Stories and Announcements
Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission Meeting: Monday July 19 6:30 pm
The next step in planning for the big restoration of the Loews happens Monday evening, July 19 at 6:30pm, when schematic plans for the work that have been developed over the past four months will be reviewed by the Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission.
We want all of the Loew’s patrons and supporters to have a look at those plans, too. And we also want you to know that you can participate in the JCHPC’s meeting via Zoom.
To look at the plans & read the JCPC’s staff comments: Use this link to go to the page with the Loew’s application to the JCHPC — scroll all the way down to the list of the attachments, which are the draft plans and the JCHPC’s staff comments about them.
To get a copy of the agenda for the meeting: Go to the official Jersey City calendar at https://jerseycitynj.gov/calendar and then click on “Historic Preservation” on July 19. There’s a hyperlink in the agenda that will take you to the meeting.
To participate in the JCHPC meeting, Monday, July 19 at 6:30pm:
You can also call 1-312-626-6799.
The Meeting ID is 81498093236.
Instructions on how to ask questions during the meeting are included in the agenda (link above). General instructions from Jersey City about participating in Zoom meetings can be read here: https://jerseycitynj.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_6189660/File/City%20Hall/Housing%20Economic%20Development/City%20Planning/_meetings/Zoom%20Meeting%20Instructions%20for%20Public.pdf
Bottom line on the plans so far: It’s no surprise that the group Jersey City and FOL is partnering with to handle the for profit aspect of operations at the Loew’s wants to maximize those profits. And of course, those profits are going to help maintain the Theatre and underwrite our non-profit programming. It’s also not surprising that modern theatre operations can benefit from some changes to a 92 year old building. Put this all together, and the schematic plans for the restoration and renovation of the Loew’s are good – but they do contain some proposals that either still need to be developed more to understand how they’ll impact the historic architecture and experience of the Loew’s, or that already seem not acceptable in that regard. When you read the JCHPC staff comments you’ll see that they have already pointed out some of the most important of these concerns, and called for changes. And during the meeting FOL expects the remaining issues will come up. So by the end of the meeting, we hope that most of the preservation concerns in the schematic plans will be addressed.
Experience The Wonder
In 1929, five cinematic palaces opened and were immediately dubbed “Wonder Theaters” because their size and beauty were a wonder to behold with the most magnificent and elaborate ornamentation of any theaters in our area. Four were located in New York and one in New Jersey, that one being The Loew’s Jersey Theatre at Journal Square in Jersey City.
No expense was spared on the buildings as well as the organs that graced the theatres. When the organ in Loew’s Jersey rose up on the organ lift and rotated around to reveal the console and organist as it thundered out the opening song of the evening in all its splendor of white and gold leaf, it could do no less then put the audience in a musical trance as they watched this event unfold in front of them.
This series of events took place night after night at movie shows, long after the rest of the area theatres gave up using their organs because of increased cost cutting. But due to public interest, the Loew’s Jersey Wonder Morton continued to entertain the movie going public. Eventually, when the movie industry fell on hard times and theatres started to close, the organ was removed and the theatre eventually went dark.
But thanks to to the efforts of Robert Balfour and the Garden State Theatre Organ Society, the Loew’s Jersey is once again filled with the sounds and spirit of a live Wonder Organ.
Masks must be worn above the nose in the Theatre at all times except when eating & drinking concessions.
Distancing is required when in line.
Only alternate rows in the auditorium will be used, and patrons who are not part of one party will be expected to sit at least two seats apart.
Hand sanitizer will be available at multiple stations in the Loew’s.
Doors, handrails, etc. will be periodically wiped down by Theatre staff during events.
Information from ticket sales will be provided to official contact tracers should the need arise.
The Theatre will make every effort to have the auditorium ready and open at the time patrons start to enter the building so as to reduce the need to congregate in the Lobby.
Leaving and re-entering the building between multiple screenings will be allowed to help reduce wait lines and congregating in the Lobby, provided patrons keep proof of ticket purchase.
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Friends of the Loew’s believes that The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre must serve its community as a not-for-profit arts and entertainment center that increases the visibility and role of the performing arts in the lives of the diverse peoples who live in Hudson County and our whole region. It must strive to present a broad spectrum of quality programming that breaks down preconceived divisions between different performance disciplines — artificial divisions that prevent many people, especially young people, from thoroughly exploring and enjoying the rich diversity of performance art. This programming must highlight the best accomplishments of American popular stage and motion picture arts.