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Wed, Jan 16, 2013

Business, Community, Entertainment

Newark’s Dirty Little Secret

BY Isaam Sharef

Newark’s Dirty Little Secret

As a resident of Newark,  NJ,  I’ve always walked by this theater and wondered, “HMMmmm,  WHAT IS THIS?”  Now it was time to do the unthinkable! Go where no man, that I know, has gone before…  Taking a walk into Newark’s Dirty Little Secret: THE LITTLE THEATRE.

To my surprise this theater is still up and running. It is open everyday  from 10am to 10pm and I was even informed that the best time to go was on the weekends. The weekends are especially crowded by “movie enthusiasts”…  I decided that the weekend was when I needed to go.

Before I stepped into the LT  to purchase my ticket, I paved the sidewalk a bit, nervous someone would see me walk in. Random men (I did not see one woman) walked out and in. The faces were all the same. Picture this: A bank robber before he makes the big bust, but this was a very different type of bust. The Little Theatre was known to have formerly showed art and foreign films until the mid 70′s, and was now operating as Newark’s premiere adult movie venue.

While the main screen is showing “straight” XXX,  the majority of the clientele are men (seeking men). I had been informed prior, that the viewers who visit this theater  have other “activities” in mind.  That being said I made my way into this seedy theater on pins and needles. I paid my 10 dollar entrance fee and proceeded with caution. I felt as if I was being gazed at with lust; Was it possible I was considered fresh meat?!? It has been said that home video viewing is taking the place of the theater-going experience. However, for the “regulars” who frequent places like this, they are obviously no substitute for the real thing.

The film playing was titled,  ”DON’T TELL MY WIFE” and I trusted that no one would. So here it is, your inside look at the biggest secret in Newark. The venue consists of one theater and two lounges. The second floor lounge has “alternative lifestyle” movies showing.  Each theater shows three different movies a day. You can trust the fact that the adult films that are playing is not the draw for the men who frequent this establishment. The walls whispered soft moans, grunts, screams of pleasure and the whistles seek invitation. The sticky floors and worn seats welcomed me and made sure that my feet stay planted to the ground. I watched the film, as most of the men who were present watched as well; waiting anxiously for the other to make the first move. While I can’t say that I participated in any of the activities beyond viewing the film, I will say I witnessed loads of LIVE action!

The Little Theatre is one of the few ~Adult Movie Theaters~ still left in New Jersey. Others that survived into the 90s’ have closed in the last few years or are on the verge of closing. So enter at your own risk and enjoy!

*Located at the lower end of Broad Street, near the Newark Public Library.
562 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 623-5177

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28 Responses to “Newark’s Dirty Little Secret”

  1. Jessica Says:

    There’s also the Cameo Theater a few blocks further North on Broad, across from the stadium. Personally, I think it’s a shame these places are still open – dark spots in what would otherwise be one of the nicer sections of Newark. I often feel unsafe walking in this area after dark, and these theaters are a part of the reason.

    Reply

  2. Linda Says:

    I think the theater would actually be more successful if it switched back to art/foreign films. With the current student and artist population that probably would great. I hike to NY to see a decent indie flick. It would be great to see that activated in Newark. They would of course have to scrub those “sticky” floors. Ewwww

    BTW- I like the first-hand view… Creepy, but accurate.

    Reply

  3. Jayne Says:

    The cameo is no longer

    Reply

  4. Dinean Says:

    Kudos to Issam for venturing in to this establish! It’s part of the fabric of Newark love it or hate it.

    Reply

    • Leon De Vose, II Says:

      I could be long-winded on this, but I will not.

      Dinean, I have to disagree with your characterization of the Little Theater.

      Once upon a time, maybe it was a place to remember with pride, but during my years of nascence and nurture in this city (which is the city of my nativity as well), nobody ever mentioned this theater as the place for artistic or entertainment consumption. We always used it as a jocular accusation of seeing a person or their mother going in there.

      This is why I was shocked to see that it is prominently featured as a Newark landmark in the newly opened Applebee’s restaurant. Why is such a place prominently featured given its genre and clientele of the past at least four decades? Is the same thing done in other towns where Applebee’s is located?

      Reply

  5. Charles Says:

    Wow!! I have no idea. You learn something new everyday. I used to pass that area awhile back but had no idea it was that kind of theater. Thanks Issam for the info on that. Very Interesting!!! Whether you like it or not it’s a part of the history of Newark.

    Reply

  6. Donny Says:

    It should be shut down and hopefully soon.
    Not what the city needs, especially in downtown.

    How many health code violations are committed in this dump?

    Reply

  7. Suzanne Says:

    When we would visit Newark regularly, we’d opt to walk from Penn Station to nearby Riverfront Stadium. Often that walk was on Broad Street which is dramatically different on a Sunday than let’s say a Monday. Having said that, I had to explain to a then immature 16 year old boy why we could not see a movie there and nor that we would ever in the future. It should be noted I have since moved to NJ and walked around there a lot more, but never did I see people going in or exiting the theater.

    Reply

  8. Krackers Says:

    Wow! I wouldn’t go in there unless I was dressed like an asbestos remediator! Kudos Asaam! I hope it stays there forever, I hate to see DT Newark getting all yupped up

    Reply

  9. ISAAM Says:

    HEY GUYS…I AM LOVING THE RESPONSES TO THIS POST…IT WAS DEF AN EXPERIENCE THAT MY CURIOSITY NEEDED TO FULLFILL…LUCKILY FOR ME THERE ARE TONS OF LITTLE SECRETS IN NEWARK…..SOME AMAZING AND SOME JUST PLAIN OLE RATCHET…KEEP CHECKING OUT GLOCALLYNEWARK.COM FOR MY POSTINGS…AND THANKS AGAIN!

    Reply

    • Vinsanity Says:

      thats crazy as hell I always wanted to go in there guess i wont be anymore

      Reply

    • Ricardo Says:

      ISAAM,

      I need to know the plain ole ratchet places to go to…I just moved to the Newark area (East NEwark/Harrison to be exact) and I am looking for some places like this to go…I am a black male 30ish from Harlem…where do you suggest?

      Reply

    • jerry Says:

      you said there were only a few adult theaters left in nj…could you let me know the others…

      Reply

  10. Larry Lyons Says:

    Investigative journalism at its best. I applaud you for your bravery and thank you for sharing your insights with those of us whose pride won’t allow us to venture to spots like this one.

    Years ago, I suggested to the group responsible for planning Newark’s annual gay pride celebration that the Little Theatre should be incorporated somehow into the planning. When met with repulsed objections (they were quite familiar with its unseemly reputation), I reminded them that all of the queer community’s major victories had been forged in dive bars and places of ill repute just like the LT. But they were interested in a more… sanitized pride celebration.

    I actually live walking distance from the theatre and I have to agree with Linda that devoting a little screen time to some independent films would be a great addition. The growing community of artists could certainly benefit from such an arrangement, and being as hip and unorthodox as we are, I doubt that we’d be deterred by the theatre’s reputation. The development plans/gentifrication that the area is currnetly undergoing will be displacing a lot of folks, and I do hope the LT will give serious consideration to diversifying its programming (and, perhaps, cleaning the floors!) in order to stay relevant.

    Reply

  11. Millie P. Says:

    Great artice Isaam..always wondered about the theater and heard so many stories and would never dare to enter, so thanks for the article it definitely a dirty little secret…

    Reply

  12. AllMiXedUp Says:

    In regards to those that think the theater should go… I have mixed feelings on this. It is the quirky that makes downtown so unique. The flip between our 100+ yr. Museum and dive bars like Millers on Washington. Obviously the last 5 years of development have brought many families to this town to partake in activities. So What! Every town has a strip club or adult novelty/video store. Its only a matter of time before these hole in the walls are all shut down. Did I hear that Prudential bought out half of Halsey? Goodbye to the local entrepreneur that was able to open a boutique bc of the accessibility of space. Soon organizations and local artists that have been gifted space will lose it because someone can pay top $$$… Its only a matter of time before it is shutdown and we will be dining at Joe’s Crab Shack lol. In the meantime- I think its great that we have the Little Theatre. When it closes that will end an era. But I also am pumped about the Devils season starting back up-

    Reply

  13. Terrence Says:

    This was great of u bro!! That place is horrible

    Reply

  14. Noelle Says:

    Great piece! I visited this place and yes, I agree it is not welcoming for women, most porn theatres aren’t – sexism and male supremacy is de rigeur as it is in most places dealing with sex autonomy in the United States.

    With regard to indie films in Newark – It would be great for folks to check out FILMIDEO – Index Arts yearly indie, short and alternative films. index is a small gallery above Aljira. Also the new Citiplex on Springfield avenue shows mainly blockbusters – but ALSO indie films including Ava Duvernay, Spike Lee and other recent ones.

    Reply

  15. blessed jackson Says:

    I live like 2-3 blocks away and never knew that this was a “smut” theater. Now when I walk home I will pay closer to attention to who comes in and out of the theater.

    Reply

  16. Ryan N. Says:

    I’d never go, but I like the little quirks of Newark. I don’t think you should feel at all unsafe around those places — at least someone is there on the street with you if you should see someone coming out. I’d be more concerned being totally alone on the street.

    Reply

  17. jav Says:

    Woah this weblog is magnificent i love studying your articles. Stay up the good paintings! You realize, lots of people are searching around for this info, you can help them greatly.

    Reply

  18. stan_in_usa Says:

    Is it me, or have adult films changed? Seems when I used to frequent the Montauk in Passaic, Nj, the films seemed to have a raw edge to them. Now they are too Hollywood-ish.

    Reply

  19. john Says:

    What’s the big deal. Most states have adult pornographic theatres. The true filth of Newark is over on Market street where all the drug sellers hang out and no one bats an eyelash

    Reply

  20. Kahleef Says:

    I always go here its a place for bug chasers if u dont like stds dont go…

    Reply

  21. Seth Says:

    Great article—and additionally good, as there was no real “value-judgment” against the flicks—and especially against the clientele ..

    Not everyone in the Gay “community” is looking to get married…or uses Grindr, or other social-media sources , to connect…some STILL prefer to do it “the old-fashioned” way…!

    THANKS AGAIN…!

    Reply

  22. Lisa Says:

    OMG… a porn place?? I am 55 yrs old; decades ago, during my Girl Scout years, we used to venture into this [at least what used to be an] adorable theater to see live shows….OMG last time I “visited” was prior to 1970, when I saw a live show of Pinocchio!! To hear it’s a porn place is very sad; was a great place FOR CHILDREN prior to 1970.

    Reply

    • Lisa Says:

      OK, now that I’ve calmed down a bit from the shock of hearing a child’s theater had turned into a hot porn site, I can now thank the author of this article of how well it was written, and I want to thank you very much for this article; every time I pass this theater [on the 76bus], I’ve often stated how much I’d like to go to the Lil Theater; now that I know how it’s changed, I’ll keep my memories safe..and won’t go there, unless, of course, it starts showing other kinds of movies; thanks again for the insight.. and kudos to you for visiting the theater, and for the great [as well as un-opinionated] article!!

      Reply


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