175 8th Avenue,
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This former Chelsea movie house opened as the Elgin Theater in 1942, designed by architect Simon B. Zelnik in elegant Art Moderne style with seating for 600. It was located on 8th Avenue, at W. 19th Street. Later, the Elgin Theater screened Spanish-language films, and still later, revival and cult films. The Elgin Theater ended its movie house days as an adult theater. However, even as an adult theater, midnight movies, including “El Topo”, “Pink Flamingos”, and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, continued to be screened. Community pressure forced the Elgin Theater to close in the 1978.
In 1982, architect Hugh Hardy was hired to convert the completely gutted interior of the Elgin Theater into a 472-seat dance performance space, while preserving and restoring the beautiful Moderne facade and marquee of the theater.
The venue was renamed the Joyce Theater, for the daughter of one of the main benefactors of the renovation of the theater. Today the Joyce Theater is considered one of the city’s main dance performance spaces, and hosts audiences of over 140,000 each year.
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