Bijou Cinema

100 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Bijou Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in the early-1910’s as the Lyric Theatre. By 1910 it had been renamed Comet Theatre. In the the 1930’s it was presenting live plays. In the 1960’s it was turned into the Jewel Theatre which played all male films when they left the Adonis Theatre on 8th Avenue. In the 1980’s it was re-named the Bijou Cinema and continued to play male XXX films. In 1988 the city closed it down.

It was remodeled and re-named the Cinema Village Third Avenue with the revival format moving here when the owner of the Cinema Village tried to make that an X house (with the name Cinema 12). That lasted less than three months and the original Cinema Village returned with independant films for a short time using the Cinema 12 name and then Cinema Village.

This theatre then changed it’s name back to the Bijou Cinema and switched to a first run format opening with “War of the Roses”. By 1992 with all the competition from the new Loews Village and Village East, the theatre quietly went back to gay male adult films, and closed around 2002. The building was gutted to its brick walls in June 2005 and converted into office space.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 48 comments)

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

A candy butcher was someone who walked up and down the aisles hawking candies off a tray. Surprised you’ve never heard of them. The practice still exists, though in more refined ways.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

We always called them ‘hawkers’. I had never heard the term ‘candy butcher’ before.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

llloyd38
llloyd38 on March 4, 2013 at 7:18 am

I can clarify some of this. I built and owned the Pocket Theatre at 100 Third Avenue, an Off Broadway house. Our company, Sans Souci Theatre Corp took over the old Comet Theatre. At the time, 1962, the Comet occupied the space on Third Avenue, AND the space behind it, now the Classic Stage Co. at 136 East 13th Street. The projectors were in the Third Avenue space and the screen was on the far west wall of the 13th Street space. We put the wall back up between the two spaces, intending to have 2 Off Broadway Theatres, one on Third Avenue and one on 13th Street. We didn’t enough money to do both so we ran the Pocket Theatre at 100 Third Avenue and rented out the big space in back to some scenery builders who used the space for a workshop and storage. The Pocket Theatre had a variety of shows in it over the ten or so years we ran it. “America Hurrah” was the hit that ran there for over two years. John Cage and I produced the first performance of Erik Satie’s “Vexations” there in 1962. You can read about it in Wikipedia.

The history of the two spaces is this. Back before the turn of the last century this area was the German community in New York City. The space in back of 13th Street was an open beer garden, accessed through a bar at 100 Third Avenue. When nickelodeons became popular the owner walled off the beer garden and opened a nickelodeon at 100 Third Avenue. Later as films became more and more popular he took the wall down, roofed over the beer garden and created the odd T shaped movie house. When we took it over it was showing a western and a feature every day, for 25 cents admission. These owners, the Ansons, from whom we bought the Comet, also owned the Star at 15th Street and Third Avenue. They ran both theatres with the same program. While the Comet showed the western, the Star showed the feature. A “reel boy” ran between the theatres at the break, carrying the western uptown to the Star then bringing the feature down to the Comet. Mrs. Anson, who was living at 100 Third Avenue when we bought the place, told me this history. Her husband is mentioned in the news articles logged on to the EVGrieve website. We sold the Pocket Theatre in the early 70s to some shady lads from 42nd street. They, Arista Theaters Inc., closed the Pocket, I took our sign down, they put up theirs, The Jewel.

llloyd38
llloyd38 on March 4, 2013 at 7:19 am

An error in the above. The box office magazine articles noted above by tinseltoes refer to the Ansons.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 4, 2013 at 9:34 am

Great stuff, Lloyd38. Thanks!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm

The intro for this historic house really needs to be corrected and expanded.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on April 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Hello-

well i was in the area again this past weekend and decided to see exactly what was at 100 3rd Ave.

in my post on the other page i noted there was a fairly tall new structure in the middle of the block which i had viewed from the other side of the street. well guess what? that new structure which is either 6 or 7 stories is in fact 100 3rd Avenue. its now a fancy upscale bar. the door was open and i noticed a doorman/bouncer. its possible he knew nothing about the history of the building but it didn’t hurt to ask. so i asked him if the new structure was in fact a completely new building. well he did in fact know of the Lyric Theater. i hope i correctly understood him in that the trendy upscale bar and the additional floors are built within and upon the original building and not is not completely new.

the famous photo with the Chaplin cut out next to the box office always made the theater look bigger than it actually was. it was viable as a theater in that it was quite long as opposed to wide so a decent number of seats could have been accomodated.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Joe, I suggest you read the Box Office article from 1947 that Tinseltoes posted on July 1, 2012. It is chock full of information about this theater, including its history, capacity and seating arrangemnts.

biguns
biguns on July 9, 2014 at 4:43 am

I moved to NYC in January ‘96. Ended up living at 12th and 3rd. I can confirm that at least by that time, and I believe well into 1997, this theater was running as a gay movie house. It was not exceptionally blatant but there were blacked out glass doors, no marquee, and I believe sandwich board sized promo pictures of gay adult film stars. I can’t remember if the boards were outside or you could see them when people opened the doors. But this place was very definitely operational in '96 and '97. Definitely hung on a lot longer than most of the other theaters in the area. What seems insane now is that even as late as May '97, 12th street between 3rd and 2nd was still a prostitution block. I remember the day when the cops did a huge undercover sting on all of the johns and that was the end of that.

Anyway, my two cents.

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