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A Night at a Movie Palace: Loew’s Jersey Theatre

Last weekend, my wife and I enjoyed the 1954 classic On the Waterfront in 35 mm film on the big screen. (The movie was shot in Hoboken, New Jersey.) While the film was riveting, the true attraction was the movie theater itself.

The Loew’s Jersey Theatre stands across the street from the Journal Square PATH station in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Loew’s opened in 1929 and remains a true movie palace. A temple for artistry and entertainment.

Upon stepping into the theater, one knows that he or she is entering a very special place. The grand design and refined ornamentation dazzle theater-goers. More importantly, such a building communicates to visitors that their presence matters. That they matter. This is lost in most contemporary public spaces.

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The lobby of the Loew’s Jersey Theatre. (Photograph by author)

Before any show at the Loew’s, guests wander through the theater. Mesmerized. 

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Visitors documenting their night at the Loew’s. Would people believe such a place existed without evidence? (Photograph by author)

Every corner and pocket of the theater contains an element or flourish created to delight.

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A detail in the (former) smoking lounge adjacent to the men’s room. (Photograph by author)

The theater exists in a constant state of renovation and repair. All the work is completed by volunteers. Yes, volunteers.

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A former goldfish pond. Imagine seeing this on a first date. (Photograph by author)

The majestic setting transforms mass media into high culture. You understand why Americans once dressed up for a night at the movies.

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The lobby ceiling. (Photograph by author)

The Loew’s screens films one weekend per month and usually structures the program around a theme. If you love movies, history, or architecture, make a trip to Journal Square and buy a ticket for the Loew’s. You’ll never feel the same about going to the movies.

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