Charles Theatre

193 Avenue B,
New York, NY 10009

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Showing 1 - 25 of 31 comments

SaraTonin
SaraTonin on May 17, 2013 at 12:15 am

is this the place where they used to have balls, a la Paris Is Burning?

pamelajfk
pamelajfk on August 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Oh no, that is so sad. It was beautiful. This is the place where I saw a copy of the Zapruder film in November 1964. Anyone else?

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on February 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

I recently photographed the Charles Theatre

Take a look here.

roots66
roots66 on June 19, 2010 at 8:19 am

Here’s a glimpse at the interior.

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pamelajfk
pamelajfk on June 4, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Does anyone recall seeing the Wolper documentary “1000 Days” about the Kennedy administration (b+w) followed by a screening of a copy of the Zapruder film in late November/early December 1964?

Is anyone aware of any other early screenings of the Zapruder film, which was not released to the general public until the mid-70’s?

Thank you.

allanxk
allanxk on December 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

There’s a nice article by Charles L. Mee, Jr. on the Charles in the November 1962 issue of Horizon magazine: “WHERE TALENT IS TRIED AND TESTED, At the Charles Theatre in New York the art of film has found a smoky and uproarious arena for self-criticism.”

meredithlee
meredithlee on November 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Reverend Carlos Torres is working to restore the theater:
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jbenzon
jbenzon on June 12, 2009 at 11:08 am

The theater also ran jazz matinees on Sunday afternoons in the early 60s. I remember seeing Jerome Richardson and Les Spann playing flute duets or flute and guiter duets, among other acts. It helped that the theater was diagonally across the avenue from Stanley’s, one of the earliest of the hipster bars in the far east.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on December 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm

Hmmm, so the soft core porn king also owned theatres!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine, January 1963:

NEW YORK-Audubon Films has expanded its activities to include exhibition. The company has taken over the Charles Theater in Greenwich Village and will reopen it on January 16, following redecoration and installation of new seats.

Radley H. Metzger, director of Audubon, said the theater would operate on a policy of selected foreign and American films. Opening program will consist of “The Manchurian Candidate” and “A Coming-Out Party”, followed by “Phaedra” and “Lolita”.

robcuny
robcuny on December 3, 2008 at 11:53 am

I looked in a few years ago between services. The interior appears largely unchanged except that it has been completely painted glossy white.

Locals expect it will be demolished since the Hispanic evangelical church ceased services a couple of years ago, perhaps in response to a violation citation from the Department of Buildings for wrongful use. But Dept. of City Planning records show that the church has not sold the property. So maybe there’s still hope for this unique landmark of New York countercultural theater history.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 13, 2008 at 2:20 pm

This is a photo I took off of Google maps. It’s possible that the building is still being used as a church, but at the time this picture was taken the building looked closed and in poor shape:
http://tinyurl.com/642ody

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 16, 2008 at 10:18 pm

In 1952 Brandt sold the Palestine and Charles to Samuel Friedman who then sold them in 1956 to an unnamed company willing to install wide screens and air conditioning.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on May 16, 2008 at 10:05 am

Charles Steiner who ran the Bijou Theater died in June 1946 (Obituary New York Times, 29 June 1946). The theater was probably renamed just after his death. One of his son-in-laws managed the theater for a few years.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 25, 2006 at 6:51 am

A June 2006 photograph that I took of the Charles Theatre on a Sunday morning (church was open through the small doorway) although I didn’t venture inside as there was quite a bit of screaming and wailing going on! Peeking through the door into the foyer, I think the auditorium space is still intact as one room and not subdivided:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/198003482/

fjmarkowitz
fjmarkowitz on September 30, 2005 at 11:04 am

I’d love to get inside sometime – I imagine its been divided a few times, but I would be curious to see if anything survives of the movie setup. If that church is still in there perhaps I’ll tryto get in on a Sunday morning!

bamtino
bamtino on August 28, 2005 at 7:10 pm

Also, the theatre was still known as the Bijou as of June, 1946.

bamtino
bamtino on August 28, 2005 at 7:07 pm

According to its original Certificate of Occupancy, the building had seating for 502 on the first floor and 98 in the balcony for a nice, round total of 600.

bamtino
bamtino on August 28, 2005 at 3:50 pm

Announcement of the theatre’s construction, along with those of three other Lower East Side locations, was made in November 1925.
It was one of 12 Manhattan facilities being operated by the Bell Theatre Company in 1937.
By the time of his death in 1946, this, along with the Palestine, was one of two theatres being operated by exhibitor Charles Steiner, who’d begun exhibiting films in 1906 and had earlier run a large circuit of Lower East Side and Harlem locations.
Dan Talbot’s programming of the theatre began in September 1960.

fjmarkowitz
fjmarkowitz on July 28, 2005 at 12:54 pm

I re-call it being rather small, hard to beleive it once had 600 seats – perhaps some areas were closed; don’t re-call folding chairs but suppose its possible.
I do remember “Boys in the Band” playing there and some of my more conservative Stuyvesant Town neighbors not too happy about it!
I was talking to some folks who work in a restaurant right across the street from the building last month and they never see anyone coming in or out, so who knows what it looks like today.

drewcarolan
drewcarolan on July 28, 2005 at 11:22 am

Boys in the Band played there in ‘69. There was talk of it having folding chairs in some part of the theater. I grew up down there but never went in.

fjmarkowitz
fjmarkowitz on July 11, 2005 at 6:33 am

Hey thanks! There it is, the Charles still open in 1972.
Amazing MGM released something like this.

RobertR
RobertR on July 10, 2005 at 5:38 pm

Look at this trashy film “Cool Breeze” MGM released in 1972. This was in the waning days of the once great studio.
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