Bergen Airdome, Jersey City, New Jersey

Continuing our summer series of airdomes with the Bergen in Jersey City.


Excerpts from Moving Picture World, October 15, 1910:


“It remained for the Bergen Airdome of Jersey City to demonstrate the practicability  of a canvas covering for large open air theaters.”

“All during the Summer, when other airdomes in the city were closed on rainy nights, the Bergen Airdome was doing a land office business under the canopy. It cost them $500 to have the canopy made and erected. The places seats 1,600, total capacity with standing room filled, 2, 300. With a ten-cent admission giving two shows a night it can be readily figured that the place would average at least $300 a night in receipts if the business was good, which it always has been at this establishment.”

“There is a certain bigness to it as one steps into this canvas auditorium which is rather impressive.  It certainly is wonderfully effective as a sound carrier. When the canopy is spread every word on the stage is heard as plainly as in any well-built theater. Another feature of the canvas canopy, now that cold weather is coming on, is the warmth of it. While the other airdomes have all closed for the season, the Bergen Airdome people have added a canvas side wall to the canopy and expect to continue at least six weeks without any discomfort to their audiences, so far as cold weather is concerned.”

“By offering nothing but the very best it soon became worded about that the Bergen Airdome was leaving all the other open-air shows far behind. The talent procured ran into considerable money, it was always worth seeing and never descended to the cheap fill-in act. The pictures were the very best that could be procured. Under these conditions it is not very difficult to understand why the Bergen airdome has been such a success.”

“The Clinton Amusement company is a corporation and the stockholders are so much encouraged by this year’s success that it is their attention to open two or more new airdomes in some of the surrounding towns next season.”

According to Variety, August 23, 1912,  the Bergen Airdome was located at Bergen and Virgina Avenues in Jersey City.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is currently available for theatre talks and walks.


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