Lafayette Theatre

97 Lafayette Avenue,
Suffern, NY 10901

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Showing 1 - 25 of 912 comments

mdvoskin on October 21, 2020 at 10:20 pm

I assumed that “multi-use live venue” means concerts, plays, speakers. None of which would benefit from leveling the floor. I guess time will tell.

PeterApruzzese on October 21, 2020 at 9:16 pm

I would assume as much, but that would really change the character of the place.

walterk on October 21, 2020 at 8:52 pm

PeterApruzzese, if they are removing the seats, they will also be leveling the floor. What I read in that email is they’re going to turn the Lafayette into a multi-use live venue. I suspect movies will no longer be the featured item.

PeterApruzzese on October 21, 2020 at 7:21 pm

“…removing a majority of the seats to provide for both general admission and seated shows.”

Why would you remove seats? I’m hoping something was left out of that statement, otherwise you’ve got a raked floor with no seats.

markp on October 21, 2020 at 12:54 pm

Oy. A roll up screen. Im not saying anything else.

mdvoskin on October 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm

The owner of the Lafayette Theatre sent out an email yesterday to everyone on their emailing list, copied below.

An Announcement from the Owner:

Lafayette Theater

In response to the recent announcement by Governor Cuomo’s office for the opening of movie theaters, I felt it was important to reach out to our community regarding the future of the Lafayette. Although Rockland County was excluded in the first round of openings, we do not anticipate opening to the public once a Rockland County restriction is lifted. This is due to a number of factors including the in place 25% and 50-person capacity limits per screen. This 50-person limit on capacity would impact our entire single screen auditorium equating to a 5% capacity limit and not a viable option for exhibiting film. I don’t agree with this “one size fits some” restriction but I’m supportive of the administration for make a leadership decision. As you all know, we decided to close our doors before any state mandates and will remain closed until we feel it is safe for our patrons and employees to come back, and not sooner. This is the primary reason why we will remain closed for the remainder of the year and possibly longer. Fortunately, we believe in the future of our community and the future of the Lafayette is bright. I’d like to share some information about our plans.

Our family has owned the theatre for almost 20 years, and we have made the long-term commitment to seeing it succeed. It was in 2013 that I took over operations of the movie theatre and made best efforts to keep our film loving audience entertained. Unfortunately, in the age of digital streaming and over expansion of the multiplex cinema space, that business model alone will no longer survive. To make matters more challenging, large renovations will be needed in the lobby, restrooms and auditorium to continue operating the movie business as-is. That investment is not considered a viable alternative. The only path we see forward is a shift in the type of entertainment we provide to draw a larger audience.

This historic expansion project will transform the 1924 single-screen theatre into a state-of-the-art, ADA-compliant small capacity venue with the ability to host primarily live music, film, comedy, theatre, dance, educational programs as well as private and charitable events. These improvements will allow the nearly 100-year-old icon to entertain audiences for years to come.

The project’s initial scope of work will modernize and expand the theatre into an additional 3,000 square feet of first and second floor retail. On the ground floor, the former Allstate insurance office will operate as a full-service café and bar area. To provide access to this area, the walls between the current lobby and foyer will be opened up. With the existing candy stand removed and the lobby area expanded, patrons will have more space to move around. Two small storage rooms will be recaptured to provide upgraded ADA compliant restrooms, tripling capacity in the women’s restroom. A new accessible ramp is envisioned behind the men’s room to assist patrons around the 3 steps into the auditorium. The second floor is connected from the rear balcony with access to additional restrooms and a bar area.

In the auditorium, from the neck up the theatre will look virtually the same. Our improvements will be focused on a new sound and lighting system, restoring the stage area, installing bars within the venue and removing a majority of the seats to provide for both general admission and seated shows. Seats in the rear balcony will be either restored or purchased new. With the installation of a mechanical roll up screen for films and the preservation of the rear balcony seating, we feel the improvements will hold true to the old majestic charm of the theatre and attract a wider audience at the same time.

While practically speaking this project is on hold until we can all stand shoulder to shoulder again, we’ll continue to finalize our plans and approvals so we can hit the ground running. This project is expected to create multiple year-round jobs for residents and attract visitors from the surrounding NY and NJ counties to our downtown. The theatre has always been an anchor to Downtown Suffern and our investment is meant to enhance that relationship for decades to come. We love being part of the fabric of downtown and remain committed to seeing the Lafayette and our community get through these difficult times.

Stay safe.

mhvbear on October 20, 2020 at 1:04 am

Here is a recent article about the renovation plans.

HowardBHaas on October 19, 2020 at 10:58 pm

a quick google search does not mention renovations! so perhaps rather than “telegraphing” please link or spell out what is being referred to.

mdvoskin on October 19, 2020 at 10:15 pm

While I realize it makes no sense to open while limited to 50 people in a 1000 seat theatre, it strikes me that they are going to be spending an awful lot of money doing renovations that as a for profit venue they will never make back.

For a live theatre/concert facility, he has the same problem that Riverspace in Nyack had, the Lafayette is still too small for the “BIG” acts, and to big for the small intimate up and coming acts. For live theatre, the Lafayette is still in the Broadway NYC blackout zone, eliminating any chance of booking touring Broadway shows.

I wish them well, I like the theatre and his lobby renovations sound great. I hope they succeed.

vindanpar on October 19, 2020 at 9:46 pm

No discussion on all the major plans just announced for this theater?

moviebuff82 on November 17, 2019 at 3:11 pm

This theater was shown in the recent film the Irishman which is playing here

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on March 24, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Please don’t get me wrong, I think we need to support and patronize these great movies palaces such as the Lafayette and others but, this place just isn’t the same as it was let’s say about ten years ago or so. We owe it to these cinemas to help them “attempt” to preserve our cinematic heritage and at the same time attract audiences but the films that are currently being shown here don’t always seem to reflect that heritage. (it’s like the current owners don’t wish to take the chance to bring in those “reel classics.”)

hotwaterbottle on October 26, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Parker, Exactly why I stopped going several years ago. The passing of 35mm film into digital didn’t help much but you are right. A favorite film looks different when seen on a big screen and it’s so much better. I must admit though they fooled me when they ran “THE AFRICAN QUEEN”; it was digital but it looked like a pristine 35mm print. Pete and Nelson would work hard programming the HorrorThon’s and a lot of the choices came down to the quality of the print. Unfortunately the last 2 years they ran the Big Screen Classics the tide was turning and shows were drawing fewer and fewer people. My main problem with them now, aside from shoddy showmenship, is the total lack of imagination of whoever is programming the classics now. It’s not even a pale shadow of what it used to be. The theatre itself is a jewel and should be preserved, not just because it’s the last single screen theatre in the area but, as they say, they just don’t make'em like that anymore.

moviebuff82, do you have anything of substance to add??

moviebuff82 on October 26, 2017 at 4:17 pm

This theater hasn’t aged well.

ParkerSwann on October 26, 2017 at 6:45 am

Having worked in Film and Television all my life,I need to interject about the reason though some may not know, that films especially old film classics are meant to be seen in a large theater rather than on a small device. The small devices,while convenient defeat the purpose of film that the light shows differently on a big screen rather than on a small device which gives the film itself a different look completely. Even 5hpugh you may have seen something many times before on a small device the look and feel is different, and being in a theater is a meant to be shared experience as originally intended. Unfortunately this whole experience is lost and inconceivable to some who have never experienced it. I applaud and appreciate those who try to recreate this. It is an expensive undertaking today( much like a white elephant mansion ), now no longer financially backed by the studios with professional people on the job too. . And unless a corporation like the one who took over The Fox theater in VA has a hand ,it’s tough to keep up with the Multiplexes. I stopped going to the Lafayette when they stopped showing the classic Halloween Marathon weekend so like 6 or 8 movies if I recall. Its not as big as some of the movie palaces, which took a lot of people to run like a Ringling Circus, but it does take, alot of work and expense…..and people who know how to make it run in this,day and age. I hope things get better.

hotwaterbottle on October 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm

It’s sad to hear what the place is turning into. I gave up on them several years ago when the town was still running the place. Between the amateur hour projection and the constant pleading to attend shows there and not at Nyack or Nanuet just became too much.

Sounds like James is asleep at the switch, as usual. Nelson, where are you?

mdvoskin on October 9, 2017 at 11:38 pm

A mistake repeated. I went to see Blade Runner 2049 on Sunday, first show of the day.

The 2.35:1 aspect ratio film was presented “letterboxed”, centered within masking set for 1.85:1.

No surround sound. I realize the theatre does not have Dolby ATMOS, but no 5.1/7.1 surround. Maybe they were too lazy to turn on the amp.

Sticky auditorium floor.

As soon as the end credits started, they turned on those super bright work lights, that were aimed directly at the screen.

Cleaning the auditorium while patrons were still watching the ending credits.

I’m done with the Lafayette Theatre.

markp on January 19, 2017 at 10:49 pm

We ran the DCP last summer at the Basie

PeterApruzzese on January 19, 2017 at 5:16 am

That’s a shame about Jaws (and I suspect the other classics this month) – Universal has a very nice DCP of that title available, and I ran it in 35mm at the Lafayette about 13 years ago.

mdvoskin on January 18, 2017 at 3:50 pm

I went to see Jaws last weekend at the Lafayette, the first time I have been back since they ceased running 35mm film.

While the theatre looked to be in good shape and is clearly being maintained, the presentation sucked. The film opened to a consumer bluray player’s “pause” menu. The 2.35:1 aspect ratio film was presented “letterboxed”, centered within masking set for 1.85:1. The picture did not look too bad from the rear of the auditorium, but from the front third, it looked terrible. Not enough resolution, too much compression, and not bright enough, as one would expect watching a consumer bluray on a 30 foot wide screen.

I can watch blurays at home, I don’t need to go out and pay admission to watch them.

At some point, I am going to complain directly to Universal for allowing their film to be shown with such poor presentation.

mdvoskin on October 17, 2016 at 6:14 pm

While there is nothing wrong with advertising on facebook, exclusively advertising there is a waste. Between preaching to the choir, and the fact that over half the population is not on facebook, it is clearly insufficient.

I have no idea who “vindanpar” is, but the Landmark Loews Jersey has not finalized any movie plans for the holidays. Wonderful Life is just one of many movies under consideration. Nobody in Jersey City considers the Lafayette competition, they are far enough away, and there are not enough people who patronize both venues for it to be so. Further, 90% of the films presented in Jersey City are on 35mm film.

hotwaterbottle on October 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Newspaper advertising disappeared with Pete & Nelson. I tried in vain to convince Phil to at least list the regular feature’s showtime in the local paper’s movie timetable. But no, he didn’t think it was necessary. If it was on facebook or the website, it was good enough. Personally I can’t see the harm in running it in the local paper. It could only help, not hurt.

vindanpar on October 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm

The Loew’s is showing Wonderful Life?


We’ve all seen it a million times and it works very well on TV without seeing it on a large screen.

Half the programming there seems very off. A lot of films that do not benefit from a large screen or look lost in a movie palace. They sure could have used a Frank Rowley or Bruce Goldstein.

movieguy on October 16, 2016 at 9:59 am

Yes I think they should definitely do some more advertising. They advertise through Facebook. The person who does their advertising does a very good job and is passionate about the theater. But yes they need to do some more advertising. Unfortunately papers like the Bergen record are very expensive to run an ad. A small’s-ish size and in the Friday weekend section. The same size ad for example that Lowes jersey runs. Will cost about $180 just for that one ad for one day in the weekend section of the paper. The same cost for the Journal news in Rockland County. So there in lies the problem. If the theater wanted to advertise every week In the Journal news or the Bergen record. That would be close to $1000 a month. Question is would they get enough people coming from the ads to offset the cost of the advertising?

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on October 16, 2016 at 9:53 am

I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons that attendance has been down with the Lafayette’s Classic Film programs is the possibilty that few people outside of the immediate Suffern area know about this series of films. As a regular patron of the Loews Jersey,I’ve noticed ads in the Bergen Record every time they run one of their monthly classic film weekends and they seem to attract some very healthy – sized crowds for those film weekends. Perhaps the Lafayette might follow their advertising model and attempt to “spread the word”.