Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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Loew's Jersey Theatre exterior

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The Loew’s Jersey Theatre was the 4th of five Loew’s ‘Wonder Theatres’ to open in the New York City area, opening just two weeks after the Loew’s Paradise Theatre, Bronx and the Loew’s Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, which had both opened on September 7, 1929. The Loew’s Jersey Theatre opened September 28, 1929 with Ruth Chatterton and Lewis Stone in “Madame X”. On stage were Ben Black and his Rhythm Kings and in the orchestra pit were the Loew’s Symphony Orchestra and the mighty Robert Morton ‘Wonder’ organ which had 4 manuals and 23 ranks. Resident organist for many years was Ted Meyn. The building had cost $2 million to build and the wonderful Baroque style façade still boasts the mechanical clock of George & the Dragon, a companion piece to the one (now lost) on the top of the façade of Loew’s Paradise Theatre, Bronx.

The opulent Italian Renaissance style auditorium with its 50 foot wide proscenium is reached by passing through a dramatic three-storey lobby rotunda, supported by jade-green columns. In the music gallery above the entrance on the first floor, a grand piano was played to entertain waiting patrons. As was the case in all big movie palaces, the 35 foot deep x 82 foot wide stage was put to good use in the early years with artistes such as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, The Ritz Brothers, Jackie Coogan, Russ Columbo and His Band and many others appearing. The orchestra pit (which is on an elevator) was boarded over in 1949.

Later in January 1975, two additional screens, each seating 524, were placed in the orchestra seating area beneath the balcony, leaving the main screen in the balcony, with a seating capacity of 1,078. The Robert Morton ‘Wonder’ organ was removed at this time and now resides in the Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, California. The Loew’s Jersey Theatre closed on Thursday August 21, 1986 with “Friday the 13th Part VI:Jason Lives”.

In April 1987 it was sold to a private company for demolition, but preservationists saved the theatre from becoming an office building and the theatre was purchased by the city in 1993. The Friends of the Loew’s had been formed and they embarked on an ongoing renovation/restoration project beginning in 1995. The wall dividing the orchestra seating into two screens was removed, and the theatre was re-opened to the public in 2001 (albeit in the beginning using only a fraction of the seating area in the orchestra level). Regular monthly screenings of classic and revival films began during fall, winter and spring, and as work by the dedicated team of volunteers has progressed over the years, the program expanded to also presenting occasional live performances and concerts.

The Garden State Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society acquired a ‘sister’ identical Robert Morton ‘Wonder’ organ that had been originally installed in the Loew’s Paradise Theatre, Bronx. After several years extensive work on the instrument, it was ready for its debut in its new home at the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in late-2007.

The Loew’s Jersey Theatre has become the centerpiece of the Journal Square renaissance, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1,467 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 25, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Here is the full link, and here is the article (for when the link eventually goes down) There are also a lot of picture of the area, and the renditions of the proposals…

JERSEY CITY — The neighborhood behind the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Journal Square would be set for a radical transformation under zoning changes up for final adoption by the City Council tomorrow.

The changes would allow the Harwood family to construct residential high-rises and arts facilities on a roughly 2-acre area the family owns that runs along the PATH tracks. The area is now home now to parking lots and a garage.

The city hopes the changes will lead to the creation of a cultural arts district connecting the neighborhood west of the Loew’s to Journal Square. The Harwoods would be allowed to build taller high-rises than zoning allows in exchange for creating spaces for theaters, art galleries and studios, museums, libraries and more.

The plans also call for improvements to Concourse West, the walkway commonly called the Loew’s alley that offers a direct if narrow connection between the Marion neighborhood and Journal Square. The zoning changes would require developers to incorporate retail space within the concourse and adjacent plaza at the foot of Magnolia Avenue.

The proposed changes to Journal Square zoning come as the area has become a target for real-estate developers. The first high-rise of a three-tower project called Journal Squared is nearly complete, while plans for a two-tower development across the street from the Loew’s were approved by the city in August, as were plans for a 72-story skyscraper on the site of the old Jersey Journal building.

The parking lots and garage targeted by the zoning changes up for approval tomorrow night have been owned by the Harwood family for nearly a century. Brett Harwood said the Journal Square development boom convinced the family to revamp their properties.

“As Journal Square has finally started to come into its own, and you can see the results of that all around, we think that there’s a higher and better use,” Harwood told The Jersey Journal.

The zoning changes would allow for two residential high-rises, one near the foot of Magnolia Avenue and the other near the foot of Pavonia Avenue. The city would allow the developers to exceed the 37-story maximum on each in exchange for the construction of cultural arts facilities in the high-rises and in two additional low-rise buildings. A fifth low-rise building would be allowed to house restaurants, cafes and other retail stores.

The city also envisions an amphitheater, dog run and playgrounds on a site near Van Reipen Avenue.

If approved by the council tomorrow, the zoning changes offer a template to the Harwoods. There are no plans yet, Harwood said, adding that unlimited height restrictions would not lead to soaring skyscrapers.

“Nobody should have expectations that we’re going to build another World Trade Center,” he said. “It wouldn’t be economical, it wouldn’t appropriate.”

The council meets tomorrow at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 280 Grove St.

Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at . Follow him on Twitter @terrencemcd. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.

mdvoskin on November 15, 2016 at 8:25 am

This coming Friday (11/18) and Saturday (11/19) The Landmark Loews Jersey in Jersey City, New Jersey is running:

  • Spartacus – November 18th at 8pm
  • Captain Blood – November 19th at 6pm
  • Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte – November 19th at 8:25pm

All 3 films will be presented in 35mm on the giant Loews Jersey screen!

mdvoskin on January 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Next Friday (01/27) and Saturday (01/28) The Landmark Loews Jersey in Jersey City, New Jersey is running:

Fri, 1/27 – 8pm – Double Feature – The Great McGinty & Duck Soup

Sat. 1/28 – 6:00pm – Wag The Dog
Sat. 1/28 – 8:15pm – Citizen Kane

All 4 films will be presented in 35mm on the giant Loews Jersey screen.

bolorkay on April 24, 2017 at 9:23 am

Some great classic film weekends recently: -The “Odd Times” weekend (I belive that’s what they called it?) featuring “Dr. Strangelove, "Seven Days In May” etc.) –“1984” with interesting forum afterwards. –“Film Noir” this past weekend. (great to see 1981’s “Body Heat” holds up so well on the big screen)

Looking forward to the “Sequels” weekend in May featuring “After The Thin Man”, “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade” and “Mad Max”

Wonderful to see a venue that features films that challenge the audience.

bolorkay on August 21, 2017 at 8:17 am


Looking forward to the Fall Film Weekend schedule. Any word as to what films will be presented?

Loews Jersey
Loews Jersey on October 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Last minute reminder: 4 classic horror films this weekend:

Oct 20 8:15PM “Phantom of the Opera” silent with live organ accompaniment by Bernie Anderson. $10 Adults / $8 Kids & Seniors (Screened Digitally)

Oct 21 6PM “House On Haunted Hill” starring Vincent Price – shown with EMERGO! $8 Adults / $6 Kids & Seniors (Screened in 35mm)

Oct 21 7:40PM “The Island of Lost Souls” starring Charles Laughton & Bela Lugosi. $8 Adults / $6 Kids & Seniors (Screened in 35mm)

Oct 21 9:20PM “Halloween” John Carpenter’s original starring Jamie Lee Curtis. $8 Adults / $6 Kids & Seniors (Screened Digitally)

Loews Jersey
Loews Jersey on October 19, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Time again for the Loew’s annual Movie AND Masquerade Party: This year it’s Rocky Horror Nite. The (in)famous cult classic movie about what is arguably the worst (or perhaps best) masquerade party in history will be followed by a real masquerade party in the Loew’s Grand Lobby – complete with music & dancing, refreshments, a cash bar and — of course — a costume contest. (But you can come as you are if you don’t like dress-up; costumes are optional.) It’s all a fundraiser to benefit Friends of the Loew’s. Advance tickets are $25 at rockyhorrornite.eventbrite.com. (Movie will be screened digitally.)

If you’re not up for the party but still want to see the movie, it’s $8. Movie only tickets are not sold in advance.

bolorkay on October 21, 2017 at 5:37 am

The Halloween season is the time of year when the Landmark Loews really “shines on”! The wonderful folks (FOL) who manage this true landmark have always had a sense of fun and frights during this time of year and this year proves to be no exception. Honestly, what better way to spend the pre-Halloween weekend than with Vinnie, Bela, Charlie and Michael Myers.

vindanpar on October 21, 2017 at 10:55 am

I really wish this place would only play films suitable for the entire family and when you consider what they play are classics there is no place in a great movie palace for utter trash like Rocky Horror.

I like early Almodovar and John Waters but I don’t want to see it at the Loew’s.

For a party like this it should be family friendly and Phantom should be the star feature WITH the color sequence. I don’t know what gets into the heads of people that plan this stuff.

And what’s up with the digital nonsense?

dickneeds111 on October 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Hey vindanpar. Your last line on your comment. I do not live in Jersey but I do live outside of Boston. We have several theatres that show older classics. In case you don’t know but most films are not available on film anymore so that is why all is digital. Most places that can show film(which is very few) will try to get a print but it is hard to do. So wouldn’t rather see it digitally than not at all. This is the 21st century pal.

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