Showing 426 - 450 of 693 comments
ggreg, I could not possibly agree with you more. For with regard to the Beach Theater the simple premise is this:
1) It is Cape May’s ONLY movie theater.
2) In keeping with what Cape May is best known for, it is historic in that it was designed by William Harold Lee, a protege of world renowned Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, and a world leader in movie theater design.
3) It contributes to the uplift and quality of life of the Cape May community in countless ways that a condominium parking lot (not to mention the proposed condominium itself) could not even begin to.
4) It has the capability of providing a significant cultural outlet in a seaside resort which is revered for culture.
5) It provides a significent boost for all other businesses right around it.
Can this same type of positive checklist be drawn up for that which some wish to replace this theater with and that positively outweighs it? If not, then that should resolve the dispute right there. It should be decided at this point that this theater is to remain standing, and a clearcut outline should be drawn up of how this theater is to be thereafter. A sample outline would be that it will be returned back to being a single-screen theater, and exhibit films that are in perfect keeping with Cape May community standards. And rather than being subjected to senseless debates as to what is “realistic,” “economically feasible” or what have you, the theater would be flexibly placed under the management of those who can readily achieve these easily attainable goals — that is, easily attainable WHEN it’s the right management. And by “flexibly” I mean that when existing management refuses to run the theater in this way it can be easily replaceable, the theater itself being the only thing of assured permanance.
So if new movie theaters are being designed this way, Howard, isn’t it of great advantage that the Boyd Theatre — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s last standing movie palace — is designed this way already? That is, without all the new construction costs that new theaters must encounter, you’re already there, home free as it were. And right in the middle of a major east coast city at that. Talk about your having it made in the shade if you just dare open your eyes to it!
Mr. Haas, as I have made clear to you many many times now, I am in NO position where I can afford to either volunteer or make generous donations towards saving the Boyd. I CAN, however, afford to invest in its restoration if you draw up an intelligent business plan for it which will allow me and others to see a good return on our investment. But you refuse to do this. Why?! Why?! Why?! For your way, keeping the Boyd as a charity, you win, we lose. And I say no to that, you can offer up better for us, Howard. But you refuse, and then you complain about the Boyd Theatre’s restoration effort being stalled — as though it’s MY fault rather than YOURS. And I say let’s not make that same blunder when it comes to saving Cape May’s Beach Theatre. You saved the Boyd from demolition, and for that I give you full credit. But for going on five years now you have FAILED to restore it — ALL because you INSIST on its being a CHARITY rather than a lucrative business proposition. And that’s your doing, Howard, not mine, okay? For I say get to work writing up the good business plan, and then we’ll talk.
Oh now Howard you don’t know that! By the way, for those of you reading this who don’t know who Mr. Haas is, he is the Chairman of the Friends of the Boyd — the Boyd Theatre being Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s last standing movie palace. Had it not been for Mr. Haas' gallant actions roughly five years ago (Mr. Haas being a leading Philadelphia attorney), the Boyd Theatre would’ve been torn down when it, too, faced the wrecking ball. So if he could save the Beach Theatre from demolition the same way he did the Boyd, that certainly would be wonderful!
Meantime, regarding what I stated, only time will tell on that. All of us know that soon after Atlantic City went the way of casinoization it cast a shadow over all of South Jersey, it being the only place around where people could go gambling on the east coast. But with casino gambling now to be coming to Pennsylvania, I do expect that to alleviate the gambling traffic in South Jersey somewhat, allowing it to heal a bit. Or at least I sure hope so. For it did appear — especially with the proposal to tear down the Beach Theatre, Cape May’s only movie theater, to replace it with a parking lot for an all new condominium there — was the ill-effects of Atlantic City’s casino industry monopoly reaching as far south as Cape May. For casino industry type traffic is such that it has little interest in or sympathy for things historic, the quality of the natural shore environment and so on. I know this firsthand, because I lived and worked in Ocean City (10 miles to Atlantic City’s south) between 1986 and 1987 when it became one of Atlantic City’s first casualties casino-traffic-wise. Prior to that, Ocean City, too, had been a South Jersey seaside resort rich in historic architecture. But given its too-closeness to Atlantic City, unlike Cape May, which was at a safer distance, it didn’t stand a chance. But with Atlantic City’s ongoing casino monopoly, it seems clear — to me, at least — that its destructiveness most recently was starting to overtake Cape May, much much farther to its south, as well. So it’s to say that Pennsylvania’s new casinos to come have arrived just in the nick of time. It’s likely not to be good for Pennsylvania, but I do think it might help South Jersey to heal somewhat. Howard Haas says no to this. But he doesn’t know that for sure. No one does. For only time will tell on this. That and that alone. And I just hope my theory is right, that’s all. For like Mr. Haas, I want to see the Beach Theatre survive the wrecking ball as well. Both of us are in unity with this.
On Wednesday, December 20, 2006, the official announcements will be made which casino applicants in Pennsylvania will be granted licenses, after which I expect Pennsylvania’s new casinos to come to be rushed up in a hurry. While clearly sad for Pennsylvania, I continue to hope it will bode well for South Jersey in that it will get to be down to earth and shorelike again as opposed to being so gambler traffic oriented. With Atlantic City having been the only place in the entire tri-state region where people could gamble at casinos up until now, all of South Jersey was forced to align with this traffic, so much so that the trend reached as far south as Cape May, no relief in sight. And it seems rather obvious that the plan to tear down the Beach Theatre plus its accompanying stores to provide a parking lot for new condominiums being proposed for there — fully out of sync with Cape May’s longstanding historical tradition — is but yet another continuation of that trend, albeit just at a time when I think South Jersey market conditions are about to change dramatically. For how much are these proposed Cape May condominiums geared towards a shore loving crowd as opposed to one that’s only casino-related? And will that market for such a new development still exist when Pennsylvania absorbs away much of the casino-going traffic? Right now little thought seems to be being given to that, while nonetheless neighboring Pennsylvania is about to be building casinos of its own soon. And I do believe much of South Jersey’s casino related traffic will be alleviated as a result of that, enabling Cape May to return to catering to those it did previously. And certainly the Beach Theatre, if it gets saved and restored properly, will be in perfect alignment with that. The proposed condominiums, on the other hand, I could foresee becoming none other than a big boondoggle. My theory at least. So in looking ahead based on that, I think the Beach Theatre should be spared the wrecking ball and the condominium proposal scrapped.
So what’s the latest verdict on this theater? How did things go on Monday, December 11, 2006 when rulings on its future fate were made? Hopefully it’s a case of no news is good news…
While New Jersey’s neighboring Pennsylvania is about to be pummeled with gambling casinos soon — certainly a great tragedy for Pennsylvania — I’m greatly hoping the diverting of gambling traffic that will cause will enable South Jersey to come back in positive ways it hasn’t gotten to in years! If what I’m hoping for is true, the Pittman Broadway Theatre looks perfectly positioned for this, while it’s hoped the Beach Theatre in Cape May will survive to see that glorious event as well! And I assume I’m not the only one on this page who feels that way.
This article appeared in the Northeast Times for December 13, 2006 regarding the latest with this theater:
Theaterâ€™s future has
East Frankford a bit jumpy
By Diane Villano
Times Staff Writer
Concerns about the old Art Holiday theater, at 4204 Kensington Ave., becoming a strip club topped the agenda of last weekâ€™s East Frankford Civic Association meeting.
About two dozen people who attended the session in a Frankford Hospital conference room agreed to sign petitions to block any attempt for a zoning variance to make it happen.
Liz McCollom-Nazaria, a representative for newly elected 7th district City Councilman Dan Savage, said she intercepted a phone call from a Realtor looking for support from the councilman for such a variance.
She told the caller that she didnâ€™t believe the councilman would give support to the change, and that the civic association also would oppose it.
Peggy Hoch, president of the civic group, had not been contacted by any representatives looking to purchase the building and change its zoning, which would require a letter of support from the neighborhood organization.
Mitchell Lichtenstein, an agent with Devon-based John Matthew Realtors Inc. GMAC Real Estate, confirmed on Tuesday that the property is for sale for $324,900 but said that a live adult entertainment venue “wasnâ€™t going to happen.” In fact, he said, a church group has looked at the property.
The Art Holiday was built in the 1920s as a silent-movie theater. Today, it shows X-rated films. Debbie Klak, president of the Frankford Historical Society, said the site marks the spot where the first July 4 celebrations took place in the country. It also housed a location where Thomas Jefferson read over the Declaration of Independence, she said.
© Northeast Times 2006
These comments you’ve posted just prove my point, that it was very unfortunate that the DuPage was built where it was.
For Dupe Follower, here’s what you say, and I repeat your statement verbatim: “Given that it has sat boarded up for nearly 10 years it was time for it to go as all attempts to restore had failed as there simply was not enough interest, support, and most importantly money to bring back the stars.”
For truthfully, in an area where people are not culturally depraved that would not have been the case.
Now just to follow up on what corvetteguy1963 advised, I accept the fact that the majority of citizens of Lombard are culturally depraved. I don’t like it, but I do recognize it as the reality. But why are people of Lombard who are so culturally depraved in such denial about what they really are? For it’s there where acceptance isn’t happening, but where the acceptance is actually needed. For I’m accepting the truth as you can see, they aren’t. In any event I thank you for reassuring me that I didn’t go too far in what I said of the citizens of Lombard, in your reinforcing what I stated with your own commentary. For here’s another thing you said: You said that even the owner of several other classic old cinemas in the Chicago area passed on saving the DuPage as it was in such a state of disrepair. But I would suggest that it was the citizenry of Lombard who were in such a state of disrepair, not the DuPage itself. Again, location, location, location. The excellent DuPage had the bad misfortune of being in the wrong location, a true pearls before swine kind of thing if ever there was one.
Yes, I absolutely agree it should be on a sliding scale. But then I feel that way, of course, regarding all taxation. And residential property taxes I’m against completely, since no cashflow is being generated in that case.
As for theaters, when they make money they should be taxed as businesses accordingly, and in direct proportion to the cashflow they generate. But if they don’t generate cashflow but are an enhancing part of the community nevertheless, helping uplift area businesses and so on, then they should be treated as nonprofits and granted tax exemption accordingly.
A movie theater’s having more seats is no guarantee that more people will attend movies at that theater accordingly. I equate such thinking to the fallacy of Say’s Law, the classic economic belief that demand will always rise to meet supply. And it’s the movies themselves that determine such demand. For if the movies themselves are not a powerful draw, an increased amount of seating won’t contribute to increased attendance. Other factors that have to be taken into account, the pleasantness of the commute between home and the theater, what the majority of people can afford, the parking situation they’ll encounter when they arrive to the theater by car, and how respectfully they are treated when entering the theater. All told it is very much a balancing act when establishing what is the right level of seating. Balancing between the number of seats and those other factors. Also, there are movies that can draw a sizeable number of people for a single day, but not everyday. For that single day you want to make sure you have enough seats, but for the other days having too many seats can indeed appear to be a major drawback. So the idea is to have a lot of seats for the single day exhibition while ruling out running the movie palace daily. And maybe that’s possible, maybe it isn’t, it all comes down to how everything can be balanced out.
As the old mantra goes, “Location, location, location.” Location is everything. And when it cames to the DuPage’s location it appears it suffered the two extremes. One extreme was that it was designed by Rapp & Rapp, which, arguably is the greatest movie theater architectural firm there ever was. And any theater designed by them is comparable to a painting having been done by Da Vinci or someone. But the other extreme was that it was located in an area — Lombard, Illinois — where the citizenry are so culturally depraved that none of that registered. I could readily see them balking at $40 million to restore a poorly designed theater with no particular historic significance. But when it’s a Rapp & Rapp theater? Quite seriously, don’t they understand what they have? Are they that far down on the evolutionary scale? And add to that this wasn’t merely a movie theater in Lombard’s case, but a palace. But alas, location, location, location. As in, had Einstien stayed in Germany he would never have survived to achieve his greatest work. By bad luck of the draw, the DuPage was located in the worst possible place. And the tyranny of the majority there prevailed. And corvetteguy1963, that much I accept, that ignorance does prevail over sanity at times. But if you’re asking us to accept that as “right and proper,” don’t hold your breath. What I accept is the TRUTH that the majority of the Lombard citizenry didn’t know what they had, just as I couldn’t expect moths to know the true value of the original Rembrandt they ate holes through.
In Chicago’s case it helps considerably that it’s not a dead wheel city and hasn’t been written off as such by the rest of the U.S. (as well as itself) the way Philadelphia has. At the same time, in Chicago’s case I am quite amazed that it can have such a thing as an “amusement tax” yet the theaters you cite still do well! Particularly in its being “high” as you say. Not that I think such a tax is a good idea. Rather, it sounds as if despite the city of Chicago’s efforts to cripple its theaters with such a high tax — causing the Three Penny Cinema to fold as you say — the enthusiasm among the everyday citizenry towards movie attendance there is so great that it makes no difference. Meantime, I hope the money Chicago collects from this tax is used in a way that benefits the theaters equal to or beyond what they’re forced to pay.
As for how critical parking lots are to a theater’s success, if getting to and coming from the theater other than by car is a pleasant experience, and the theater itself is run very well, lack of parking should not be a problem. On the other hand, if the theater itself is run very well, but it’s either very remote to get to, or located in an unpleasant community, then its having adequate parking is obviously very needed. But ultimately there has to be an enthusiastic theater going public for any theater to be successful. Chicago appears to clearly have that. And in my gut I think Philadelphia does, too. But in our case our leaders have succeeded in knocking all the theaters down and keeping them down despite what the actual market is.
Apparently you’re not real up on how things are in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area are right now, Ms. Barlow, but right now if anything positive survives, in nearly all cases it is totally and purely by default. Jean-Paul Sartre once said something to the effect of “Hell is not a place; hell is other people,” and that very much sums up the Philadelphia/South Jersey area right now. Your thinking is rational and progressive and I commend you for it. And if there were a sizeable number of people who thought like you do in this region right now, there would be no such thing as anyone giving thought to razing Cape May’s Beach Theatre. But the fact that there is talk of tearing it down should be total confirmation that everything I’m telling you now is 100% true. As for the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, through pure happenstance it is still standing, the last of many movie palaces that once adorned Philadelphia. But you can’t go to see movies there right now, and it’s totally unknown when and if you ever can again.
I guess you’re not real up on the very negative impact legalized gambling had all throughout South Jersey over the past 26 years. For it turned all rational thinking totally upside down. That is, it enabled those who think totally irractionally to get a total edge up on everyone else. You should see how Ocean City, just 10 miles south of Atlantic City, was totally destroyed by it. Before Atlantic City’s gambling, Ocean City was the top seaside resort to go to in all South Jersey. Cape May totally paled in comparison. But then, simply due to default — the fact that Cape May was much farther south from Atlantic City — it got hit nowhere near as badly as Ocean City did, which, in turn, made Cape May the best South Jersey seaside resort to still go to. But please note, purely by default rather than any sort of intelligent deliberation. For in terms of the majority and the current leadership, there’s not that type of demographic in the area right now. Unfortunately.
I so agree, good urban planning is key to everything. But here in Philadelphia, if those with good urban planning skills are not within the ranks of the privileged, good urban planning gets tossed in the waste basket as if having no value whatsoever. Right now, Philadelphia, unlike New York City, Ssn Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and so on is what can be described as a “dead wheel city.” That is, the rest of the U.S. has concluded it can get by fine without it, and so far it has. This, in turn, allows the incompetents who now head it up to continue on in positions of high rank unchallenged. And Philadelphia’s lack of good urban planning skills is really about to be put to the test when two sizeable gambling casinos rise up here, several medical institutions dramatically expand and several new and very sizeable condo complexes get built. Here in Philadelphia at the present moment there’s absolutely no concept of making sure the needed infrastructure is in place first — meaning that many street layouts that have been in place and relatively unchanged since colonial times are about to be strained big time. This will mean Philadelphia will go from being “dead wheel city” to “boondoggle city.” It should be quite hilarious when seen from a distance, but not so funny if you’re trying to live or run a business here — particularly if it’s not a casino, runaway medical institution or gigantic condo. And why there are so very few movie theaters in Philly right now.
“Accept it” in exchange for what exactly, Corvetteguy1963? For if there was some sort of a worthwhile trade-off here I could readily see your point. But there isn’t any. Those who buy condos are DULL, just as are the condos themselves. And you say “accept it”? Why? Since when did such emptiness become entitled to such priority? For I say we need a major rule change here, a real “coming to” kind of thing. Right now the condo set is getting its way while the general outlook among them is, “Who cares what becomes of those who aren’t part of our group?” But hey, couldn’t that just as easily turned around, those of us with some actual depth saying, “Okay, our turn now, folks, you had your long dull run”?
For let me put it this way to you: Beautiful historic old movie theater torn down for new condos = BORING! New condo proposal scrapped to save beautiful old movie theater = FANTASTIC! America back to being a great country again! And the truth of that, that’s all I except. The other, what you’re advocating, is boring.
Here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I reside I wouldn’t so much say that people are in love with their cars as it’s just that poorly planned and haphazard urban development makes Philadelphia’s streets not the most pedestrian friendly, while our mass transit system here goes to two extremes that make people prefer to use their cars instead. At the one extreme, behavior on regular buses and subway/elevated trains is so packed and unruly that it’s just totally humiliation. And at the other extreme — the commuter train lines — if you have one single hair out of place, look the slightest bit tired, and aren’t dressed like it’s a NY fashion show, the conductors treat you like you’re some sort of a homeless person. As in, so much for paying considerably extra to more decently travel from here to there. The best way around it? Get a car. The huge downside to that though is how it’s driving so much of Philadelphia straight into the ground — urban-planning wise, pedestrian-wise, air-quality wise and so on. And of course the expense of it! The price of cars, repairs, auto insurance and of course gasoline itself! And the political leadership of Philadelphia is such that it seems to think it can somehow turn itself around for the better while conserving the existing status quo at the same time. It needs all new and truly progressive leadership plus a much better quality electorate to vote such in. Right now it has neither. And, incidentally, it has just a scant few movie theaters to speak of these days, and not a one which is especially impressive.
If Cape May is far enough away from Atlantic City’s corrupt influence — which has been omnipresent ever since gambling was made legal there — I would say the Beach Theatre has a good chance of being spared the wrecking ball. Frank Family Management, meantime, which obviously greatly downgraded the Beach Theatre by making it a multiplex, seems to have some sort of a weird symbiotic relationship with the gambling industry in general. They’re starting to move on Pennsylvania now, for instance, which is about to have casinos. Coincidence? I don’t think so. And as gambling now overtakes Pennsylvania and hopefully will draw some gambling related traffic away from NJ, maybe Cape May can look forward to being one of the first New Jersey seaside resorts to recover from Atlantic City’s ill effects. So with that said, and hoping that is the case, hats off to all efforts to try to save the Beach Theatre!
This just in: The Devon Live Performing Arts Theatre will have its grand opening on Saturday, September 20, 2341 from noon till 6pm! There will be a Philly string band performing and free refreshments for everyone! So mark it on your calendars, folks!
And has its grimy, slimy paws in everything else, too, I would imagine. Talk about creepy!
Howard, the design of the Devon Theatre, at least exterior-wise, was never particularly exciting. In fact, given how dull its exterior design is is why for so many years it could pull off being an adult movie house so close to residential areas with little to no public outcry. Back when I was in high school in the late ‘60s it was an adult theater that was simply where it was with a very high degree of invisibility. Had it been the Mayfair Theatre, the Merben or even the Orleans, no way could it have pulled off having such invisibility. Meaning, I think its most exciting era is still ahead of it — and, of course, no one has photos of that just yet. Those currently restoring it, though, might have renderings projecting how it should look when it’s fully restored — PA House Speaker John Perzel and so on. So why not check with them to see if they have any renderings they’d like to make public? For with Perzel’s recent reelection I would think the full completion of restoring this theater now holds top priority. (Or at least I would hope so, given the long length of time the voting public has been kept on hold awaiting its grand reopening, this time around to be a live entertainment venue.)
Oops! Quick correction: I meant to say “caste system,” not “chaste system”! Chaste system was back in the late ‘60s when the Orleans showed “I Am Curious Yellow,” and a whole bunch of heavyset NE Philly housewives turned out to protest, one angry NE housewife’s sign reading: “I Am Furious Red”…
Movie theaters seem to arrive at their best level when they’re run as offshoots of something else rather than as stand-alone operations — as in corporations building beautiful theaters to give their employees a nice place to spend their money and time when they’re not working. Stand-alone theaters don’t have that advantage of corporate subsidization. As such, standing alone, they either have to be run as a cold hard business or as a charity, and neither makes for the best movie theater going experience. When you go to a theater you want it to be elegant and beautiful on the one hand, but you don’t want to have to spend a fortune on the other. You want it to be proportionate to what you can easily afford. The Ambler Theatre, however, is quite removed from that, while it would be interesting to learn what subsidized it at one time and whatever became of that. Today money being spent is money that was made in the past, at least in Ambler’s case. So given that I wouldn’t especially say it’s poised for anything. It could be if something were to rise up there to subsidize it. But there isn’t anything such as that on the horizon so far as I know. So it’s stand-alone through and through, and on a life’s blood that’s waning rather than waxing.
My too fondly remembering the Orleans when it was all new and single-screen and part of the Roosevelt Mall complex when it, too, was all new, it would be too surreally disturbing an experience for me to set foot in that theater today, now a chopped up multiplex, as from my perspective — in part instilled by the Orleans in a different era — life is meant to go forward and up, not back. And boy, did the architectural design of the Orleans Theatre NOT stand the test of time with regards to that! Some things of old when you see them again they strike a note of nostalgia. But the Orleans is such that when you see it again it strikes a note of disappointment. When you see it again you think, man, why can’t it be anything like it was in memories? That is, for those remembering it as a “once great theater,” it is far better not seeing it at all as it really is — and was — if that’s the case. But rather, to use those memories to build an all new theater that matches what you think the Orleans had once been.
However, to say it “won’t be missed by many” is to say we’ve adopted a chaste system in this country, something we didn’t have before. It’s kind of analogous to Yogi Berra’s saying, “Nobody comes out to baseball games anymore because they’re too crowded.” For the fact is that the AMC Orleans 8 of today, and far moreso than ever, draws huge audiences. That’s precisely why these days it looks so constantly rundown. That rundown appearance you see is not the look of abandonment but over-love.
To be sure, if the Orleans ever goes the way of the wrecking ball it won’t be missed by those whose concept of life is to go forward and up. But to the raging masses whose outlook in life is “yeah, yeah, yeah, we don’t care about any of that,” it will be missed plenty, in “Sullivan’s Travels”-like fashion.
Going by how the legalized gambling is taking shape in Pennsylvania, particularly with Governor Ed Rendell’s 2006 re-election and with a whopper of a terrible casino to be rising up in Gettysburg soon as a result despite all the outcry, you’ll be getting to see Gettysburg while it’s still a worthwhile and meaningful place to visit. So by all means savor it for all it’s worth.