View Full Version : Great Movie Palaces in the Greater NY Area

January 22nd, 2007, 08:39 PM
Connecticut is fortunate to have several recently restored movie palaces. Not all of them show movies, but a visit to any one is well worth the price of admission, for whatever happens to be on the bill. Highly recommended:

1. Warner Theater. Torrington. Simply the most spectacular theater in Connecticut, if not all of New England. An art deco extravaganza, rivals Radio City Music Hall in energy if not size. Dazzling. What a thrill this masterpiece was saved from being turned into a parking lot!! Over the top.

2. Palace Theater. Waterbury. Ornate, the way things used to be.

3. Garde Arts Center. New London. Egyptian art deco. The restoration took away some of the original charm, but this place features the biggest movie screen in Connecticut, possibly bigger than the screen at New York's Ziegfeld Theater. Keep your eyes open for the (rare) classic film festivals held here. An overlooked gem.

January 22nd, 2007, 09:41 PM
Jersey City has two great movie palaces in Journal Square that are both beautifuly restored.

1. The Loews Jersey Theatre: It was the only one of the Loew's Wonders Movie Palaces built out of NYC. It is oen of five. One in Manhattan that operates as a church; one in Queens which also runs as a church; The Kings Theatre on Flatbush Ave that is sorely delipadated; the Paradise Theatre in Bronx; and last but certainly not least the Loews Jersey in Jersey City as JSQ. It proves of how highly JSQ was thought as a destination in the 20s and 30s and even the 40s where it was a great place for Hudson County for a night on the town. It has been renovated beautifully and hosts film festivals and showing of old films twice a month; has been the settings for recent films; and recently Beck performed their along with Patti Lebelle not that before him. http://www.loewsjersey.org/

2. Stanley Theatre: It was built by Warner Bros. in 1928 and begged mayor Hague who was mayor from 1917-1947 and even offered the mayors daughter a role along side Shirely Temple in an upcoming film for the right to build the theatre. At the time blue laws were on the books and the WBs wanted it to be open Sundays but Hauge intially refused. But when WBs flew Frank Hauge out to Cali he was impressed and they said that they will build a beautiful grand movie palace and that they did.

It was built before Radio City Music Hall and was the largest and most grand theatre on the East Coast until Radio City was built and till this day it is still second only behind Radio City. The Jehovahs Witnesses bought it in the 80s and restored it beautifully and there are rumors but nothing founded yet that the JC Board of Ed or a theatre company wants to buy it and turn it into a performing arts school which would be great because we lost ours in the 40s and haven't had one since so it would be welcomed and highly deserved considering the established burgeoning arts scene in Jersey City.

Just a touch of the great and important history here in the great and ever growing city of Jersey City.

January 22nd, 2007, 11:37 PM
The Jersey City theatres are indeed majestic places.



FYI, here's a cool site about the above 2 theatres:


February 12th, 2009, 02:34 PM
Beacon Restored to Glamour of Vaudeville Days

The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/nyregion/12beacon.html)
By Glenn Collins
February 11, 2009

The Beacon Theater, an entertainment icon in New York since 1929,
was completely renovated, at a cost of $16 million.

>> PHOTOS (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/02/12/nyregion/20090212-beacon-ss_index.html) by Fred R. Conrad

There were dozens of quasiarchaeological discoveries during the seven-month renovation of the 80-year-old Beacon Theater in Manhattan. The most telling, though, was the Folgers coffee can.

It had long been thought that a sparkly, 10-inch-wide, cut-crystal ball — the principal ornament at the tip of the 900-pound chandelier in the rotunda of the former movie palace — was attached with a sturdy bronze fixture.

But when the chandelier was lowered to be cleaned, rewired and repaired, the real support for the crystal orb was revealed: a vintage 6-inch-tall coffee tin.

“It was slathered with gold house paint” to match the chandelier, said Marc Tarozzi, a vice president of facilities at Madison Square Garden Entertainment, a division of Cablevision Systems Corporation, which in 2006 leased the Beacon for 20 years. “The original bronze was lost in the mists of time.”

He added, deadpan: “Actually we’re not certain it was Folgers. But the original color was definitely bright red.”

Now replaced with a bronze fixture, the dented tin was a slipshod token of neglect in the theater, at 2124 Broadway at West 74th Street. It is familiar to generations of New Yorkers as a film and vaudeville mecca, an all-around performance space, and, in recent decades, as the Carnegie Hall of city rock rooms.

During a rehearsal on Wednesday, Paul Simon, the headliner for the reopening celebration on Friday night, said: “I’ve performed here many times and it was always fun, but I was overwhelmed to see how beautiful it is now.

“It’s a great house with a great vibe and its funkiness matched the music in a way,” he added. “But it’s nicer to have clean seats.”

During the renovation, which cost about $16 million, about 1,000 workers toiled in the opulent theater, an “Arabian Nights” pastiche of Greek, Roman, Renaissance and Rococo elements.

They uncovered many surprises in the Beacon, which was declared a landmark in 1979 and had been partially renovated many times, “often ineptly,” said Jay Marciano, president of Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

The unsightly main box-office kiosk on Broadway, coated in layers of cheap house paint, was revealed as a delicate birdcage of brass, glass and marble.

A long-lost stairway also came to light, yielding a remnant of venerable carpeting that inspired a replacement to adorn the lobbies, auditorium and stairways: 2,100 square yards of custom-patterned wool woven in gold, yellow, green and maroon.

In addition, an alert worker preparing to repaint an original water fountain — which was not working — was startled to realize that it was made of alabaster, Mr. Tarozzi said. It was cleaned and restored to working order.

During the renovation, the Beacon’s electrical system was redone for the first time since the theater’s construction, said Richard Claffey, senior vice president for theater operations at the Garden. New draperies with gold tassels replaced long-missing originals. A misplaced canvas mural in the neoclassical rotunda was recreated based on historical photographs.

New end standards along the aisles of the 2,829 new rust-red seats were cast from patterns close to the originals. Furthermore, multiple levels of ceiling cove lighting were rewired, then the fixtures rebulbed, as restorers say, returning the illumination to a glory not seen for 50 years, Mr. Tarozzi said.

Back to that poorly painted coffee tin: What will become of it?

“We’ll wrap it in plexiglass and put it in someone’s office,” Mr. Marciano said. “It should forever be part of the folklore of the place.”

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company