Destination Jersey City

Visit Stanley Theatre

District: Journal Square

Details

Phone: (201) 377-3100

Hours: Open to the public on weekends

2932 Kennedy Boulevard

Jersey City, NJ

Description

Built as the flagship of the Stanley-Fabian chain, the massive and ornate Stanley Theatre was the 6th largest movie palace in the country at the time of its opening. It was also the 2nd largest Atmospheric style movie theatre ever built in the USA, and ultimately the 11th largest movie theatre ever built in America.


When the Stanley Theater opened in March 1928 with 4300 seats, it was the second largest theater east of the Mississippi River (Radio City Music Hall was the largest). Its three-story lobby, formerly decorated with allegorical murals, is dominated by a grand staircase with Trompe L’oeil alabaster handrails. Miniature clouds generated by a machine wafted across the theater’s auditorium ceiling, which was dotted with pinpoints lights that looked like stars in a darkened sky. The larger of two crystal chandeliers, suspended from the second floor, is from the New York's original Waldorf Astoria of the 1880s; it is thirteen feet tall and ten feet wide, and illuminated by 144 bulbs that reflect onto 4,500 hanging crystal teardrops.There was a smoking lounge one floor below the lobby with ornate furniture and a pool of goldfish. The theatre has a Mighty Wurlitzer organ, and in its early years a house orchestra provided music for live stage performances.

Opening night on March 28, 1928 featured the film "The Dove" starring Norma Tallmadge and Gilbert Roland. The supporting progam included a stage show entitled "Sky Blues", a newsreel and selections played on the 'Mighty' Wurlitzer organ (Opus 1836, type SP-3M, 3 manual, 27 ranks). Actress Norma Talmadge appeared 'in person' on opening night.

The Stanley closed in 1978, and in 1983, it was purchased and refurbished by the Jehovah's Witnesses Assembly. Open to the public on weekends.

Location

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