Other NJ News

Madison Area Residents Hope to Rescue Shuttered Movie Theater

The Madison movie theater closed its doors May 30 after Bow Tie Cinemas terminated its lease with Saxum Real Estate, which recently purchased the property. Credits: Lindsay Ireland

MADISON, NJ - The Madison Movie theater has closed its doors, and residents are crying out for help from the local government.

An online petition, which has now gained more than 1,000 signatures, asked the Madison Mayor and Council to provide “emergency interim funding to rescue the theater and allow community groups to develop a plan for its use as a not-for-profit movie, arts and cultural center,” said petitioners Sandy Kolakowski and former Mayor Ellwood “Woody” Kerkeslager.

Mayor Conley announced at Monday’s council meeting that the council had accepted the petitioners’ proposal and would meet with Kolakowski and Kerkeslager in the coming weeks to review the request and discuss next steps. Kolakowski said she was happy to see such a large response from area residents in just a few short weeks. At the council meeting least 60 people showed up to support the theater in person.

Sign Up for E-News

“Many said it’s too late to save the theater,” she said. “I told them I had to try, and I could not live with myself if I didn’t.”

The petition now has more than “300 comments describing how the movie is an essential part of the best of Madison; a place where you can go as a family or feel comfortable letting your kids go with their friends,” she said.

About a half dozen people spoke on the theater’s behalf Monday, sharing memories and lamenting its closure.

We’ve lost “something that brought vitality to downtown, that brought people out on the streets, that appealed to everyone whether it be old, young, single, couples with children,” said Almond Pippa of Ridgedale Avenue.

Some families have lived in Madison for years, when the theater only had one screen. For other, newer residents like Claudine Besti of South Street, the movie theater played a huge role in their decision to move to Madison.

Even a handful of Madison’s youngest residents showed up Monday to express their feelings about the theater’s recent closure.

“The movie theater meant a lot to everyone,” said Luke Shuster, 14, an incoming freshman at Madison High School. “People could spend time together at the movie theater. Overall it benefited the town as a whole.”

Rumors have arisen that the current owner of the 1920s theater, Saxum Real Estate, plans to demolish the building and replace it with condos.

Borough Assistant Administrator Jim Burnet said he thought the confusion came from a demolition permit obtained by the previous owner late last year to remove an oil tank on the property, a requirement before the sale could be completed.

No applications have yet been submitted to the borough that would suggest what the owner intends to do with the property, he said, so the owner’s future plans are currently unknown.

“If we continue to allow our...local landmarks to be built over with more and more multiple dwelling structures to accommodate all the would-be Madisonians in our world, the Madison that we all know and love; the special character that draws people to our town in the first place, will disappear,” said West End Avenue resident Kathy Dailey.

Bow Tie had negotiated a lower month-to-month lease with the previous owner, who attempted to keep the company in operation at the Madison theater, according to Burnet. That lease was honored by the new owners but despite this, Bow Tie gave a one-day notice—allowable by the terms of its lease—and ceased operations on May 30, he said.

Borough Attorney Matthew Giacobbe said he advised the council not to comment on future or pending applications the theater owners may submit.

“If this property—which is owned by a third party—goes before the planning board or the zoning board, it’s very important that these members of the governing body do not in any way infect the process,” he said.

That is not to say the Mayor and Council are not addressing this, Mayor Conley said.

The theater is “very important, and we hear the passion,” he said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Spring is (Almost) Here

Get ready for farmers markets and outdoor events, spring is bound to come at some point! To help you get ready Sadie's has lots of new spring products including this great Market Tote by Feed- the purchase of this cute everyday bag will donate 50 school meals. While stopping in for this tote check out some of the other great spring items just in. Don't forget the charity of the month is ...

Feeling Lucky

Shop of the morning to you! It’s that time of year when everyone’s color is green! Stop by Sadie's to get your St. Patty’s shirt before the big day. While your here and feeling lucky check out our latest Spring styles for Men and Women. You may make your friends green with envy.

Horoscope: Have a birthday between 3/13 and 3/24? If you stumble into a ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Maplewood Senior Center Holds Grand Opening on St. Patrick's Day

March 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Senior Center has been open on Burnett Avenue for several months and this past Saturday, Maplewood Township officials, many seniors and community members held a grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting officially dedicating the center.

As Saturday was the St. Patrick's Day holiday, the Senior Center celebration included green bagels ...

Maplewood to Hold Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 25

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Hop on down to Maplewood's Spring Egg Hunt! Maplewood will hold its 34th annual hunt on Sunday, March 25, from noon to 2 p.m. in Memorial Park.

An email from the Maplewood Recreation Department states to "please arrive promptly at noon with a basket or bag to make sure you don’t miss anything."

At last year's event, hundreds of kids ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment

Hundreds Cheer on Marchers and Bands at 67th West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Even a week’s delay caused by a massive snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the large crowd of spectators who cheered on the marchers and bands who participated in West Orange’s 67th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.

Wending their way up Main Street were more than 25 bands, including marching bands from northern New Jersey high ...

Members of Brick City Brims Charged for Alleged Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

NEWARK, NJ – Six members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang were arrested last week for their alleged roles in a major drug trafficking organization that dealt heroin in and around Newark.

Tyrone Brown, 34, Lamarr Burwell, 22, and Miles McCloud, 37, all of Newark, and Martin Pettiford, 23, of Irvington, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to ...

Renovation Complete, Winberie's Restaurant Reopens

March 22, 2018

SUMMIT, NJ - After a more than two months-long renovation -- an initiative which focused on updating the entire dining room, revamping the floor plan, and expanding the bar -- Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar has reopened in Summit.

The restaurant had been closed since New Year's Eve.

“Our guests will immediately see the physical changes we’ve made ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Union Animal Control Officer

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

Maplewood, South Orange Students to Join March for Our Lives: Rallies on Saturday at Maplewood and South Orange Train Stations

March 23, 2018

Student organizers from Maplewood and South Orange have come together with community leaders and SOMA Action in Maplewood and South Orange to rally in support of gun violence prevention on Saturday, March 24. The rallies are part of the worldwide March for Our Lives movement.

“We stand with and support victims of gun violence and mass shootings. We hope by speaking out and ...

Staff, Members at Metro YMCA’s 7 Branches Raise $788K In First Six Weeks of Annual Campaign

In just six weeks, staff and members at the seven Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges branches raised 70 percent of the organization’s $1,125,000 annual campaign goal.

“This achievement is a testament to our staff and members’ commitment to their communities through our mission of promoting healthy living, youth development and social responsibility,” Metropolitan YMCA of ...

Check Out BCB Community Bank's High Rate CDs

Get the most out of your savings with BCB Community Bank's high rate CD.

Check out BCB's 18-month CD interest rate of 1.76%.  Invest early and watch your money soar.  For more information, just visit or call your local BCB branch today in Union, Maplewood or South Orange:

Union Branch

2000 Morris Avenue
Union, NJ 07083

Maplewood Branch

156 ...