Arts & Entertainment

Bellevue Theatre in Montclair Closes its Doors Forever, Maybe

A staffer removes the letters from the marquis of the Bellevue Theatre Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett

UPPER MONTCLAIR, NJ - Residents were surprised to learn that the beloved Bellevue Theatre located at 268 Bellevue Avenue in Upper Montclair would be abruptly closing its doors after 95 years. The Bellevue Theatre opened on May 13, 1922.

The last movie was shown on Sunday at 7:45 p.m., as dozens of residents flocked to the theatre in a nostalgic display of reverence. 

National movie chain, Bow Tie Cinemas, who operates another movie theater in Montclair, the Clairidge Cinema, informed employees of the closing on Tuesday. News spread quickly throughout the community and residents sprung into action making calls and signing petitions in an attempt to change the decision to close the Bellevue.

Sign Up for E-News

Bow Tie Cinemas wrote, “Our lease of the Bellevue Cinema has expired, and our last day of operations will be Sunday, November 12," in a statement.

At around 8 p.m. on Sunday, nearly a dozen residents solemnly gathered in freezing cold temperatures to gaze while a theatre staff member took down the letters on the marquis. 

The owner of the building, Jesse Y. Sayegh of Coral Springs, Fla., did not respond to request for comment directly. However, his attorney, Angelo Cifelli, of Piro Zinna Cifelli Paris & Genitempo in Nutley, said that his client had been in discussions with Bow Tie Cinemas since late last week to continue the theater's operation.

Since Bow Tie’s lease was expiring, the company did not want to exercise their option to extend the lease, which expires on November 30. Future employment of the staff is unknown at this time, as they were not instructed to discuss the matter. The decision to close Sunday is to allow Bow Tie an opportunity to remove their equipment from the Bellevue.

Cifelli stated, “They are going to dismantle the theater. They own the equipment, my client owns the building.” He added, “They have made clear to my client that they are going to take all of the equipment out."

Although Sayegh had offered six-figures to buy the equipment, Bow Tie declined. 

At the time of publication, a Change.org petition "Keep the Bellevue Theatre Open," which was started by Lena Fine had 4,278 signatures.

Ava Wigdor and Lara Harvey responded to the petition by showing up to watch one last film. They are close friends with Fine and expressed a nostalgic sadness at the news.

Harvey said, "This has been a really important part of my childhood and it's super sad to see it closing."

Wigdor stated, "This is where I saw my first movie and where I've had a lot of birthday parties. So, I wanted to come to one last movie."

Many other attendees echoed the same sentiment.

The Bellevue Theatre has been a significant part of the Montclair Film Festival, so many even wondered what would happen with that location no longer being an option for viewing. Montclair Film leadership responded saying that they would be open to conversations.

Montclair Film Director Tom Hall responded with a statement on Sunday morning saying, "First, we want to say thank you to the Bellevue staff for always being such gracious hosts for our organization, and we are hopeful that the owner of the property will be interested in continuing to have a tenant operate the space as a cinema."

He added, "We remain open to conversations around the future of the Bellevue, but do not have any information about the future of the property at the moment."

Outside of the theatre Sunday night, rumors among swirled among attendees about the possibility of famous Montclair residents acquiring the location. 

Ilmar Vanderer says that he was there to attend the protest. He was one of the first to arrive around 7:45 p.m.

"I just wonder why both parties, who knew that the lease would be up, waited so late," he said.

Vanderer says that he called Bow Tie Cinemas CEO directly, but suspected after hearing the statement from he landlord's attorney, may have been given inaccurate information about the reasoning for the abrupt closing. He was instrumental in saving the Bellevue Avenue branch of the Montclair Public Library from closing and was hopeful that he could assist in efforts to do the same with the theatre.

"I don't think this is about taking sides between the building owner and Bow Tie Cinemas." Vanderer concluded, "This is about the community wanting to preserve an iconic landmark and maintain Montclair's status as an arts center."

According to the Friends of Anderson Park, Charles Anderson donated the land for Anderson Park and his son Robert was the developer of the Bellevue Theatre, which was designed by J.H. Phillips, a New York architect who also designed the Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota, Florida. The buildings around the theatre are Tudor-style historic buildings.

With the Upper Montclair Business District being a destination for shopping and dining, many business owners and residents alike have expressed that they want the theatre to remain.

 



 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Grocery Shopping With A Twist

Grocery shopping takes on a new meaning at Sadie’s! 

This week we are introducing the brand Groceries Apparel. Their focus is to create fashion pieces with a purpose by using organic and recycled materials and made right here in the USA. With a focus on seed to skin these new items are sexy meets “green” with super soft shirts made from eucalyptus and versatile ...

Election Day Is Over. Now What?

Election Day 2017 has passed with some significant changes to both the school board and Maplewood Township Committee (TC), but perhaps not as big as some might have expected.

But where do both governing bodies go from here? Will we see a new mayor or a new school board president in 2018?

If the voting results are any indication, perhaps not.

Both Mayor Vic DeLuca and Board President ...

Sustained, Severe Cuts Equal Setbacks at NJ Department of Environmental Protection

November 6, 2017

Long-term budget and staff cuts have severely impacted the ability of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to carry out critical work to protect New Jersey’s environment and residents. This has serious implications for wildlife, public health and our economy. DEP is charged with managing and protecting the State’s environment and natural resources.

This ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Three Burglaries to Autos Reported

November 11, 2017

South Orange Police Blotter as of November 11

Theft - A Longview Rd resident reported that sometime between 1:00 and 2:30 am, Tuesday, November 7, actor(s) unknown stole all four emblem, center wheel caps off the tire rims of his vehicle (2014 Cadillac Escalade), while it was parked in his driveway.

Burglary to Autos - Two Cameron Rd residents reported that sometime ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Theft, Shoplifting, Disorderly Reported on Halloween Night

October 30 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours, an unsecured vehicle parked on Madison Ave was entered and a GPS unit and change were taken from it.

October 31 - Shoplifting; At approximately 7 p.m., four individuals wearing Halloween costumes and masks removed candy from the 7-11 on Irvington Ave and fled.

October 31 - Shoplifting/Disorderly; At approximately 7:30 ...

Maplewood Observes Veterans Day with Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11

November 13, 2017

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Veterans Day was observed and celebrated in the Maplewood Municipal Building on Saturday, November 11.

Music was provided for the observance by the Maplewood Concert Band under the direction of Steve Kimmons, Former Commander of the Eighth Air Force Band.

After the first musical number was played, Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca called the ceremony to order, and called ...

Seton Hall University Testing Emergency Siren on Tuesday, Nov. 14

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Seton Hall University (SHU) will conduct a live test of its emergency siren and PirateAlert systems this Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 11:55 a.m., according to a statement from SHU.

The siren is centrally located on the highest point on SHU campus, and will sound a wail tone that is followed by a recorded message with instructions to seek shelter.  A steady tone will sound ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, November 20

The GenWealth Group, Maplewood

Jersey Cares Coat Drive

Giving Back

Carousel_image_24dfebf016d155f25e1b_ryan_roa_postcard_front_lo_res

Mon, November 20, 10:30 AM

Seton Hall University, South Orange

Ryan Roa - It's Complicated

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, November 21

The GenWealth Group, Maplewood

Jersey Cares Coat Drive

Giving Back

Carousel_image_24dfebf016d155f25e1b_ryan_roa_postcard_front_lo_res

Tue, November 21, 10:30 AM

Seton Hall University, South Orange

Ryan Roa - It's Complicated

Arts & Entertainment

For Board of Education, Donna Smith stands out

November 6, 2017

In the crowded field of candidates for the BOE this fall, Donna Smith stands out. As a lawyer for decades, she is highly skilled as a reader, editor, and drafter of complex documents. As a leading school volunteer for the last twenty years, she knows as well as anybody the complex history and the complex present of our district. As a person gifted with a temperament that leads her to listen and ...

Letter of endorsement for Baker, Cuttle, and Baker

November 7th is an important day for the future of our community. Please take the time to come out and vote for all elected positions and questions. Your vote, which is your true voice, makes a difference. 

As parents of the South Orange Maplewood School District, we are delighted to express our personal support for Elizabeth Baker, Shannon Cuttle and Robin Baker for the South Orange ...

East Orange Man Found Dead After Shooting in New Brunswick

November 18, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - An East Orange man died Friday night after a shooting in New Brunswick, authorities announced November 18.

Tawan J. Moses, age 25 of East Orange, was found dead by authorities at 8:30 p.m. on Throop Avenue near Fester Park according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

Moses had multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the ...

Downtown Millburn Offers Free Parking for Holiday Season

MILLBURN, NJ - The free parking season kicked off this week in downtown Millburn and in lots around town. Beginning on Wednesday, November 15, the free parking will last through the holiday season. The suspension of parking fees in downtown have traditionally started on Black Friday, but shoppers will get extra time away from the meters to encourage the community to shop at local ...

Atlantic Health's Dr. Bernard Maria Recognized with Most Prestigious Child Neurology Honor

November 18, 2017

MORRISTOWN, NJ – Dr. Bernard Maria, director of the Division of Child Neurology and Developmental Medicine at Goryeb Children's Hospital, part of Atlantic Health System, has been recognized with the 2018 Hower Award, the highest recognition from the Child Neurology Society.

This prestigious award is given yearly to one member of the Child Neurology Society who is highly regarded by ...

Newark Men Behind Bars ​for Alleged Connection to New Brunswick Fatal Shooting

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A suspect arrested in connection with a fatal shooting of a New Brunswick man will remain behind bars for now, after the courts determined he was a public safety threat and flight risk​.​

The suspect, 26-year-old Newark resident Michael Martin, also known as “Maniac,” appeared ​in front of Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto on November 17 ...

Paterson's Great Falls National Park Celebrates Birthday

November 9, 2017

PATERSON, NJ - There’s Yosemite and Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Grand Teton, celebrations of beauty, centers of tourism. But, thanks to the work of so many that lived in and loved Paterson, the Silk City, since 2011, can boast of being the home to its very own national park. 

Calling the history of the falls, and the role the natural wonder has played in the development of ...

Unlicensed Chiropractor with South Orange Office Pleads Guilty In Fraud Ring that Bilked Nearly $4 Million from Insurance Carriers

November 19, 2017

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor announced that a former North Jersey chiropractor who was stripped of his license to practice more than a decade ago pleaded guilty on Wednesday in connection with a medical fraud ring that bilked nearly $4 million from numerous insurance carriers.

Philip Potacco, 65, of Kinnelon, pleaded guilty to money ...

Rafael Pharmaceuticals, in Collaboration with Atlantic Health System, Announces Initiation of a Phase I Study of CPI-613 in Combination with Gemcitabine and Nab-Paclitaxel for Patients with Locally Advanced or Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Rafael Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage company and leader in the field of cancer metabolism-based therapeutics, announced today, the initiation of a Phase I clinical trial of CPI-613 in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel, for patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. The study will be conducted in collaboration with Atlantic ...

Celebrate the Holidays with a Favorite Union County Tradition: the Annual Holiday Sound and Light Show

A favorite Union County tradition returns this year with the annual Holiday Sound and Light Show hosted by The Model Railroad Club.

The centerpiece of the festive extravaganza is the club’s sprawling, meticulously detailed HO scale model train layout at the A. Paul Mallery Model Railroad Center, conveniently located in a mixed-use area of Union County’s Lenape Park off Route 22 ...