Asbury Park closes Paramount Theater, Ballroom Convention Hall


I was very sad to hear that the iconic The Paramount theater in Asbury Park was closed, as was the Convention Hall. Asbury Park City has issued a safety warning to Madison Marquette, who developed Asbury Park’s historic boardwalk.

Sunrise over Convention Hall in Asbury Park (Bud McCormick)

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Like most businesses here in New Jersey, the COVID-19 pandemic has closed all entertainment, restaurants, and retail businesses along the Asbury Park boardwalk and neighboring venues. Madison Marquette held the account for this loss.

With the ease of the pandemic and more people enjoying live music in theaters and entertainment venues, the projected revenues would have mitigated the blow of a brutal year and a half with little to no income.

Asbury Park Fun House (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Personally, I thought the development Madison Marquette built was the main reason Asbury Park rose and became a thriving entertainment destination again.

The Paramount Theater opened in July 1930 and was hit by Hurricane Sandy, remains of many strong tropical storms, and the latest remains of Ida.

The 90-year-old building was rated unsafe for human occupancy by Madison Marquette after the City of Asbury Park issued them a safety concern. The Convention Hall is also considered unsafe, but the main arcade and all of the shops in the arcade are secure and will remain open.

Photo by Chris Eannucci – Townsquare Media

I was looking forward to going back to Paramount as it was the main venue for the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival, which usually takes place in the spring, and which after an absence from COVID-19 was now taking shape for another standout event. They originally had a killer lineup of top-notch acts, including Melissa Etheridge.

The festival was postponed from last spring to this year, then into fall and finally canceled due to concerns about further cancellations due to COVID-19.

through the Asbury Park Music Foundation

The festival, an Asbury Park Music Foundation non-profit donor, could not take the risk of paying non-refundable deposits to the premium acts in the event of cancellation.

Some of the Paramount Theater’s planned acts have moved to the Count Basie Theater on Red Bank.

The historic Stone Pony and the smaller Wonder Bar, as well as other smaller venues in Asbury Park, remain open, but nothing compares to the revenue the 1,600-seat Paramount Theater would generate.

There is no official word on when or if the required repairs will be completed. Hope to see it soon: Asbury Park and New Jersey need this venue. Much luck!

The above post echoes the thoughts and observations of Big Joe Henry, the host of 101.5 weekend in New Jersey. All opinions expressed are those of Big Joe.

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