Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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LuisV on October 9, 2010 at 1:00 am

Hi Gabe DF, it’s so wonderful to see such enthusiasm for this theater. I went about 3 years ago to see The Day the Earth Stood Still. Patricia Neal actually came out on stage after the movie for some Q & A. It was a wonderful evening but it was apparent that there was still much to do in the theater. I think the Loews Jersey is one of the most beautiful theaters in the country, however, I respectfully disagree with your view about how beautiful.

Among the 5 Loew’s Wonder theaters, I would put the Loew’s Jersey at number 5. I think the Loews Kings (which I have visited in its unrestored state) will blow all other theaters away after its multi million dollar renovation is complete. The Loew’s Paradise in the Bronx and Loew’s 175th Street are both fully restored and are spectacular. Even the Loews Valencia (while currently serving as a church) IMO is a more beautiful theater. That said, I am eagerly looking forward to see the recent renovations. I will be attending the October 23rd showing of Nosferatu.

How incredible that ALL FIVE Wonder theaters survived and all have been restored or in progress.

I would also put the Uptown Theater in Chicago on the most beautiful list; even in decay.

In Manhattan, The Hollywood theater is amazing, as is the New Amsterdam and, of course, Radio City. Even the Loew’s Canal, whose exterior was recently landmarked may prove to be another gem. New York is blessed with a great many remarkable theaters that still exist even though only the Loews Jersey still shows films.

GDellaFa on October 9, 2010 at 12:07 am

MDB, the 1929 photos are great! Thanks so much for posting them. They answered many questions for me.

GDellaFa on October 9, 2010 at 12:00 am

You’re welcome, Rob. I cannot help but gush when it comes to something as rare and unique as the Loew’s Jersey.

I agree with you partially about the brightness of the photos. In addition to what you said, I think the nicotine stains, general grime, and darkening lacquer of 50+ years has a lot to do with the present dark appearance of the theatre. I’m sure the interior walls will eventually be cleaned, and this alone would make the theatre much brighter.

I would think that the lighting scheme (I found your discussing about LEDs fascinating) would be different depending on the old surfaces vs. the restored.

It’s incredible just how many scenes there are in this theatre. Every turn and every few steps bring with them a completely different and interesting view. As you know, it was planned that way to “keep ‘em moving.” There’s only so much time to change audiences between shows (in the good old days). My favorite view was always coming into the auditorium from the mid-balcony level lobby. Used to sneak up there when I was a kid in the early 1970s—before the theatre was tri-plexed. The theatre seemed more intact back then, except that the lobby mezzanine promenade and Music Room had been blocked off. Much of the art work was still around back then.

Isn’t it amazing how the architects managed to design a completely symmetrical lobby and auditorium on such an oddball site? The design is extremely efficient and makes the best use of the space available. I’m also amazed by the sight lines (every seat is perfect) and the acoustics. I know for a fact that one can hear a person talking on the stage from the projection booth.

Any chance you could post those 1929 auditorium photos? Please?

What a place!

mdvoskin on October 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Those historic photos are from early November 1929, about a month after the theatre opened.

RobMinichino on October 8, 2010 at 3:56 am

Thanks for the gushing, Gabe. :)

The medallions that we took down are not going to be restored just yet; they’ll be reattached as-is when the replacement drapes arrive.

The theatre looks so much brighter in the 1929 photos because there was additional light added for the photography and because the exposures were relatively long. If you look at the lights that are visible in some of the photos you can get an idea of just how much brighter those photos are than the real thing. Also, in one of the auditorium photos (this one isn’t on the website yet) you can clearly see temporary lighting, and you’ll also see the exit signs are much brighter in the photos than they are in real life.

We have been working with an architectural lighting consultant in our restoration planning to determine how to add lights to both highlight architectural features and improve the utility of the theatre. The key is to do this in a historically-sensitive way. Somewhat paradoxically, modern lighting technologies such as LEDs make it easier to hide additional lighting in architectural elements and existing fixtures. The goal is to have a lighting control system that will allow for a number of different “scenes,” so we can have the appropriately dim atmosphere for movies, and brighter atmospheres for lobby events and concert intermissions, etc.

GDellaFa on October 8, 2010 at 2:30 am

To sum it all up, here is the Martin Landau near soliloquy from “The Majestic” from 2001:

Now that you’re back we’ve decided to reopen.

How hard can it be?
We fix the place up—sell tickets.

Look around. It’s a dump.
I am looking around and all I see is potential.

Potential for what? This place is ready to fall down. All you have to do is walk outside and give it a good shove.

You are wrong you know.
Oh, I know She doesn’t look like much now,
but once this place was like a palace.
That’s why we called Her The Majestic.
Any man, woman, child could buy their ticket.
They’d walk right in.
There they’d be.
Here we’d be.

“Yes Sir,” “Yes Ma'am,"
Enjoy the show!

In they’d come entering a palace,
Like in a dream, like in Heaven.
Maybe you had worries and problem out there,
But once you came through those doors,
They didn’t matter any more,
And you know why?,

Chaplin, that’s why,
and Keaton,
and Lloyd,
Jimmy Stewart,
Jimmy Cagney,
Fred and Ginger.
They were gods,
and they lived up there.
That was Olympus.

Would you remember if I told you,
Just how lucky we felt to be here?!
To have the privilege of watching them!

This television thing,
Why would you want to stay home,
and watch a little box?
Because it’s convenient,
Because you don’t have to get dressed up,
Because you can sit there?
How can you call that entertainment?
Where are the people?
Where is the audience?
Where is the magic?

I’ll tell you.
In a place like this,
The magic is all around you.

The trick is to see it.

GDellaFa on October 8, 2010 at 12:56 am

A final thought…or two…(I’m on a roll)…

The most amazing and wonderful thing about the Loew’s Jersey is that it is one of the very few (countable on one hand?) very large 1920s movie palaces that still has a theatre pipe organ, and still shows movies.

Sorry, the Castro, the Byrd, etc. can’t measure up to this place—literally. That’s just a fact. Although these theatres do wonderful work to keep the tradition alive and well.

One cannot get this experience in New York City. Either the theatres are gone, or closed, or they have different uses now. In terms of the building and facilities, the Loew’s Jersey was in the same class as the Times Square Paramount, the Capitol, and the Roxy in my opinion—all no more.

Certain people tend to make a big deal out of the new (c. 1967) Ziegfeld. I would like to ask them, “do you want to see a real theatre!?”

Want the 1920s movie palace experience? Come to New Jersey. We still have it here.

I think it has a very bright future ahead of it.

GDellaFa on October 8, 2010 at 12:40 am

Very highly recommend these photos of the Loew’s Jersey from when it was brand new in 1929, if you haven’t already seen them:

View link

Click on each photo for a much larger version. Even in the b/w photos, it looks like the interior was much brighter then than it is today. The furniture and artwork adds so much to the interior.

Though somewhat smaller than the defunct SF Fox, I think the Loew’s Jersey is more beautiful. The Loew’s Jersey is on a par with only one other theatre I know of that remains today, and that is the Midland in Kansas City.

Ah, if it could only look like it does in these photos again! Well, we can always dream and work towards the goal.

Incidently, wasn’t the theatre originally named “Loew’s Jersey City Theatre”? “The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre” also works well as a name for this very rare jewel.

GDellaFa on October 8, 2010 at 12:23 am

Hi Rob, Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions in depth. I forgot that one cannot see such details from 60+ feet away. If the curtains are in such bad shape that they are falling under their own weight, they should come down. New drapes, medallions, etc. that size must cost a small fortune; but I’m sure that they will be restored eventually. Really looking forward to the new traveler. That will make a world of difference in terms of a good presentation.

I worry about this theatre, but I’m glad to hear that it is in such good hands. The radiator grills look fine and are a vast improvement over no grills at all. They will blend in very well.

Of course, anything that affects the presentation has to be dealt with first. Ornament can come later. I believe you’re doing it in the right order: stabilize the building (done), get the mechanical and stage systems working (in progress), and then restore the interior surfaces.

Again, thanks for answering my questions.

All the best,


Bway on October 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

Sounds great….it’s great to know that so much care is put into this gem of a theater.

RobMinichino on October 7, 2010 at 5:16 am

Hi GabeTDF. I’m glad you enjoyed the recent presentation of “The Mark of Zorro.”

The medallions over the swags have been removed from the pelmet and are being kept safe for replacement. The other missing pieces of the pelmet, the center swag and the straight back curtain, were deteriorated to the point where they were tearing under their own weight and had to be taken down. We are having them recreated, reusing the original fringe. Our drapery company expects to have the replacement pieces done in a couple of weeks, and we will have them hung shortly thereafter.

The jeweled curtains in front of the organ chambers have met the same fate, deteriorated to the point where they tore down under their own weight. These are more difficult to access, requiring scaffolding in the auditorium. In the future we will have them recreated, and in the meantime we may hang a less ornate but still appropriate scrim. Unfortunately, this will not happen before next summer at the earliest.

Another unexpected surprise from our textiles came when we scaffolded up to our top screen masking to repair where it was sagging into the upper-left corner of the screen. We found that it, too, had deteriorated, and the eyelets that allow the masking to pleat out of frame had been ripping out under the curtain’s weight. In light of this, we have ordered an entirely new upper masking, and our drapery company expects to have this ready next week. In the mean time we have been manually tieing up the masking so it does not interfere with the picture. Since we cannot reach the top of the masking with scaffolding, we will need to rent a special lift to allow us to install the new masking where it attaches on our screen frame, 30 feet up.

We decided that, while we have that lift, we can use it to hang a new traveler curtain to replace our existing damaged one. We are in the process of ordering this curtain, and once it and the masking arrive, we will be installing both.

While we had the scaffolding up, we were able to move the electrical cord that was hanging into our 1.85 and scope frames so that it no longer interferes (finally!).

As far as the radiator grilles go, they were missing, and the fire department (completely correctly) insisted that the openings be covered so that they didn’t collect (combustable) trash. I suggested the perforated steel grilles that we have there now; they are primed and set to be painted an appropriate bronze color to de-emphasize them in the outer lobby space. They, like many other fixtures in the Loew’s, are simply placeholders for a true restoration, and we make no pretense otherwise.

GDellaFa on October 7, 2010 at 2:36 am

Just a curious question: what’s going on with the pelmet and curtains over the organ chambers. Where are the medallions over the swags, and where are the missing pieces of the back straight curtain, behind the swags? Finally, what’s up with the “jeweled” curtains in front of the organ chambers. The left one disappeared 3 years ago, and now the right side one is gone? Where are they? I would think that (until recently) these were the only intact movie palace organ chambers curtains remaining. Where did they go?

Also, when you are simply renovating the radiator grills in the Vestibule, please say so on your website. That is not a restoration. It is however, a welcome renovation.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the recent presentation of “The Mark of Zorro.” The evening spoke to just how far this theatre can go.

Alto on October 1, 2010 at 7:36 pm

SPECIAL SCREENING this Saturday – FOL and GSTOS present…

October 2nd Academy Theater:30 PM: The Mark of Zorro (1920) (silent film with LIVE “Wonder Morton” organ). Doors and box office open Academy Theater PM.

CLASSIC FILM SERIES – upcoming weekends…

October: annual “classic horror weekend” (a week before Halloween) –Brides of Dracula (1960) , Son of Frankenstein (1939) and Nosferatu (1922) (silent film with LIVE “Wonder Morton” organ).

November sneak peek: a tribute to a famous former Hoboken resident (and past Loew’s customer)… a “Sinatra weekend” is being finalized! – On the Town (1949) , From Here to Eternity (1953) , Ocean’s Eleven (1960) and Von Ryan’s Express (1965) are the prime candidates, of which THREE will be chosen and screened (titles subject to change, TBA at Friends of the Loew’s – schedule forthcoming).

bolorkay on September 26, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Would it be possible to have another James Bond Festival….. the last one played out just great at the Loews.

How about a tribute to Universal and Hammer horrors?

JodarMovieFan on September 24, 2010 at 1:42 am

How about showing 70mm movies, or better yet, a 70mm festival in the near future..like before the end of the year? :)

GDellaFa on September 24, 2010 at 12:53 am

Just wonderful! I will be there. Are the loges open yet?

mdvoskin on September 17, 2010 at 1:34 am

[size=4][color=red]The Landmark Loews Jersey â€" The Wonder Theatre Of New Jersey[/color][/size]

The weekend of September 24th and 25th, The Landmark Loews Jersey Theatre located on Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, continues its 9th consecutive year of classic films and kicks off its fall season with some of the best films Alfred Hitchcock never made. These are films that have a Hitchcock feel to them, but he had nothing to do with.

The theatre is located directly across from the PATH subway station connecting Manhattan with Jersey City, it is also easy to reach from most area highways. Secure discounted parking is located directly behind the theatre. Have your parking ticket validated at the theatre’s boxoffice.

All Show Are Presented In 35mm With Genuine Carbon Arc Projection On Our Giant 50 Foot Wide Screen.

Friday September 24th at 8:00pm â€" Peeping Tom (1960)

Starring Carl Boehm, Moira Shearer. Directed by Michael Powell. (106 Minutes)

This British-made film premiered within a few months of “Psycho,” and the two are often compared. Indeed, “Peeping Tom,” about a psychologically damaged young man driven to kill women, is every bit the dark story of madness and murder that “Psycho” is. It also shares themes of voyeurism and repressed desire with “Rear Window” and “Vertigo.” But if those three films ultimately cemented Hitchcock’s reputation as “The Master” of psychological thriller and horror films, “Peeping Tom” all but destroyed the career of Michael Powell, who had been one of Britain’s top directors. It was denounced and banned as prurient exploitation, and all but forgotten until Martin Scorsese lauded it as groundbreaking and personally arranged for its re-release. It is both more frank and yet more subtle in its exploration of its themes than any of Hitchcock’s works. And it is also a provoking meditation on the appeal of cinema, which is inherently voyeuristic. A half century later, it retains its considerable psychological impact. Don’t miss this 35mm rare screening.

Saturday September 25th at 6:00pm â€" The Stranger (1946)

Starring Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young. Directed by Orson Welles. (95 Minutes)

This film is a cat-and-mouse hunt to unmask a Nazi war criminal hiding in a sleepy Connecticut town still brims with Welles’s flair, such as his extraordinary use of lighting and shadow, long focus and dramatic camera angles. It’s also a first-rate thriller thanks to a great performance by Welles, and also by Robinson. The theme is a familiar one to Hitchcock fans, evil amid the ordinary.

Saturday June 25th at 8:20pm â€" Charade (1963)

Starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn. Directed by Stanley Donen. (113 Minutes)

Audrey Hepburn is an innocent woman caught in a web of intrigue and deceit when her husband is murdered and she discovers she knew very little about him that was true. As she is pursued by three men who were apparently her husband’s accomplices in the theft of a large sum of money, she looks to Cary Grant for help — but it turns out he has layers of secrets too, including multiple aliases. Soon, neither the increasingly desperate Hepburn nor the audience knows what to believe or whom to trust. Stanley Donen, better known for making musicals, borrowed some of Hitchcock’s favorite plot devices to craft this stylish thriller that also mixes in romance and comedy. Includes beautiful location cinematography of early ‘60s Paris, and a great score by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini.

Visit The Landmark Loews Jersey web site for details.

[size=1]The Landmark Loews Jersey Theatre[/size]

mdvoskin on September 15, 2010 at 9:24 pm

3rd Season? We have been running classic films every fall/winter/spring since December of 2001.

TLSLOEWS on September 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Got an e-mail today from Friends of the Loews about their 3rd.Season? Schedule,looks like they are back in action.

GDellaFa on September 11, 2010 at 2:02 am

The partial Fall schedule is available now:


GDellaFa on August 27, 2010 at 2:01 am

In my humble opinion, this film also deserves to be shown at the Loew’s Jersey Theatre:


Truly an amazing film.

The Loew’s has so much going for it. The venue is very nearly unique in its ability to show vintage movies, and it is so close to New York. What a combination!!

Bolorkay is right. The Friend’s of the Loew’s deserve the highest amount of praise in bringing this great movie palace back to life. I can’t wait to see the new improvements as they come along.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that the Loew’s Jersey was my home town movie theatre in the 1960s-1980s. I’m spoiled for life. Multi-plex, shmulti-plex. Bah!

GDellaFa on August 27, 2010 at 1:50 am

Pity is wasn’t shown. Any good Technicolor movie looks just amazing on the Loew’s Jersey screen. When a film takes real advantage of the medium, I would think that the effect of showing it on the Loew’s Jersey screen with the carbon arc projectors would be truly spectacular. With the proper publicity, this film would fill the house—no question. Such a presentation is an all too rare and almost unique experience today.

GDellaFa on August 26, 2010 at 2:46 am

Thanks for the information, Rob. Too bad that they were cut back then , but thank goodness more harm wasn’t done to the auditorium at that time.

Have you ever considered showing this movie? I would love to see this on the big screen with those carbon arc projectors:


It certainly would be flattering to what you’ve got in the Loew’s.

Just a thought.

RobMinichino on August 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm

The long swags were cut, probably in the 50s for CinemaScope, and we didn’t find them in the building. When the fabrics are replaced as part of the restoration (well into the future), we will likely recreate them and rig them to fly out to widen the proscenium when needed.

We’re still deciding on the fall films; we’ll post to the web site as soon as we know our titles. The dates of our film weekends should be posted soon.

TLSLOEWS on August 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Gabe I just remember they are closed due to no air.Reopen in September.