Loew’s Palace Theatre
The Loew’s Palace Theatre opened as the Poli’s Palace Theatre on September 4, 1922 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Architect Thomas W. Lamb designed the theater for theater mogul Sylvester Z. Poli. Loew’s Poli Theatre sat 3,642 people and was the biggest movie theater in Connecticut at the time and still remains the largest of Bridgeport’s theaters. (more…)
While we have previously covered many of the abandoned theaters in New York City, today we bring you to the abandoned theaters of New Jersey from Newark to Long Branch to Passaic.
The Paramount Theatre opened as the Broadway Theatre in Long Branch, New Jersey on August 1, 1912. The 1,772-seat theater showed plays and vaudeville performances before transitioning to film. The theater was reconstructed and managed by Paramount-Publix starting in 1930, resulting in the theater being remodeled into an atmospheric style theater. After the redesign, the theater was renamed the Paramount Theatre.
The Shore Theatre opened as the Loew’s Coney Island Theatre on June 17, 1925. The 2,387 seat theater was built by the Chanin Construction Company, which was also known for the construction of the now demolished Roxy Theatre in Manhattan. Before opening, the theater was leased to the Loew’s theater chain. The Shore was designed in a Renaissance revival style by the Reilly & Hall architecture firm, who were proteges of famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb.
The Shore opening was presided over by Loew’s theater chain founder Marcus Loew, and included many of that era’s stars of stage and screen. Some of the celebrities at the opening were Barbara La Marr, Mae Busch, Dorothy Mackaill and Virginia Lee Corbin. The opening feature was the movie “The Sporting Venus” and a live performance by conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton. According to an account by the “Brooklyn Citizen,” the crowd at the opening was so large it had to be cordoned by police. The theater was designed to be a combination house, showing both vaudeville and motion pictures, but eventually phased out the vaudeville performances.
Loew’s ended it’s lease in 1964, when it was taken over by the Brandt Company. The theater was then renamed Brandt’s Shore Theatre. A year later the Brandt Co. switched the theater to a live performance venue. They attempted to appeal to Brooklyn’s large Jewish population by presenting stage shows such as “Bagels & Yox.” When that failed to catch on they switched to burlesque shows before resuming showing motion pictures.
By the early 1970’s, the Shore had turned to exploitation and eventually adult films. The theater closed permanently in March of 1973. The seats on the main level were removed and the floor was leveled to convert the space into a bingo hall. The Shore Theatre facade was declared a historical landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on December 14, 2010. The inside of the theater is not landmarked, and could be demolished.
The Loew’s 46th Street Theatre opened on October 9, 1927 as the Universal Theatre. It was designed by John Eberson, a famous theater architect known for his atmospheric style auditoriums. According to an account in the Brooklyn Eagle, 25,000 people were present for the opening of the theater. The 2,675 seat theater was acquired by the Loew’s Corporation in August 1928, and closed so renovations could be made to the sound equipment. It reopened on September 10, 1928 as the Loew’s 46th Street Theatre.
The 46th Street Theatre was the first atmospheric theater in New York City. It was designed to look like a night sky in an Italian garden. The illusion was completed with a projection of clouds across the ceiling. However, by the 1940’s the atmospheric effects had fallen into disrepair and were no longer used.
View of the balcony level.
The Loew’s Corporation transferred ownership to the 46th Theatre Company on September 14, 1966, and the theater was run as an independent movie theater until it closed in 1970. It was reopened later that year as the 46th Street Rock Palace, and was later renamed Bananafish Garden. The name was taken from J.D. Salinger’s short story “A Perfect Day for Banana Fish”. Many famous bands played shows at the theater during the years it was a concert venue including; The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, Jerry Lee Louis, The Bee Gees, Steely Dan, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Randy Newman.
In 1973, the theater was closed due to pressure from the local community, who felt that the concerts were causing too much noise. The building was then sold in 1974 to a furniture company. The stage was removed from the auditorium and it was converted into a storeroom for surplus furniture. The lobby was converted into a show room. It was sold again to the current owners Regal Furniture in 1996.
Welcome back to After the Final Curtain, featuring the photography and writing of Matt Lambros who documents the neglect of America’s greatest theaters in his website afterthefinalcurtain.net
View of the Loew’s Kings Theatre from the balcony
Loew’s Kings Theatre opened on September 7, 1929 in Brooklyn, NY, and was designed by the architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp (also known for the Paramount Theater in Times Square) and decorated by Harold W. Rambush. It was operated by the Loew’s theaters chain, and, along with the Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Loew’s Paradise Theatre, the Loew’s Valencia Theatre and the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre, it was one of the five “Loew’s Wonder Theaters” in the New York metropolitan area. (more…)
The Apollo Theater opened on December 15, 1913 as Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. The 1,853 seat theater is located in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. It was designed by architect George Keister who is also known for the American Airlines Theatre in Times Square.