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Watch the Demolition of a Historic Movie Theater Turned Church

Here’s video of workers demolishing the building on the corner of Avenue B and East 12th Street that held the Elim Pentecostal Church and before that, a theater that was a locus of 1960s counterculture.

A 40-unit, seven-story condo will be built at 193 Avenue B, with the church returning to the ground floor and basement. Earlier today, the walls of the Bijou (later the Charles) Theater were being demolished brick by brick.

The Bijou was opened in 1926 by Charles Steiner, a “pioneer motion picture exhibitor” who opened his first theater in 1906 (when “motion pictures were scarce,” per the Times obit) and died in 1946. According to the book “Selling The Lower East Side,” the Charles (as it was renamed) showed underground and experimental movies in the 1950s (think Edward G. Ulmer) and then became a “favored site for the nascent hippie community” in the early ’60s. Read more…