NJ - Jersey City: Stanley Theater
In March of 1928, when the Stanley Theater first opened, its 4300 seats earned it the rank of the second largest theater on the East Coast – with New York City's Radio City Music Hall as number one.
A grand staircase replete with trompe l'oeil alabaster handrails is the main feature of the three-story lobby. During the day, sunlight streams in illuminating the lobby. An immense crystal chandelier shines after the sun sets. On three sides of the lobby, stands a formation of marble columns topped by a balcony. A nearly celestial ceiling actually had machine generated clouds and points of light that twinkled like stars.
When the theater first opened, one floor below the lobby there was a small pool with goldfish and a smoking lounge with gorgeous furniture. A tremendous Wurlitzer Organ filled the great room with sound and originally a orchestra also provided music to accompany live performances.
For many years, the Stanley, the State, the Loew's and many restaurants and stores made Journal Square a shopping center and the focus of a lively night life in Jersey City. In the 1970s, with many moving to the suburbs and the opening of the Transportation Center, the Square lost much of its pedestrian traffic. Dwindling revenue forced the Stanley to close in 1978. The Jehovah's Witnesses bought the property in 1983 to use as a meeting hall.
New Jersey State Register (1981)
Explore: July 1, 2006