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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Thank you from a former volunteer.
This needs to be a joint effort. There was money given to FOL
by the county, several times, that was never spent, and then
was either taken away, or no longer enough to do the job.
Under the terms of the rfp, they will still be entitled to do 20
events a year, which is basically the film series. Yes, they did
do a great job of saving the theatre, but they obviously need
help in managing the theater and events, as well as money. You can't
have events in the summer without functioning air
conditioning, The building itself must be brought up to code
for fire suppression, etc. There are two paid employees of FOL,
which is not enough for all of the work of management that
needs to be done.

Posted on: 2014/2/17 23:02
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Why take opposite sides as adversaries? Truth be told, despite the impassioned pleas of some here, I don't think that FOL has done that great of a job with the Loew's.

I have attended some of their movie screenings, and I am always surprised by how sparingly they are attended. Some movies are REALLY great, and totally worth watching in a grand, old theater. Simply put, FOL does a VERY POOR job of advertising these events. With the exception of the Halloween events, I have never seen them post information about upcoming screenings here in JCLIST (a widely read site by the typical person that would likely support the Loew's) or other JC-related websites. Perhaps I have missed them, but I check JCLIST almost daily. Posting here about a screening would cost them nothing, and may lead to many more seats getting filled. It wouldn't take more than a few minutes to do so!

For example, how many of you knew that Jaws was shown two weeks ago, on February 1? That would have been a great flick to catch on a big screen!

It's a shame. They mean well, but they are disorganized and, by extension, ineffective. Kudos to them for preventing the theater from being torn down, and to the volunteers who graciously staff the events, but more can (and, should) be done.

Posted on: 2014/2/17 19:31
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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VA2015 wrote:
Response from friends of Loew's re: Fulop's plans:

http://loewsjersey.org/loews-jersey-h ... lan-for-the-loew-s-jersey


They are pretty obviously pissed. It isn't clear to me whether the objection is to how they are portrayed in the article, or to Fulop's plan overall. It does say that they feel "pushed aside" by Fulop and this is also very telling:

"We defined the idea, which Mayor Steven Fulop now claims as his own, that the Loew?s is a cultural and economic resource for our community. "

I don't know that it matters who "owns" the idea. If they want it to be a resource, and so does Fulop, it seems in their best interests to work together. Complaining about "The City" holding you back for 20 years, and then also complaining about the same city's mayor wanting to push you forward, leaves you no direction in which to move IMO.


Their frustration seems pretty legitimate. They've managed to operate the theatre despite the city breaking its financial promise again and again. To have the city then turn around and accuse the FOL of not fulfilling the theatre's full potential is just plain douchey.

Posted on: 2014/2/17 18:48
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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VA2015 wrote:

http://loewsjersey.org/loews-jersey-h ... lan-for-the-loew-s-jersey

If they want it to be a resource, and so does Fulop, it seems in their best interests to work together. Complaining about "The City" holding you back for 20 years, and then also complaining about the same city's mayor wanting to push you forward, leaves you no direction in which to move IMO.


In this article by WSJ they directly reference talks of bringing in management companies such as Barclay's or Livenation.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/S ... 4644104579194303485873312

Of course FOL are pissed- I would be too. After years of scraping by and doing the best they could do with the building the city is talking about bringing in someone else to run it and reap the benefits.
FOL worked their asses off to keep the building from being torn down, preserving and restoring the building as they could with few resources and volunteer labor for almost 30 years, and now JC wants to hand it over to a for-profit management company?

This is disturbing.

I've also never heard of a city running a theater before. Does it bother anyone else that they are prepared to spend millions on this project, when they could be spending taxpayer money elsewhere?

Ideally, FOL should have bought the building from the city long ago and worked on getting their own grants to restore the place without funds getting held up by the city. What a mess.

Posted on: 2014/2/17 18:19
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Response from friends of Loew's re: Fulop's plans:

http://loewsjersey.org/loews-jersey-h ... lan-for-the-loew-s-jersey


They are pretty obviously pissed. It isn't clear to me whether the objection is to how they are portrayed in the article, or to Fulop's plan overall. It does say that they feel "pushed aside" by Fulop and this is also very telling:

"We defined the idea, which Mayor Steven Fulop now claims as his own, that the Loew?s is a cultural and economic resource for our community. "

I don't know that it matters who "owns" the idea. If they want it to be a resource, and so does Fulop, it seems in their best interests to work together. Complaining about "The City" holding you back for 20 years, and then also complaining about the same city's mayor wanting to push you forward, leaves you no direction in which to move IMO.

Posted on: 2014/2/13 1:20
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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FakeGreenDress wrote:

The original 1920s AC is still in the basement. Someone told me it's the size of a locomotive and will need to be blasted out.


Must have been a steam absorption unit. They can be pretty big.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 15:44
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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why blast the ac out when you can just give away to some choppers - let them come in and chop it up and take the metal

Posted on: 2014/2/6 15:40
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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MDM wrote:
Did the theater at one time have AC? That was the big thing about theaters even 100 years ago.. they were one of the few buildings that had AC.


The original 1920s AC is still in the basement. Someone told me it's the size of a locomotive and will need to be blasted out.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 15:32
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Did the theater at one time have AC? That was the big thing about theaters even 100 years ago.. they were one of the few buildings that had AC.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 15:24
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Since there's currently no AC in the building, performances are limited to the cooler months. I'm assuming that the renovation will include a modern HVAC system, so there would be a lot more latitude in programming.

Side note: I went by there on one broiling July day and someone was having a wedding inside. I love weddings, but that was one I was happy to miss.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 15:12
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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JCbiscuit wrote:
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jcman420 wrote:
Haven't heard anyone address whether this new performance-based ambition for the Loew's would mean the end, or drastic scaling back, of movie nights.


the WSJ article that launched this thread states that "The Friends of the Loew's will be able to hold 20 performances." Whether they choose to make those performances films or otherwise is, I suppose, up to them and their supporters.



Ah, good to know. I think FOL events almost twice-per-month seems pretty fair. I'd be okay with that.


I remember reading that FOL currently puts on about 50 events a year, I think that includes private events like weddings. Assuming they stop offering the venue for rentals they should still be able to keep the majority of their programming. I follow their FB page and it seems to me like they only have public events (movies, performances, etc.) 1-3 times a month during their open season.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 14:51
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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ooh, where are these small new theaters of which you speak?


http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index ... eaters_coming_to_dow.html

Posted on: 2014/2/6 14:43
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Would it be possible for a developer to build a tower over Lowes whilst leaving it intact? If so, renovating the theater in return for abatements could be an idea.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 14:41
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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jcman420 wrote:
Haven't heard anyone address whether this new performance-based ambition for the Loew's would mean the end, or drastic scaling back, of movie nights.


the WSJ article that launched this thread states that "The Friends of the Loew's will be able to hold 20 performances." Whether they choose to make those performances films or otherwise is, I suppose, up to them and their supporters.



Ah, good to know. I think FOL events almost twice-per-month seems pretty fair. I'd be okay with that.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 14:33
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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brewster wrote:
It always burned me that the late JC Museum had a sweet little theater that went utterly unused. I wonder what the status of it is now? Was it turned into office space for JCMC?


I believe it is still there - however it isn't really usable as a theater space because of the lack of stage depth - also no off-stage/wing space.

Not usable? Tell that to the local theater companies that perform outdoors or in basements with steel folding chairs and a few flats. This one has upholstered seats and an elevated stage!

Posted on: 2014/2/6 1:01
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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jcman420 wrote:
Haven't heard anyone address whether this new performance-based ambition for the Loew's would mean the end, or drastic scaling back, of movie nights.


the WSJ article that launched this thread states that "The Friends of the Loew's will be able to hold 20 performances." Whether they choose to make those performances films or otherwise is, I suppose, up to them and their supporters.


Posted on: 2014/2/6 0:30
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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brewster wrote:
It always burned me that the late JC Museum had a sweet little theater that went utterly unused. I wonder what the status of it is now? Was it turned into office space for JCMC?


I believe it is still there - however it isn't really usable as a theater space because of the lack of stage depth - also no off-stage/wing space.

Posted on: 2014/2/6 0:25
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Trivia wrote:
I don't understand where all the money for these things are coming from. I dunno, I would like to see something finally happen with the embankment.


Blame Steve hyman for th? embankment still not being built.

Posted on: 2014/2/5 23:53
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Haven't heard anyone address whether this new performance-based ambition for the Loew's would mean the end, or drastic scaling back, of movie nights.

While I'm all for expanding the use of the theater and using it as a mid-sized performance space, I certainly hope this does not come at the expense of what I think the theatre was originally built for-- showing films. I'm hoping that whatever plans the city has in store for the Loew's, it also involves a healthy dose of cinema.

Posted on: 2014/2/5 23:10
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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It always burned me that the late JC Museum had a sweet little theater that went utterly unused. I wonder what the status of it is now? Was it turned into office space for JCMC?

Posted on: 2014/2/5 22:20
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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smpott wrote:
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Wouldn't it be better in the short term to focus on smaller, more targeted projects that are more in line with the scale of local arts organizations and the funding prospects of today's Jersey City? A flexible-use 150-300 seat theater for example?

Best, - Sam Pott


A couple of small new theaters are being build downtown and there is the renovation of the White Eagle Hall taking place. You had a really great post but I think this is a false choice. There's no reason that the city can't push forward with the Lowes project and work on small scale theaters as well.


ooh, where are these small new theaters of which you speak?

Posted on: 2014/2/5 22:02
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Trivia wrote:
I don't understand where all the money for these things are coming from. I dunno, I would like to see something finally happen with the embankment.


The embankment depends on getting an irrational person to agree to end a fight that he is emotionally invested in continuing. It's not even really about dollars any more. Short of that person having a prolonged moment of clarity and reason, it will take more years for the thing to wend it's way through the courts.

Posted on: 2014/2/5 18:42
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Trivia wrote:
I don't understand where all the money for these things are coming from. I dunno, I would like to see something finally happen with the embankment.


One of the condo development projects in Journal Square is kicking $7 million to the Loews as part of their deal with the city.

Posted on: 2014/2/5 17:37
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Trivia wrote:
I don't understand where all the money for these things are coming from. I dunno, I would like to see something finally happen with the embankment.


Well, for the new, small theaters they are being built by developers as part of the whatever deal produced their site plan. For Lowes, I think the idea is that it is profit sharing so I think the city is hoping to not pay anything out of pocket.

Posted on: 2014/2/5 17:30
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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I don't understand where all the money for these things are coming from. I dunno, I would like to see something finally happen with the embankment.

Posted on: 2014/2/5 16:10
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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smpott wrote:
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Wouldn't it be better in the short term to focus on smaller, more targeted projects that are more in line with the scale of local arts organizations and the funding prospects of today's Jersey City? A flexible-use 150-300 seat theater for example?

Best, - Sam Pott


A couple of small new theaters are being build downtown and there is the renovation of the White Eagle Hall taking place. You had a really great post but I think this is a false choice. There's no reason that the city can't push forward with the Lowes project and work on small scale theaters as well.

Posted on: 2014/2/4 17:34
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Very valid points, Sam. Thank you. I'm not against this project by any means.


Josh - I agree about having more venues of scope and scale in the near future (the Beacon is run by MSG, btw). I just think we need to ensure that JC people are part of the staffing outcome/those most hired. We need to guarantee that whatever company is chosen, that they staff the majority of key roles from the JC talent pool pending they have applicants who meet/exceed the job requirements. And since there hasn't been any public forum on this facet of the process, we just don't know the answer to/thoughts on that one. Maybe Dale "BrightMoment" Hardman can shed some light here? I'd basically like to know if this project is also being used for job creation within the actual Loews Theatre in addition to jump starting redevelopment in JSQ.

Posted on: 2014/2/4 16:51
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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If the Loews becomes a venue like the Beacon or some other reasonably large sized theater, then that becomes something Jersey City has been sorely lacking for some time. Even if it is run by a for profit entity.

I can see Jersey City having the following entertainment options in the not so distant future.

1. The Loews.
2. The Powerhouse
3. The "black box" theater as part of the Powerhouse Arts District
4. White Eagle Hall
5. St. Peter's Prep Auditorium
6. NJCU auditorium.
7. Barrow Mansion
8. Art House Productions

That creates a variety of venues for concerts and performances. On top of that the city should try to be a little less restrictive for performance spaces in bars/restaurants and galleries.

Posted on: 2014/2/4 16:31
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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Has there been an open Jersey City meeting regarding this plan to invest in this? Did I miss it? I feel like a little while ago it was a suggestion and now they are already asking for bids.

Seriously, has there been a meeting that I missed, because I feel people need to voice their concerns before this goes ahead. We don't want a micro-unit situation all over again.

Posted on: 2014/2/4 15:30
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Re: Jersey City Sees Stardom for Loew's
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This is interesting. A refurb and more programming would be excellent! But I want to know more about how the Mayor thinks the place will be run day to day. Its great that FOL is getting a piece, but I'm still concerned about who would manage the day to day operations. Handing the daily operations over solely to a conglomerate like a Live Nation is problematic because whenever a community event or FOL event happens, that can get expensive as normally that managing organization will staff it with their people (ushers, etc.) which will cost the presenting org like FOL money they don't really have. This model of giving the daily runnings to a company like a Live Nation can be cost prohibitive for local community groups. Instead, I really hope they are considering creating an operating staff of their own based on a model like one of the many successful neighboring non-profit arts centers like NJPAC, BAM, or SOPAC for example. To not do so would be counter to keeping this venue connected to and growing with the city's various arts & cultural groups, IMHO.


I agree with your sentiment, Oneskirt, but I believe your proposal is also problematic. As a large capacity theater, Loew's does share similarities with established theaters such as BAM or NJPAC (not SOPAC which is something like 400 seats). However, in terms of viability for non-commercial performance, there are important differences that would be not be easy to address.

First: building funding sources to carry to the ongoing operating costs - productions at BAM and NJPAC are highly subsidized mostly by an extraordinarily large number of high level donors - mostly individuals, along with some business and much smaller percentage of government. This funding structure has been developed over decades for BAM and BAM is able to pull from a vastly more wealthy target audience in New York City. For NJPAC, this theater was developed in a kind of singular master plan of urban development and focused arts funding. Is that possible to recreate in Jersey City? Possibly, but don't underestimate the vision and ability of NJPAC's founding CEO Larry Goldman to bring people and funders together and guide that organization. Also let's bring attention to the vast discrepancy in New Jersey State Arts Council funding between Essex County, over $5million, and Hudson County, approximately, $150,000.

Yet another consideration is that a venue like BAM exists in one of the world centers of culture and wealth - the density of arts lovers who can afford a ticket is a major part of BAM's success. Though that exists to a certain extent in Jersey City and the region, Loew's would face hurdles in drawing audiences who have many other arts venues to choose from and who may have negative connotations with Jersey City. NJPAC runs into this difficulty when drawing audiences to even their most celebrated and well-known performers such as Alvin Ailey, Joshua Bell and others.

I truly don't mean to be a wet blanket about this new venture and would love to see Loew's flourish as a premiere arts venue. But I also think it is important to be a realist, take a cold hard look at the reality of non-profit theater management, and stop using blanket terms like "support for the arts" when there is large difference between a non-profit theater like BAM and a venue such as those that Live Nation books like NY's Paramount Theater, or MSG. No value judgement but not the same animal. I would love to be proved wrong in my sense that Jersey City is not ready or positioned to support a large-scale BAM or NJPAC-like arts theater.

Wouldn't it be better in the short term to focus on smaller, more targeted projects that are more in line with the scale of local arts organizations and the funding prospects of today's Jersey City? A flexible-use 150-300 seat theater for example?

Best, - Sam Pott

Posted on: 2014/2/4 2:56
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