Jersey City is well-known for its diverse community, culture and history. There are many landmarks that truly define what the city represents. But, there is one building that has defined the arts for decades and continues to do so today --The Loew’s Theatre.
Opening in 1929, the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre opened as one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theatres, a series of performing arts centers that were created to serve as the epicenter of film, music and art in and around the New York area.
For many years, the Loew’s became the community’s home for all things performance. Through its closings and potential threats of demolition, the theatre continues to thrive through its volunteer service, Friends of the Loew’s and the city’s residents.
Colin Egan, director of the theatre and a founding member of Friends of the Loew’s, recalls some of the threats the building has faced in the past.
“Nothing short of a wrecking ball could physically cause Jersey City to lose the Loew's as a landmark,” Egan explained. “Of course, that was precisely the plan some city officials and a developer had in mind for the theatre years ago.”
Through the help of the community, The Loew’s was saved and has since turned into a permanent home for local art.
“Fortunately, Friends of the Loew's stopped that,” Egan said. “And our volunteer repair and restoration work since has ensured not only that the wrecking ball was permanently stayed, but that the negative effects of age and time have also been pushed back.”
The impact of the theatre has affected different generations and has since brought them together to share one another’s love for performance art. Ron Dovoric has been a Jersey City resident for over 40 years, and continues to see the classic films he grew up watching at the place he grew up watching them in.
“It reminds me of when I went there as a kid in the early ‘60s and early ‘70s,” Dovoric said. “I think the Loew’s of the future will continue to be what it does now, showing classic films and hosting events.”
Ryan Wares, 20, grew up with the Loew’s Theatre as a Jersey City native. He remembers his first time standing on the main stage preparing for his first acting performance.
“When I first got there I just walked on stage and stared out to the empty seats,” he said. “You can just feel the intensity from all the other performers who have performed on this stage. Being a young actor, I stood there and thought ‘this really is what I want to do.’”
With its renovations, Friends of the Loew’s made sure to keep the building’s architecture the same, reminding older audiences of their past and inspiring younger audiences.
“The truly important thing about the Loew's is not just its physical presence on Journal Square, but how its extraordinary architecture interacts with people,” Egan said. “The Loew's was always designed to be a place where everyone can feel welcome and special.”
Today, the theatre showcases the best Jersey City has to offer with many different local art shows and community events. They also have their own signature classic films series, making sure that it’s content and price is something that everyone can enjoy.
“Friends of the Loew’s is committed to making sure that local arts and all the other varied and affordable programming will not only remain but also grow,” Egan said. “That's the only way the Loew's can truly fulfill its role as a great local landmark.”
To find out what the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre is showing next, visit http://www.loewsjersey.org/ for more information.