Wonder Theatres Rise Again

While doing some research for a restoration project proposal, I came across this piece in the New York Times on the area’s “Wonder Theater” movie palaces.

In the late 1920’s, Loew’s built five grand movie theaters, literally palaces meant to offer an escape from the increasingly depressing world outside the theater’s doors.

These theaters all feature similarly imaginative details recombined to evoke the “exotic.” Obsolete even before construction was completed (they featured organs and stage curtains at a time when movies were past such fineries), many began to decline immediately after opening at the beginning of the Depression and especially during the tumultuous 1970s. Today, many of them welcome audiences once again as entertainment venues, movie theaters, and churches, a testament to the city’s amazing capacity for creative re-use.

There’s lots more at the Times link. Let’s get to the photos – these are spectacular spaces that should be on every theater and architecture lover’s list to visit.

The Loew's Kings Theater before restoration. Photo Credit: Urbanomnibus.net
The Loew’s Kings Theater before restoration.
Photo Credit: Urbanomnibus.net
The Loew's Kings Theater after renovation. Photo Credit: The Huffington Post
The Loew’s Kings Theater after renovation.
Photo Credit: The Huffington Post
The Loew's Journal Square - a key part of Mayor Steven Folup's plan to revive the Jersey City commercial district. Photo credit: Cinematreasures.org
The Loew’s Journal Square – a key part of Mayor Steven Folup’s plan to revive the Jersey City commercial district.
Photo credit: Cinematreasures.org
The Loew's Valencia, Jamaica, Queens. The auditorium is in Atmospheric style, decorated in a mix of Spanish Colonial and pre-Columbian styles. Seating was provided for 3,554 in orchestra and balcony levels. Photo credit: Curbed NY
The Loew’s Valencia, Jamaica, Queens.
The auditorium is in Atmospheric style, decorated in a mix of Spanish Colonial and pre-Columbian styles. Seating was provided for 3,554 in orchestra and balcony levels.
Photo credit: Curbed NY
The Paradise Theater, The Bronx, NY Photo credit: Paradisetheater.net
The Paradise Theater, The Bronx, NY
Photo credit: Paradisetheater.net

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