Strand Theater

123 Albany Street,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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MickeyZ
MickeyZ on December 8, 2015 at 2:24 pm

I used to go the Art Cinema in the early days of the Rocky Horror midnight shows there. I’m guessing this was the summer of 1978?

I don’t remember exactly when we picked up on Rocky Horror — it was definitely before the summer — but a bunch of us used to walk across the bridge from Highland Park to go see it. My recollection is that there were very few of us in the theater at the beginning of the summer, but by the end of it, the place was always packed. The group of us pioneers had special privileges, of course, and could always able to get in. The owners were great — they’d let us smoke and drink, in the beginning at least, and even allowed people to set up their bongs in the space in front of the front row.

The Art Cinema was dark and dingy, the seats were uncomfortable, the floors always covered with litter, the sound dodgy at best — in other words, the perfect place to watch Rocky Horror.

Friday and Sundays nights the midnight movies were Eraserhead and Pink Flamingos, which I also went to see every weekend for that entire summer. I can’t recall which was which — it seems to me Eraserhead was programmed for Sunday night, but that might have been Pink Flamingos. In any event, the theater was rarely if ever full, and I remember quite often the theater would gradually empty out through the course of the movie, until there were very few of us left at the end. Needless to say, this only added to the thrill of it.

I loved going to the Art Cinema and no theater has ever been able to reproduce its magic. I also went to see Rocky Horror at the Waverly, but it wasn’t the same – it was already too institutionalized there. The showings at the Art Cinema soon became victims to the film’s success as well, and before long, when “everybody” was going to see it, it didn’t feel as magical anymore, and we stopped going.

There was a second, larger theater just down the road (toward the river) from the Art Cinema, which used to show a lot of double features. I remember walking over there to see Arthur with my brother, and seeing a Mash/Italian Job double-header with my father. I don’t remember the name of the theater however. It might only have seemed larger to me, because I was pretty young when I went there.

ArtsReporter
ArtsReporter on October 24, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Hi JerseyGeorge and Goathead,

I would love to get in touch with you about your experience going to Rocky Horror at the art cinema for a story I’m writing. If you see this, please email me at as soon as possible. Thank you!

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 12, 2012 at 8:58 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!

goathead
goathead on November 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm

the art cinema on albany st in new brunswick was demolished late 1981 or early 1982 (i was 17), we were the last patrons to see the midnite rocky horor picture show . the manager said GO NUTS cause we’re tearing it down . i remember ripping the foam out of the seats and throwing it at the screen we also ripped the carpet up and ripped the chairs out of the floor

arcwell
arcwell on January 29, 2008 at 5:13 pm

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This is definitely the Strand, facing Albany Street. You can see the sign of the Rivoli on George Street. Beyond the Rivoli, crossing George Street, is the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad (now Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Line).

Here is an earlier view of the same corner. What is to become the Strand is still a church. In the background the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad crosses the Raritan River.

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teecee
teecee on April 6, 2007 at 11:06 am

The K, S & K Amusement Company purchased the German Reformed Church and renovated it into the original Strand Theatre.

jlmcea
jlmcea on February 2, 2007 at 5:18 pm

In my Rutgers days late 50’s, the Strand was usually called “The Fleabox” but it showed second run pictures cheap usually double features, and (some) students would go there if the picture was good. The seats were old, not-too-sturdy wooden backed. It was not for Douglass students then.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 4:53 am

Listed as open in the 1944 FDY. Listed as the Strand in the 1961 FDY as part of Triangle-Liggett Theatre Service.

JerseyGeorge
JerseyGeorge on February 17, 2006 at 11:27 am

A shot of the Strand in its Art Cinema incarnation, XXX days. You can just see the marquee to the left.

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JerseyGeorge
JerseyGeorge on February 4, 2006 at 9:12 am

Minor correction: the Art Cinema was demolished along with the rest of the so-called Golden triangle during one of New Brunswick’s never-ending redevelopment projects.

JerseyGeorge
JerseyGeorge on February 4, 2006 at 8:33 am

I’m not sure when the Strand closed, but it was not demolished. The Art Cinema (not listed here) was in business on the same location in the ‘70s. It was the place to go for Rocky Horror back then.

teecee
teecee on September 7, 2005 at 10:25 am

From the NEW BRUNSWICK HISTORY DEPARTMENT: ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVES OF WW-II, this theater appeared to be a house that attracted a questionable clientele:

“there was that shaky little place at the corner of George and Albany. In fact, in later years, the Douglass girls were not allowed to go near that place”

teecee
teecee on September 7, 2005 at 6:58 am

If the Goggle mapping is correct, then this photo is the Strand, at the center of the photo at the NW corner of George & Albany:

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teecee
teecee on September 7, 2005 at 4:45 am

This maps to the Bank of America building (1989), also known as The Golden Triangle Plaza. It was east of the Albany Theatre and very close to the Rivoli.