Monday, September 26, 2011

Theater of the Mind

I attended a wedding over the weekend at the Loew's Jersey City Theater, a landmark movie theater that opened its doors almost 82 years ago to the day, September 28, 1929. The grandeur and splendor of this movie palace cannot be overstated, and it's said that a young Frank Sinatra, on a date at the theater to watch Bing Crosby, decided that he too could be a singer.

The ornate details, marble columns, gold leaf, wrought iron artwork, and soaring ceilings -- an amazing 80 feet high in the theater -- are stunning.

It was built for $2 million, back when $2 million was real money and not just a rounding error for our politicians, and was deemed "the most lavish temple of entertainment in New Jersey."

Now at some point it seems some owner had attempted to carve up the theater into at least two, because there are still repairs visible in the theater itself that show where a wall was apparently erected. Thankfully it has been taken down and plaster repairs made.

Today, as grand as the theater looks, it is in need of major repair and subsists on donations and volunteers,  who, through the Friends of Loew's, meet each weekend  at the theater and work on restoring it to its former glory. Rental of the theater -- like for the wedding -- starts at $3,000. It's certainly a fascinating and stunning edifice to a long lost era.

Below are some of the photos I took of the theater, but a good time to go see it yourself, particularly next month as on October 27-29 they'll be showing three different movies, including the 1920 silent classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," complete with theater organ accompaniment.

Oh, and yes, they do leave the "ghost light" burning.

This is for you, Revenant, at Hauntcast


  1. Cool. They don't make things like that anymore. I love Rev's tagline.

  2. That is just pure awesome! I would love to visit a place like that... not to mention watching some classics there.

  3. It's really a remarkable building. Apparently, you can't rent the theater during the summer months, or at least certain days anyway, because they do show movies there then and it's how they make a good portion of the money to help fund the restoration.

    The theater organ which I didn't show rises and lowers through a hole in the stage floor with the organist seated at it. There was this whole vibe running through the theater, particularly in the dark, that you could feel Lon Chaney's presence hovering somewhere close by.


  4. Supercool theater! If I ever change my mind about marriage, I would consider this as a wedding location too. Your friends have good taste! Thanks for all of the pics.


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