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Ramsey Cinema Closed, Future Unknown

Several factors contributed to the owner's decision to sell the Main Street theater, former employees say.

The Ramsey Cinema clock. Credit: Lindsey Bartley.
The Ramsey Cinema clock. Credit: Lindsey Bartley.

The future of a Ramsey Main Street staple is unknown.

This Monday, the Ramsey Cinema on East Main Street closed its doors for what may be the last time.

According to the theater’s former manager Lindsey Bartley, several reasons contributed to owner Peter Vivian’s decision to sell the property.

Vivian, “had owned the cinema since the early 1980's and is on his way to retiring,” Bartley said. “The rising cost of supplies [was a] contributing factor to his decision. When someone expressed interest in buying the building, he felt that it was the right time for him.”

Bartley also said the cost of the impending digital conversion, which will require all movie theaters to convert their systems to a digital platform by the end of the year, contributed to the decision to close.

“I do not know the future plans for the cinema,” Bartley said. “As far as I know, the new owner has not decided yet what she wants to do with the space. There is still a possibility it could be reopened as a theater, but it could also be turned into something else.”

Vivian did not respond to a call for comment on his decision to sell, or any information about what the future of the theater may hold.

Local residents, movie theater patrons, and the former staff of the theater say they hope to see the theater stay in Ramsey, where reports say it has been since at least the 1920’s.

“I am honestly heartbroken that we have closed,” Bartley, who has been working there for 11 years, said. “The cinema has been a special place to so many people over the years. While we have never been the fanciest or most technologically-advanced theater, we have always tried to maintain a friendly atmosphere and affordable prices. We were a part of the community and I think we represented the idea of downtown Ramsey." 

Bartley also thanked the community for its support of the theater over the years, and asked that people remember to frequent local theaters.

“Every kid who grew up in Bergen County has visited it at least once during their childhood. I hope that future generations will be able to experience the small town theater,” she said. “It would be a shame if the only option to see a movie was going to a mall.” 

Lindsey Bartley September 02, 2013 at 03:55 PM
The Lafayette is a beautiful theater and it is so wonderful that the town has worked so hard to keep it alive. I love the classic movies and the Horror-thons the best, personally. I would just like to remind everyone that if they want to continue having small local theaters, please support them by visiting their concession stands!
Phil Tisi September 03, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Lindsay appreciate your kind works and dedication to keeping downtown theaters open....thanks. Phil
Phil Tisi September 05, 2013 at 08:36 AM
Historic lafayette theater thanks our military on September 12 All members of the armed forces past and present, and their immediate families admitted FREE to our showing of the Butler , starting at 730... Please spread the word...
Lindsey Bartley October 01, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Here is a link to the kickstarter page to pledge money to save the cinema! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ramseytheatre/bring-back-a-beautiful-new-and-digital-ramsey-thea

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