Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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Related Websites

Friends of the Loew's, Inc. (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.

Architects: George W. Leslie Rapp

Firms: Rapp & Rapp

Styles: Baroque, Italian Renaissance

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 201.798.6055

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News About This Theater

Loew's Jersey Theatre exterior

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 plus “Cameos” direct from the Capitol Theatre, New York featuring Chester Hales Girls. 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.

It was closed at the end of 2021 for a full refurbishment/restoration to be completed by 2023.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1,505 comments)

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on June 1, 2023 at 5:09 am

The last bit of news I read (and this is by no means conclusive!) is that the “re-opening” date has now been scheduled for 2026!!!! I’m beginning to get a bit “concerned” as most of the film venues that featured “classic” films of various genres as part of their regular schedule (The Lafayette in Suffern, NY, Film Forum in NYC) seem to be dropping their classics due to “lack of interest”. Although, to be fair there is a relatively new venue, The Barrymore Center which opened in Fort Lee, NJ a short time ago.

markp on June 2, 2023 at 4:34 pm

The theatre where I work thats shows 35MM offered to let them do their series at our theatre in Rahway NJ but they declined.

vindanpar on June 3, 2023 at 4:16 am

I believe FF still shows film classics however the once ubiquitous double features are a thing of the long ago past. Between the cost of traveling there and the cost of a ticket for one movie I gave up when I was once an avid member.

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on June 3, 2023 at 6:01 am

I was always in the audience at Film Forum when they featured their fantasy and Science Fiction Festivals (which, if memory serves were always well-attended.) But as you say..a thing of the long ago past. These programs were always worth a journey on the PATH train.

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on June 3, 2023 at 8:05 am

Re: Loews Jersey, I wonder if there are any photos any where that illustrate the re-construction (if anything has started.) of this wonderful theater.

theatrefan on August 7, 2023 at 8:40 am

The estimated costs for the renovation project apparently are turning out to be way more than originally estimated. https://www.nj.com/hudson/2023/07/cost-of-renovating-landmark-loews-jersey-theater-balloons-to-105-million.html

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on August 8, 2023 at 9:06 am

Hi Theatrefan,

Perhaps I’m just getting a bit cynical but it seems to me the Loews just can’t seem to get a break! First, quite a few years ago Jersey City seemed to be talking about tearing it down, then FOL stepped in. Now the building has been sitting dormant for (what is it,) two to three years? And finally the possibility of a “renovation” cost of 70 mil. being raised to nearly 100 mil.? (If I have my figures straight?). What really is the “bottom line” here? Politics? Greed? Apathy? Mis-information? (all of the above? I wonder if we’ll really know the “truth”?

JodarMovieFan on August 8, 2023 at 9:38 am

After reading the article, it seems the venue will get remodeled at a much higher cost. To wait any longer would mean even higher construction costs in the future. The sooner things get done, the sooner they can reopen and entertain audiences again and make some $ and boost the local economy.

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on August 8, 2023 at 9:50 am

Very well-said, Jodar. I just hope Jersey City would be willing to “foot the bill”.

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