continuously operated cinema in Greenwich Village and one of the oldest continuously operated art cinemas in the city.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Hello-

I always thought the Cinema Village which has been a beacon for film goers for at 50? years was built from the ground up as a movie theater. but I read it was actually built within the gutted skeletal structure of an 1890s firehouse. how much of the firehouse actually exists?

BullyOhio
BullyOhio on November 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm

This theater was featured in an episode of Mad About You

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 15, 2012 at 11:57 am

After DEEP THROAT opened in 1972 the market changed drastically for art houses and direction the theatre operator took was more distinct between those who programmed European art films and those who programmed sexploitation or hard core and advertised it as art product.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 15, 2012 at 10:33 am

Hello- as always i thank my fellow posters for replying to my inquiries. so Al A. if i understand you reply correctly the 55th St. Playhouse went from being a top art house to a gay porn house in short order? i suppose anything is possible in the big wide world of Manhattan real estate even the fall of 1971. its just i can’t picture the theater going from being a top art house than say two or weeks later becoming the top hard-core gay porn house in Manhattan. i naturally assumed there had to have been a significant closed up period.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Bigjoe, the SOBO only operated in 1971 and I believe some of the shows were live/film combo nude performance art pieces that would not be considered porn today.

The 55th St Playhouse descent into hard core porn was gradual but there was no closing period. After “THE BOYS IN THE SAND” there was a fine line between gay art films and gay sex films.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hello Again To Ed S.– i figured considering the building’s locale the original firehouse would have
been build around 1890. so i wasn’t to far off.

two new notes. 1.i guess my memory is only 99% perfect. this theater’s sister theater on 3rd Ave. was for many years the Bijou one of the leading gay porn houses in the city. i was quite familar with the Bijou. yet a stone’s throw away on 11th St. the Evergreen for a few years was known as the Sobo a leading gay porn house. now i was in college during the period the Evergreen operated as the Sobo and was frequently in the Union Square Easy Village area yet never remember the Evergreen as the Sobo. even if it was a leading gay porn house it had to have been so
for a short period. plus i’m guessing there was no marquee to speak of which could be why i didn’t take note of its gay porn period.

2.a question about the 55th St. Playhouse i ask you here since that theater’s page hasn’t been updated in a while. the theater opened in the early 30s and for almost 40 years was a leading venue for foreign and independent films. now it started its almost 20 year career as one of Manhattan’s top gay porn houses when Wakefield Poole’s BOYS IN THE SAND opened i believe the first week of Dec. 1971 and therein lies my question. i doubt one week it was a top art house for foreign and independent film than the next week it switches to gay porn. therefore i’m guessing it must have been vacant, un-used whichever the correct term is for a certain period of time before it became a top gay porn house. am i
correct?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

Good question. A cursory review of NYC records doesn’t reveal much. The oldest viewable document online is a temporary C of O issued in October of 1964, not too long after the building was converted into a cinema. A list of prior actions on the property show a variety of building notices that reach all the way back to some “unsafe building” notices in 1905 and 1909. There’s another notice dated in 1915 and then activity picks up once again in the late 1920’s and throughout the following decades. But nothing prior to the 1964 C of O’s is viewable, so its impossible to know what those documents might reveal.

Assuming the comments near the “top” of this listing are correct that the cinema was previously a turn-of-the-century firehouse, it’s interesting that it would have been labeled as unsafe as early as 1905! Of course, one must keep in mind that the NYC DOB records from that period are very sketchy, and it is not uncommon to find documents filed under the wrong property binder.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Hello To Ed S.–

i always remember this building being
the Cinema Village and assumed it was built
as such. but i read somewhere else that the
building was originally a firehouse which is
not mentioned in the intro. so obviously they
did a gut renovation of the original
structure. the question is- how old is the
basic structure?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Most of my knowledge comes from nearly 8 years trolling this site and doing research for some of the theaters I added here. I actually did add the listing for the Eros 2, another of Chelly Wilson’s porn houses that later became known as the Venus. I don’t recall ever seeing a mention of a Denise at the Gaiety while I was looking at old articles to dig up info on the Eros 2, but that research was completed a few years back, so I might have run across something and just forgot it!

I never frequented any porn houses (gay or otherwise), but I was a steady patron of the big theaters along Broadway and the grind houses on 42nd Street for a number of years in the late ‘70’s into the early '80’s, and have always held a fascination for the area as it was in those days.

Anyway, all of Chelly’s theaters are listed on CT and any thing of note that I might have learned would surely be posted on those pages:

Adonis

Cameo

Capri

Eros

Eros 2

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hello To Ed S.–

you seem quite knowledge so i have a question for you. during the good old days of gay porn two of the top gay theaters in midtown were the Eros(8th. Ave.&46 St) and the Adonis(51 St.&8th Ave.) they were both owned by a woman named Chelly Wilson(hopefully i spelled her first name right) would you happen to know she was either related to or was friends with Denise the nice lady who owned and operated the Gaiety on 46 St. they were both Greek so i figure it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Sharp eye, bigjoe59! Yes, that ad belongs to the Cinema Village annex that was in the former Bijou Theatre, located several blocks away on Third Avenue between East 12th and 13th Streets.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hello- the ad in the intro is not for this theater was a sister theater on 3rd Avenue. in fact previous to being taken over by the Cinema Village the 3rd Avenue theater was for a time one of the top gay porn houses in the city.

John Fink
John Fink on January 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

I hate asking questions on this site instead of contributing but I was hoping someone could shed some light on what the set-up was as a single screen venue? It’s currently has a lobby with box office/concession on street level, theater #1 up a half-flight of stairs, theater #2 up a full-flight of stairs (with “stadium seating”) and theater #3 along with the bathrooms downstairs.

I do like this theater but worry about it and the Quad (which was showing second-run Oscar bait that was at the multiplex this fall), but they do a great job for the NYU crowd, and keep their prices even lower than some suburban multiplexes (they’ve always had a student rate).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Seems like a common problem when older theaters are quickly and cheaply carved up into multiple screens. Exact problem exists for the Fresh Meadows Theater in Queens and the Fantasy Theater in Rockville Centre, Long Island. If you have to slip out from one of the upstairs cinemas to use the facilities in the middle of a flick, you need to do a sprint down to the lowest level (and back again) in each of those locations. I would always get back to my seat completely winded!

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on April 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm

while this theater has been in the forefront of showing indie
films for almost 50 years they screwed up royally when they
did a modernizing/tri-plexing in 1999. the only rest room is
in the lower level and is simply to damn small for three
screens. for instance the men’s room has only one stall so
you’re stuck if there’s a long line. i should think when they
“renovated” the theater they should have said “hey we need a
larger men’s rest room”. this has got to be the smallest men's
room in any movie theater in NYC.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 30, 2011 at 8:34 am

“The Cinema Village opened on October 5, 1964 with Ingmar Bergman’s "All These Women”, not 1963 as previously stated."

I must correct this previous post I made as I have found some ads with a Village theatre playing subrun that pre-date October 1964 and must have been this theatre. The October date was most likely the introduction of a first-run arthouse policy

alps
alps on June 12, 2010 at 9:22 pm

I saw John Woo’s “BOILING POINT” there, I noticed a small guy walking down the asile, he turned and looked at me, it was Spike Lee.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm

That should be How to lose a guy in 10 days!!

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm

This theatre can be seen in the movie,“How to loose a guy in 10 days”