Located at the crossroads of Warren County, The Washington Theatre has been entertaining people for over 7 decades. Built in the final years of silent movies, this majestic old theatre features a classically styled lobby along with two modern auditoriums and the best of current motion picture technology.
The Construction began on The Washington Theatre back in April of 1926 and was completed by January of 1927. Built for both silent movies and vaudeville, the theatre held 800 seats and proudly proclaimed itself “The Showplace Of Northwestern New Jersey.” Just four years later in 1931, the theatre was “modernized” with the addition of sound.
Since its founding by the Lyons Theatre Circuit, The Washington Theatre has had many owners. In the 1970’s, the theatre was “twined”, at which time much of its ornate style was covered over or destroyed. Over the subsequent years, the once majestic theatre fell into a state of disrepair, until in 1997 the theatre finally closed. The Washington Theatre did not die however. Briefly reopened by a local community group, in August of 1998 the theatre was acquired by the New Jersey based Galaxy Theatre Corporation. After extensive renovations to restore the remaining grandeur back to the lobby areas, and extensive repairs and cleanup to the auditoriums, The Washington Theatre is once again The Showplace Of Northwestern New Jersey. Charles Van Bibber – Cinema Treasures dot org
J.W. Mays, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAYS) is a real estate firm based in Brooklyn, New York, United States. From 1927 until 1988 the company ran a chain of discount department stores in the area surrounding New York City referred to as simply Mays, with stores located in three of New York City’s five boroughs and Long Island. At its height as a retailer, the firm had 5000 employees working in 9 stores during the early 1970s. – Wikipedia
Until the end of the 1950s, Mays was about the best you could do if you lived in Levittown…” – Steve Bergsman – Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis
I was one of the kids who would always walk to the shopping center. I would go into Mays department store to steal whatever I could sell to somebody. Sometimes, it was albums, other times jewelry and watches. But my favorite and most lucrative time of year was winter, when I would steal winter coats. That was the best because it was good money. I had customers lined up around the block – students, janitors and teachers alike.” – Justin Doyle – I Am Nobody, I Am Somebody
We never had the pleasure to live in Levittown. Since my father worked for PanAm, we always lived near JFK Airport, which we properly triangulated from 1960 to 1969. Born in Far Rockaway, we lived briefly in Belle Harbor and then was whisked off to Laurelton, not far from the Green Acres mall, where my mother often dragged me kicking and screaming. I hated department stores. The smells of over-perfumed frantic female shoppers and the cacophony of sounds- the constant ringing of bells over the PA to signal managers, the grinding and droning ambiance of the escalators and the sound of my mother’s voice constantly calling my name if I wasn’t in clear view – which I never was since I was a hyperactive child, perpetually acting out and hiding from her under circular racks of cashmere sweaters and mohair skirts. I remember shopping with my mother at Mays in Jamaica as a kid. I wasn’t particularly impressed by it.
After years of being forced-bussed to P.S. 37 Elementary School in Springfield Gardens in the early to late 60s and after many an altercation with the local students who weren’t particularly interested in my integration of their school, we moved to Howard Beach, not long after the RFK and MLK assassinations. By then, I was more culturally Black and had some trouble in the beginning becoming “reintegrated.” This made for a rich upbringing which I never would have traded for the ability to have been able to walk to my zoned school just a block away. However, I would love to buy back all of the time I was shuttled in and out of department stores by my mom. No wonder so many suburban white kids shoplifted (without the fear of being killed by police for it).
Always carry a red pen with you. Why shoplift? Price change (it shows willingness to pay)!
Elsewhere on FAB:
- Chandler – Ebel Music Co – Livingston Street – May 6, 2014
Joy Chatel and Lewis Greenstein started organizing together in the spring of 2004 after they learned that their properties were at risk of being seized by the city under eminent domain. The unassuming wood-frame buildings on Duffield Street, near the Manhattan Bridge, fall within the area affected by the Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan. – Emma Rebhorn, The Case of The Duffield Street Homes (Brooklyn Rail)
- A Juneteenth Riddle: Was Duffield Street a stop on the Underground Railroad - NYTimes City Blog – June 19, 2007
- The Case of the Duffield Street Homes – The Brooklyn Rail – September 2007