Across the New York Area, Restoring ‘Wonder Theater’ Movie Palaces to Glory

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on July 2, 2015 at 10:43 am


The New York Times' Nathaniel Adams wrote this great article about five amazing theatres in the New York City area. Enjoy a great article and some wonderful photo tours on five'Wonder Theatres' from the Kings Theatre, to the Jersey Loews, the Paradise, the United Palace and the Valencia.

The trajectory of the Kings Theater, with its $95 million renovation, is being watched closely in Jersey City, where the Loew’s Jersey is at a crossroads. The municipal government and the Friends of the Loew’s, a community group, have for years been battling over how the theater should be managed and by whom. If the Kings renaissance succeeds, it may well tip the balance in that dispute. Gary Martinez, the president of Martinez & Johnson Architecture, who along with ACE Theatrical Group of Houston renovated the Kings, seems to understand the stakes. “This case here will be the study for the next one. Wherever that may be,” he said.

The Kings and the Jersey are two of the five “Wonder Theaters” built in the New York area by the Loew’s Corporation in 1929 and 1930. The other three, currently managed by religious groups, are the Valencia on Jamaica Avenue in Queens, the United Palace on 175th Street and Broadway in Manhattan and the Paradise on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

The architect George Rapp, whose firm designed the Jersey and the Kings in a French Renaissance style, called his spaces “a shrine to democracy where there are no privileged patrons.”

Enjoy the article and the photo tours – and celebrate the 4th of July at an historic theatre near you!

ABOUT THS: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres. Learn more about historic theatres on our website at


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