Movie theaters are windows to the past. They are relics of a time when social life was a public occurrence. When local movie theaters acted as social meeting spaces. But the way we consume movies has changed since the "good old days." This discrepancy is obvious to me as I write this in a former community cinema (now a cafe). The building's once great stature is evident from the intricate carvings on the exterior. Now we occupy the interior with our laptops and our solitude.
Recently, the New York Times did a piece on access to movie theaters in the Bronx (or lack thereof). The piece contrasts the number of theaters in the Bronx with other urban areas that have equally large populations. The Bronx is outclassed in terms of working theaters by an average of 9 theaters per city that was compared. When you look at the number of screens, the other cities have on average 100 more than the Bronx. This is obviously a glaring discrepancy. I suspect that economics plays a crucial part in this. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Bronx's per capita income is 15% lower on average when viewed side-by-side with the other urban areas from the article.
I realize that technology is, by definition, always in a state of advancement. I don't intend to sound like an old codger ranting about net flicks and yoo hoo tube. But the truth is that there aren't as many movie theaters and there isn't as much social interaction nowadays. Some of the Bronx residents had similar insights into the disappearance of their movie theaters. They explained that these disappearing cinemas offered not only "entertainment, but also a sense of community." The negative effects of disappearing cinemas are felt most by older citizens and working families. Their lack of disposable income makes it hard to travel outside of their neighborhoods to areas with operating movie theaters.
There is no need for hopelessness however. In the Bronx and other areas like it across America, there is resistance to the closing of these important entertainment/social hubs. Bronx citizens have started petitions and met with entrepreneurs in hopes to spark new interest in restoring the closed movie theaters. Isn't it ironic that the fact that these social gathering spaces are disappearing is providing a makeshift space for people to gather toward a common goal? And there are hundreds if not thousands of movie theaters that have stayed afloat against all odds. Some have stayed afloat by showing mostly classic films, while some have made a go at updating their projection equipment.
Here's a proposition for the younger readers: I promise not to belittle your Vine or your Youtube or your Skype if you promise that you'll get yourself to the movie theater a few times a year. Deal?
Manage Your Items