One of Jersey City’s most well-known landmarks if the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater, one of the majestic “wonder theaters” built during the roaring 20s around the NYC metropolitan area. Jersey City’s historical theater is the only one still showing movies, and it’s a sight any Jersey City must see while calling our city home.
The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater opened September 28th, 1929 in Journal Square, Jersey City. The cost of construction was $2 million and on opening day they presented the film Madame X which brought in over 3,000 patrons. The theater had a three segment orchestra pit installed so that it would be capable of live performances along with films. The lobby of the theater was quite impressive with a grand chandelier and a three story oval entrance. The bathrooms were also one of a kind on the second floor with elaborate decorations and additional space for makeup application and socialization. You can still see the original details and architectural prowess in their lobby today.
The Theatre’s stage was large for its day and acts from Manhattan’s Capitol Theatre regularly toured the Loew’s Jersey. Most of the stars of the early and mid-1930s performed at the Loew’s theater such as Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, Jean Harlow, Burns and Allen, Bing Crosby, Bill Robinson, Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Cab Calloway.
In 1986 nearby malls had lured away much of the high-end retail business that the area once enjoyed and multi-plex cinemas had taken much of the Loew’s Jersey’s business. The theater closed and there were plans to demolish it and build something new on site. However, being such a historic building, people teamed up and campaigned to save the building and succeeded! The theater was then sold to its current owner, the city of Jersey City.
Restoration took place from 1986-1996 with the help of volunteers who restored the seating and installed projection equipment which allowed them to show films again.
Fun Facts: In 2011 The Strokes shot a music video for their single “Under Cover of Darkness” and the Trans-Siberia Orchestra filmed “The Ghost of Christmas” there as well. Now the theater also serves a popular place for fundraisers, corporate events and weddings.
Thrillist Media Group recently named the theater the most beautiful building in New Jersey!