Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

Unfavorite 90 people favorited this theater

Loew's Jersey Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 1,428 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

I know this is late notice, but tonight, April 7th, at 8:30, WNYE-TV channel 25 will be airing an episode of their Blueprint NYC series devoted to the Loew’s Wonder Theaters. If you miss it, you may be able to watch the episode at their website after it has aired.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 7, 2015 at 8:30 pm

It looks like it’s on twice more — Friday at 2:30pm and Monday at 4:00am.

markp
markp on April 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Already autotuned. Thanks.

BobbyS
BobbyS on April 22, 2015 at 12:30 am

I was in this beautiful movie palace last fall and when the organ appeared before the film it was magic! When he played the huanted song that was in the film on the pipes as the crowds were leaving was something you do not get these days. You cannot imagine unless you were there. The organ souded in prime form. I live in the mid-west and can’t wait to get back. A 70mm film ! Wow. Only LA has showings regularly in that format. Think I’ll join “Friends of the Loew’s”. Imagine seeing “Ben-Hur” at the Jersey?? at

bolorkay
bolorkay on May 23, 2015 at 6:09 am

This is just speculation on my part, but the last time I visited the Loews there was some discussion of a “Sci-Fi Weekend” for the end of this month. Any word on this yet?

mdvoskin
mdvoskin on May 29, 2015 at 10:52 am

Friends Of The Loews won today’s round in their court case with the city. Their lease is valid, the city can’t throw them out and lease the theatre to someone else.

Click Here For News Story

Congratulations…

bolorkay
bolorkay on May 29, 2015 at 11:09 am

Congratulations to the FOL.

Great news indeed.

LuisV
LuisV on May 29, 2015 at 11:22 am

Seems to me the best of both worlds would be to bring in AEG to work WITH Friends of Loews to finish the restoration of the grand theater along with installing AC and hopefully restoring the Blade while REQUIRING that showing films always be a part of the programming at the Loews Jersey! They have the desperately needed money. Why is that a problem??

markp
markp on May 29, 2015 at 7:59 pm

I think LuisV has a great idea. Now if only the right people would see it.

walterk
walterk on May 30, 2015 at 8:16 am

Here’s a link to FOL’s public statement on the court ruling. They apparently agree that bringing a concert promoter in would be a good thing and also mention a little more than $2.5 million that is available for repairs and upgrades, a little more than $500k is grant money FOL won for fire safety and other code upgrades, and the city received another $2 million from an area developer to make repairs on the theatre.

Let’s hope we start seeing this money spent now that the court case is over.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater