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Union Station Movie Theaters To Close

Buried in a congressional hearing about the hard time that Union Station security guards are giving tourists and others who dare to take photos while in the mall or station was a news nugget that may brighten your day: The Union Station 9, the movie theater complex in the station's basement food court, will soon shut down forever.

Opened in 1988 as part of the renovation of the station, the Union Station 9's theaters are named after the classic old movie palaces that once dotted the District --the Roxy, Palace, Orpheum, Penn and so on. But there was nothing classic about the look or experience of the Union Station multiplex, which, because of its location at the crossroads between the affluent and impoverished parts of town, became a symbol of the very different moviegoing cultures in this country.

Some patrons were appalled at how Union Station audiences cheered, jeered and otherwise made noise during the movie, while other patrons felt they were singled out for undue attention from security guards. The divide sometimes turned into a debate about race and class--not exactly what a movie theater operator is hoping for.

But it wasn't that socio-political split that led to the decision to shut down the theaters. Rather, as David Ball, president of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, put it in his testimony on the Hill, "The movie theaters are basically losing money. They don't draw the crowds." Ball says the new owners of the retail complex intend to put other shops in the space currently occupied by the theaters.

The new owner of the lease for the mall at Union Station is a New York property investment company, Ashkenazy Acquisitions, that has signed an 84-year lease and intends to try to reposition Union Station "to make it competitive in the market," Ball says.

Ball, whose non-profit corporation was created by Congress to run the train station and retail complex through private contractors, says Union Station needs to be able to hold its own against Seventh Street downtown and the Friendship Heights retail cluster that straddles the D.C.-Maryland border in upper Northwest.

Ashkenazy's counsel, Daniel Levy, told the hearing that new walkways and staircases will open up the below-ground food court to allow in more light.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) was glad to hear that, but skeptical: "Anybody here eaten in the food court lately? I go down there to have some lunch. I would say I got panhandled at least four times. I even offered to buy the guys lunch, but they just want cash. I'm telling you, I'm a member of Congress and they keep coming up to me. I haven't been back since."

It's tough enough to run any retail establishment, but lord save you if your customers are members of Congress.

I make it a habit to note and mourn the passing of all great old pre-greed movie houses, but I'm willing to bet a nice prize from the Vast Vat of Values that few of you will make a serious, passionate case for how the loss of the Union Station 9 is an occasion for civic grief. Anyone want to try?



By Marc Fisher |  September 15, 2008; 8:22 AM ET
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Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Good riddance! Maybe the panhandlers, the thugz and kidz will go somewhere else now.

Posted by: Stick | September 15, 2008 8:38 AM

I went to a movie there five or six years ago. The young black kids were so disruptive that it made the whole movie experienceunpleasant. I went back once more after that. There was a fight and they put everyone out of the theater--during the movie. No refunds. Just get out.
Marc, you are being disingeniuos when you write that it was not the socio-political split that led to the decision to shut down the theaters. Why do you think they were losing money?

Gallery Place Chinatown is next. Pentagon City movie theater preceded this place in getting shutdown by the same crowd of people.

Posted by: Nathan | September 15, 2008 8:58 AM

I'll actually miss this theater. It was nice to have at least one movie theater on Capitol Hill. With the Penn and Atlas movie theaters long since converted to other uses, we'll now have to go to Chinatown or the suburbs to catch a movie.

Posted by: Jamie | September 15, 2008 9:11 AM

There's still E Street Cinema, which is mostly non-blockbuster foreign/indy flicks which don't attract the fightin'/yellin' crowd, thankfully.

Posted by: Paulo | September 15, 2008 9:18 AM

Hip! Hip! We stopped going years ago, tired of the noise, the yelling, and sometimes the cursing from the audience. The topping was trying to get out of the parking garage after a show -- the lines tended to be long, the parking attendants slow, etc. E Street Cinema is by contrast a terrific experience.

Posted by: DCNorm | September 15, 2008 9:22 AM

Last went there in 2003, it was so rowdy and there was a crazy man who sat next to us and just rambled the whole time. Never would consider going back there.

Posted by: James | September 15, 2008 9:25 AM

I didn't even know it was still open!

Posted by: Wow | September 15, 2008 9:25 AM

The rowdy crowds are going to find somewhere else to go. Just a question of where. Gallery Place is a good bet. I hope E Street can keep making money with the indie & foreign releases. If they start showing mainstream Hollywood films for young adults, my guess is that the behavior of the audience members will decline dramatically.

Posted by: Who's Next | September 15, 2008 9:30 AM

The cinema at Union was the closest one to my house; now I have to go to those uber-expensive ritzy places in Gallery Place, where I have to fight the crowd and may not even get a seat. At least at Union Station, I could get there a reasonable 30-minutes early and sit comfortably...

Posted by: Hill Resident | September 15, 2008 9:36 AM

I’m sorry that the Union Station Theaters are closing. As a neighborhood resident, my mom and I enjoy going there, and have never experienced any problems. Many movie theatres are not profitable these days; possibly because there are more choices of viewing movies at home like Netflix, direct tv and cable. I believe that racism is more of the reason for these theaters closing than the lack of profit. I guess all of you bigots who are happy about the closing of this theater will be equally happy when the demographic that you think that you’re superior to will frequent other theaters like Mazza Gallerie, Georgetown, Rio, Courthouse, and Bethesda. We look forward to continued viewing opportunities with you!

Posted by: why? | September 15, 2008 9:39 AM

You liberals! You make us experience such joys as "diversity training", but when you liberals experience diversity you complain just like the rest of us.

Posted by: Ed | September 15, 2008 9:39 AM

The last time I visited the theater during the usual "date time", Friday or Saturday from 8-10pm, I was taken aback by the rowdy environment. It was simply annoying. I've since discovered the perfect time to watch a newly released movie for less that 20 bucks a person. I started going after work to catch movies at 6pm or later. The only other people there were working folks who had the same idea. Now that the theater is closing down I guess I'll give Netflicks a try.

Posted by: SW DC | September 15, 2008 9:49 AM

Marc - If you dig a little deeper, you'll find that originally the space used by the movie theatres was home to a bathhouse. Not a bad amenity for weary travellers.

Posted by: Michael | September 15, 2008 9:54 AM

It says to report offensive comments. How about this one: "I'm a member of Congress and they kept coming up to me." Sounds like it's time for you to go home!

We stopped going to Union Station theater not because of the rowdiness but because of the disgusting conditions -- the whole place reeks of urine, and it's filthy (trash, stains, spills, etc).

Posted by: NE DC | September 15, 2008 9:59 AM

Sorry Mark-
I mourn the passing of venerable institutions in our city as well, but this is a move that is LONG PAST DUE. The current management let that place decay, the kids are completely out of control, the security is laughable. I can count the number of times I have been there on one hand since it opened. Besides, 7th street is better and a lot less...how can I say this...corrupted than Union Station. Plus, one has to pay outrageous parking fees in order to leave the car in the garage. Enough is enough, good riddence to this nightmare!

Posted by: Tony | September 15, 2008 10:16 AM

I haven't been to the Union Station theaters in years because of the loud, disruptive patrons.

I used to let such comments go by, but no more. This is not being racist, it's calling a spade a spade. Some people need to watch who they're calling names.

Posted by: sparky | September 15, 2008 10:17 AM

I will be sad to see the Union Station theater go. It was a great place to go catch a matinee after huffing a few bong hits in the early afternoon.

Posted by: Mr. 420 | September 15, 2008 10:18 AM

I stopped going to Union Station for movies years ago. Not so much because of the crowds -- there was more misbehavior than you get at most other theaters, but it wasn't so endemic as some of the other commenters make it sound -- but because the theaters just weren't very good. They were only indifferently cleaned, the sound quality was poor, and the sight lines weren't up to the standards at newer theaters with stadium seating.

What's more, they never showed anything you couldn't see for the same price at a better theater. Despite their shortcomings, I can get nostalgic for the Biograph or the Key or the Janus or the Flower or the Foundry or the Inner Circle or Visions DC or the Dupont Circle, because they had their niches. But Union Station? Nah.

And NE DC is right, John Mica sounds like a real prize turkey, all puffed up with self-regard. Trust me, Rep. Mica, most voters can't pick their *own* Congressman out of a lineup -- so don't be surprised when a homeless person who lives 900 miles away from your district doesn't fall all over himself to treat you like royalty. And why should Congressmen be immune to being pestered by panhandlers? Does he want his own private armed forces to keep the poor and unsightly away from his aristocratic sensibilities?

Posted by: cminus | September 15, 2008 10:26 AM

I used to work up there but I never really had time to stop into the theater after work. I'm more concerned about what the other plans the new guys might have. Sounds like they want ot run all of the locally owned places out of the food court and stock it up with nothing but blander national chains. The food court is already kinda empty in some spots. JBG is going the same thing to L'Enfant Plaza. All the local are being run out of the place right now.

I'm sure a beggar know exactly who the Congressman is and was targetting him specifically. Mr. Mica, you're a dunce, and an egomaniac.

Posted by: EricS | September 15, 2008 10:27 AM

Mark - no complaints here. After experiencing the same horrors on about six different visits, I gave up on the Union Station theaters years ago. Good riddance.

Posted by: NE | September 15, 2008 10:29 AM

I am not surprised. I lived on the Hill way back when the theaters opened. My girfriend and I went to see the original Batman and the crowd of young punks was so loud and disruptive that I personally intervened with one group and asked them to be quiet and literally get out of the aisles.

The only reason I didn't fear for my life is that I was a federal agent at the time and I had my service revolver (yes we carried .357s at the time) on me, and I went to the manager and asked him to eject them. Evidently it's gone downhill from that low point. Too bad.

Posted by: Dave | September 15, 2008 10:38 AM

Agreed on the hip!hip!hooray! it's closing - I first went to a movie there in '94 after moving here from out of state and was APPALLED at the audience behavior. I was only 19 myself and was taken aback at the foul language, cheering and booing, and general lack of safety I felt. Thanks but no thanks.....and by the way, putting metro to Tyson's will probably end up ruining movies there if people can access it easier...ugh...no where left to go but the outher burbs!

Posted by: dka | September 15, 2008 10:39 AM

When I first moved to DC in 2005 I was told that was not the place to go if you want to watch a movie in peace. However, if you go at the right time of day you'll have a decent experience. I've seen a few movies there and the crowd was never "rowdy" but the overall up keep of the place was disappointing.

Posted by: mcb | September 15, 2008 10:43 AM

We live about 1 mile from the theater, but go to Northern Virginia for almost all our frequent movie going.

We enjoy going to a movie to immerse ourselves in the experience, not to be distracted by the audience. Unfortunately. some of my memories of some of the greatest movies in the past 10 years are forever associated with the rude behavior of movie patrons at this theater.

Good riddance and thanks for the power of the market place.

Posted by: Goodbye | September 15, 2008 10:46 AM

I eat in the food court, and there are always a lot of rowdy kids taking up space. Not sure if it's related, but IMO Union Station is first and foremost a train station, and ought to be a treated as a place of transience, primarily for travellers, not a place for multi-hour entertainment that encourages loitering. Busy people are trying to get to destinations and they don't need people who are hangin out to get in their way. And Mica might be pompous, but he's right...how can Union afford the resources to harrass photographers, but then have none to prevent travellers and diners from getting accosted by panhandlers?

Posted by: Hrm | September 15, 2008 10:51 AM

The theatres were losing money precisely because of the socio-economic split, not in spite of it.

Posted by: CPS | September 15, 2008 10:53 AM

Damn. Now where will I go to see a poorly-projected, sloppily-sounded movie while I sit in a ripped, decaying filthseat with my feet in puddles of soda, urine and semen!

Posted by: Pompous Magnus | September 15, 2008 11:03 AM

Quite frankly the movie theater and really the whole mall is a flashpoint of race, class and age. Every stereotype was played out over and over again there. Poor African-American kids, teenagers, and young adults in large groups from the surrounding neighborhoods came there because it's relatively cheap entertainment and a place to hang out. Columbia Heights, Gallery Place, downtown Silver Spring and Pentagon City all face the same challenges to varying degrees. They all straddle the regional race/class dividing lines and the resentment over "gentrification" has only highlighted it further. It's impossible to say without being "racist" but I'll say it anyway: watching loud, aggressive, obnoxious, threatening behavior from these morons will scare white people away (which is probably part of the point of it). People know they're not welcome and are afraid and don't feel it's worth it to even try to fight the inevitable menacing rowdiness. It's tied up in cultural and socioeconomic divides that have existed and will continue to exist long after segregation has ended. It's only the upscale malls, neighborhoods and commercial corridors along these areas that have escaped this to any degree.

Posted by: Mike | September 15, 2008 11:40 AM

It's great news. I went there twice and both times had a really awful experience. It was like a madhouse. People yelling, no respect for others enjoyment, etc. The problem isn't race (or even just kids). It was people who lacked respect for anyone else outside of the group they came in with - who for whatever reason don't feel any obligation to society around them. The theatre was also to blame in that it created an environment that attracted and encouraged self-centered jerks and didn't offer any boundaries. Since it was such a transient place they needed to project a bit more authority than most theaters. Ushers and security guards were nowhere to be found and, frankly, they're not paid enough to get in a fight over someone not wanting to be shushed. I hope it was caused by the market because that would mean that people voted with their wallets for a better movie-going experience. Thankfully, there are a lot of better theaters to go to in DC.

Posted by: Rico | September 15, 2008 11:43 AM

The best movies to see there were the ones that WOULD draw a reaction from the audience. Finest flick I saw there was "Undercover Brother," followed by "Starship Troopers." The comments and suck from the audience actually enhanced the movie experience. I'd vote for a nine-screen last night "Salute to Undercover Brother." I think Chris Kattan, Chi McBride, Eddie Griffin, Dave Chappelle and Denise Richards are all available. NP Harris has a steady gig, but I bet we could convince him....

The worst movie I saw there was "Saving Private Ryan." Great movie that the audience hated, thus making it less captivating.

Posted by: BobT | September 15, 2008 11:45 AM

I went to see Strangers On A Train (for a dime!) at the opening of the theater in 1988 and I've only been back once or twice since. Good riddance. How this space will ever be any different than the mall they attempted to open under Dupont Circle (remember that massive failure?) is the real challenge.

Posted by: Andrew | September 15, 2008 11:47 AM

I don't understand why people are criticizing Mica. All he is saying is why would anyone want to eat lunch or see a movie if you are going to be hassled by homeless people and beggars.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 11:48 AM


It's a little known fact, but Union Station has recently started playing first-run Bollywood movies, in addition to Hollywood fare. Considering that the other theaters to catch these movies are out in the suburbs (Laurel and Falls Church) and not easily accessible by public transportation, I'm going to miss the convenience of being able to catch Bollywood movies in DC proper.

Posted by: Ann | September 15, 2008 11:58 AM

The only time I went to a movie at Union Station was several years ago with a group of friends (all of us white and middle class and in our mid-twenties). We were seeing an adventure movie on opening weekend. The rowdy environment - people yelling at the screen, cheering for the good guy, booing and hissing at the bad guy - actually added a great deal to the experience of watching a movie which otherwise would have been completely unmemorable. I wouldn't go there to watch the latest global warming documentary, but I thought it was a fun place to go for a different experience. A friend called the "Interactive Movie Theater".

Posted by: Anon. | September 15, 2008 12:06 PM

I'll miss the theatre, and will check it off as one more thing I've lost in DC. I completely agree with BobT. My husband and I would always go to Union Station for action and horror movies BECAUSE of the audience experience. Certainly, it was a waste of time to see a movie you cared about, and the upkeep was miserable. But it was a blast to enjoy, say, Dawn of the Dead with a raucous crowd. I'm sorry so many people were afraid.

Posted by: usedtobeaDCgirl | September 15, 2008 12:14 PM

I live 2 blocks away and am sorry to see it go, bad management and all. I've seen about a half dozen movies there in the last 2 years and I haven't experienced those rowdy crowds. The place did need a good scrubbing, but an overhaul would have been better than a closing. Hopefully with all the upscale shopping that's planned they'll open an upscale theater to replace this one, but until then all of us Hill residents will be without a theater within walking distance.

Posted by: Anthony | September 15, 2008 12:24 PM

Gallery Place is next. In fact, it's already beginning to attract the riff raff. It is convenient to metro, unlike Georgetown, and it is not as upscale as Mazza Gallery.

I went to the Union Station theater once, in 1999 a couple of weeks after I moved here. I remember even then that the theater's sound quality was poor, and its seating seemed woefully outdated. Add to that the distraction of teenagers talking loudly on their cellphones, yelling at the screens and having full-on conversations with each other, Union Station was not worth the $10 a pop.

The sad thing is that most of the people who go to that theater are upstanding citizens. Unfortunately, the 20 percent or so of people who go there and lack respect for themselves or anyone else make it bad for the whole lot.

I too am African American. And I have no desire to be in such an environment. And now that Union Station is closing, I am annoyed because I know that it means the young, disrespectful crowd will simply migrate to Gallery Place.

E Street theater is a nice alternative, but it only shows independent flicks, which will never attract this particular crowd. I shouldn't have to resign myself to only seeing independent flicks or traveling out to the suburbs if I want an evening or afternoon at the movies.

All of this does speak to broader issues of race and class. Unfortunately, it is a social problem than neither this blog or any of these comments will fix.

Posted by: Miriam | September 15, 2008 12:30 PM

Why is the loss of union station cinema a cause for civic grief? Let me count the reasons:

1. All those rowdy patrons will have to go somewhere else, ruining the experience for movie-goers elsewhere.

2. Security will be freed up to devote their full attention to hassling photographers.

How do I collect my prize?

PS. And really, Marc. "Different moviegoing cultures?" Isn't that mincing words just a little too finely?

Posted by: Washpost4 | September 15, 2008 12:32 PM

Movie theaters -- Union Station or elsewhere -- are open to anybody who can afford the price of a ticket. If you don't like the experience of seeing a movie with a crowd, then stay away and wait for the DVD release. People have just as much right to respond to a movie as the complainers do to either shut up or stay away.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | September 15, 2008 1:11 PM

The last time I went to Union Station, was the LAST TIME I'M EVER GOING to Union Station.

What I had issue with was the security guards who would not address issues that were pointed out to them. I mean, some kids are in everyone's face, cussing and using anti-African-American racial slurs. That's meant to shock the white people, but it was really upsetting the African-American families. One white guy and one black guy come up almost simultaneously to a security guard and ask him to throw these kids out and the guard just says, "Why, they're just having fun?" I think it was the POV of the people on the ground with the authority to make the business life of that space livable who refused to do their job. I am positive that the kids will push the envelope as far as they can because they're kids, even an adult of 20 or 21 might do that. But when no one pushes back or when the good people do something, but get criticized by "the man" who IS "THE MAN" but refuses to act like "the man" then screw it. I'm not going back and I hope they replace the theaters with a book store, starbucks, candle shop and other places those kids will never set foot into.

When I lived in the suburbs with people who were high-class and well-heeled culturally I couldn't believe why there weren't grocery stores, banks, movie theaters and the like in "bad neighborhoods." Moving into a high-class neighborhood in DC I find that on holidays our neighbor the lawyer takes in her "Cousin's kids" who literally have no idea how to speak to an adult, comport themselves in public, or comprehend half of what they're hearing. The parents are already lost, we know they've been doing pot and cocaine for 20 years, the parents are involved in gangs, the parents never went to college or if they did, it was a lesser school, the parents aren't bringing their kids to the better restaurants where the kids must learn etiquette or else look like country bumpkins. In the end, no one of any race wants to hang out with kids and adults who have no idea how to act politely in a business environment.

The question I have is that blaming the parents is proven to be a waste of time when the parents themselves don't want the kids to act with etiquette. So we, as a society must leave the parents out of the equation and start enforcing quality of life violations like shouting or cursing with real enforcement. It's not a matter of the parents or a cultural group changing themselves, it is the Bill Cosbys of the world who know they must change someone else's kids if not with the carrot, then with the stick.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:15 PM

People have just as much right to respond to a movie as the complainers do to either shut up or stay away.
----
ha! what a dumb statement. Of course you're wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:16 PM

A big part of the issue at places like Union Station, Montgomery Mall, Wheaton Plaza and others is the pack mentality of the teenagers. They gather in groups of 15 or 20 or more, are crude and obnoxious, and have absolutely no respect for anyone else around them. They feed off each other. This is not limited to any particular racial or socio-economic group either. I work in retail management and honestly, you see it everywhere. I was a kid once. My friends and I were rude and obnoxious around eachother too, we just never did it at the mall or in the theatre.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:18 PM

Agreed with those who lament the passing of the area's finest Interactive Movie Theater. If you were somehow roped into going to a movie you didn't want to see, the Union Station crowd was right there with you. If you wanted to see a stupid movie and revel in the pointlessness of your decision, the Union Station crowd would spur your amusement and scorn to new heights. I've certainly seen lots of comedies where the comments from the audience were funnier than the movie.

I specifically endorse the suggestion for an "Undercover Brother"-themed farewell. I'd be there!

Posted by: Lindemann | September 15, 2008 1:25 PM

A movie theater is no different than a baseball stadium. Privately operated, you pay for access to entertainment. If you want to live in a sensory deprivation tank, watch your cable and your DVDs in your suburban or Ward 3 living rooms and let the rest of us enjoy ourselves.

Posted by: Washington, DC | September 15, 2008 1:26 PM

I wonder what the socioeconomic breakdown of those who don't comment but enjoy the commentary is?

Posted by: Lindemann | September 15, 2008 1:27 PM

What a ridiculous and selfish attitude Capitol Hill. When you go to a movie there's a reasonable expectation that you should be able to pay attention to and hear that movie. Under your logic, I should be able to purchase a ticket to a Nationals or Redskins game and then sit there blasting the music of my choice as loud as I want. After all, it's open to whoever buys a ticket, and if people don't like it they can get out of my way or stay home and watch it on TV. A little common courtesy goes a long way.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:28 PM

I think they showed up at the Gallery Place theater Saturday night. The sidewalk was packed with kids hanging out getting in everyone's way and being loud.

Posted by: anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:34 PM

re: Lindemann
I am a white twenty something female who lives in Rockville. I have never been to the Union Station movie theater, so can't really comment. I am enjoying the discussion though. I especially appreciate the comments about simply respecting each other. It shouldnt matter what your background or station in life is - we are all here together and should be able to give one another proper respect.

Posted by: anon | September 15, 2008 1:34 PM

A movie theater is no different than a baseball stadium.
----

If you're ignorant then it's probably not. For everyone else whose parents brought them up right, didn't grow up in a barn, will attend a college without a state or city in the name, will receive another degree after that college degree, and will hire you to mow our lawns, there's a difference.

Oh, and you didn't finish trimming the hedges, get back to work or I won't pay you.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:40 PM

Now the savages will have to go further to ignore the movie while loudly practicing speaking jive

Posted by: Spike Lee | September 15, 2008 1:46 PM

I think part of the problem with the discussion of crowd behavior here is the "all or nothing" approach people seem to take. There are some movies where raucous crowd behavior can be fine, possibly even expected. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" obviously comes to mind, and I also recall seeing the South Park movie over at Courthouse in Arlington on the night it opened and thinking how glad I was that I had seen it in a full theatre where just about everyone was laughing their arses off. I'm white, but I was glad I saw "Boyz N the Hood" in a theatre with a majority-black crowd back in the early 1990s, as their reactions made it considerably more entertaining. However, there are other movies when this sort of atmosphere is utterly inappropriate. Anyone remember the controversy a few years back when a group of black kids were ejected from a theatre for misbehaving during "Schindler's List"? They claimed that the management was wrong because they always made noise during the movies, but everyone I know thought that was ludicrous--given the subject matter, anyone ought to know enough to show respect during a movie of that sort, and NO, it's NOT incumbent upon the viewer to say, "Oh, black people go to that theatre, guess I'd better not go there for this movie." The viewer paid his $10 (or whatever they charge these days) and is reasonably entitled to be able to see and hear the movie in return for that expenditure (whereas at "South Park," for example, it's not reasonable to assume that audience laughter will not drown out some parts of the movie).

Posted by: White man who tries to be reasonable | September 15, 2008 1:50 PM

I'm appalled at musings which represent blatant racism toward and stereotyping of African-American youth. I've heard noisy and seen out of control youth in other movie centers frequented by white youth (Eisenhower, Fredericksburg).

How dare you?! In 2008, it's shameful and disgusting.

Posted by: ColoredSpirit | September 15, 2008 1:53 PM

"I don't understand why people are criticizing Mica. All he is saying is why would anyone want to eat lunch or see a movie if you are going to be hassled by homeless people and beggars."

No, that's not what he's saying. Okay, he is saying that, but it's not *all* he is saying. He's also saying that it's inexcusable for a, quote, "member of Congress" to get hassled by an aggressive panhandler. The rest of us, apparently, can lump it.

Posted by: cminus | September 15, 2008 1:54 PM

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) was glad to hear that, but skeptical: "Anybody here eaten in the food court lately? I go down there to have some lunch. I would say I got panhandled at least four times. I even offered to buy the guys lunch, but they just want cash. I'm telling you, I'm a member of Congress and they keep coming up to me. I haven't been back since."

Big deal. I get pan handlers out in the Maryland suburb where I live. If I choose not to give, I just keep walking. Being "outraged," isn't going to make them go away. BTW, I work at Union Station and I wouldn't eat that crap anyway (all you have to do is peek inside the restaurant kitchens).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:58 PM

I used to let such comments go by, but no more. This is not being racist, it's calling a spade a spade. Some people need to watch who they're calling names.

Posted by: sparky | September 15, 2008 10:17 AM

Uh...yeah you are..,.

Calling a "spade" a "spade" has it's origins in a racial taunt.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:03 PM

I mourn the passing of the Union Station theaters because that was the first trip I was allowed to make into D.C. without adult supervision. At 12 years old, we hopped on Metro at Takoma Park, went to Union Station to see a movie, and came back. No chance of getting lost on the streets of D.C. Too bad they are no longer viable.

Posted by: Walt N | September 15, 2008 2:04 PM

I haven't been there in a while because I moved out of Washington several years ago. However, when I lived on the Hill, from '93 to '98, those were the only theaters in walking distance. Yes, certain movies could be rowdy. Mostly I had good experiences, though. If I still lived there, yes, I would be very sad to see them shut down, and even now, from a distance, I find it a bit sad.

Posted by: Saint Paul | September 15, 2008 2:08 PM

Capitol Hill: "People have just as much right to respond to a movie as the complainers do to either shut up or stay away."

Erm, maybe. *People* have none of those rights; it's the *theater* that makes the call. They can cater to people who want to respond to the movie, or they can cater to people who don't. If a customer were to shout advice to the screen at E Street, they'd be kicked out, because E Street won't stand for that. But they'd be within their rights to change their policy if they wanted.

In Union Station's case, the theater catered to people who wanted to respond, and people who didn't, as you say, had the choice to shut up or stay away. They stayed away, and the theater went bankrupt. Unfortunately for people who like to yell at the screen, the free market is a pretty good indicator of what most people want.

Posted by: cminus | September 15, 2008 2:09 PM

Uh...yeah you are..,.

Calling a "spade" a "spade" has it's origins in a racial taunt.
-----

Nope, it's Greek in origin, came from Plutarch.

And I know this because someone said it at work, someone else complained, and we had to go to the encyclopedia. This phrase is Greek, Picnic is French, but Eenie Meenie Miney Mo is flat out racist.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:10 PM

ColoredSpirit, get off your high horse. Of course rowdiness crosses racial lines and disruptive movie experiences can be found in mostly white outer suburbs. So what? The point is people don't want to feel intimidated out of speaking up for their rights to enjoy a movie. When I lived in Capitol Hill and went to Union Station for shopping I remember walking through the mall seeing several incidents of terrified white tourists who were unfortunate enough to have their movie-going experience ruined but still had to keep their heads down walking out for fear of getting attacked by loud, obnoxious, unruly mobs. Sorry, but part of the equation there was racial and class-based.

Posted by: John | September 15, 2008 2:18 PM

I'm appalled at musings which represent blatant racism toward and stereotyping of African-American youth. I've heard noisy and seen out of control youth in other movie centers frequented by white youth (Eisenhower, Fredericksburg).

How dare you?! In 2008, it's shameful and disgusting.

-----

No, YOU DON'T GET IT.

I live in an integrated community and across the street from me are mixed race couples of three different mixes. It's not 1964 where we just came out of segregation. We are a fully-integrated society and ever since I was in nursery school I had Asian, Latin and Jewish friends and it was late elementary school when African-Americans broke our suburban color line in real numbers.

So I thought nothing of moving to DC and living in what was at the time a majority African-American community and 9 times out of 10 my neighbors were every bit as well-behaved, educated and sophisticated as I was.

And then you'd be in Petworth or Brookland or Capitol Hill and there would be this entirely different culture. It was not what I knew to be African-American culture, it was not the lawyers, teachers, federal employees, Army Colonels and the people I lived near who got their kids to church and kept their lawns mowed.

It was people who didn't care about themselves, care about their children or care about me. In fact, they acted recklessly with hostility, turning every possible interaction into a shouting match. they used the most vile racist and anti-woman slurs in public to refer to themselves, their dates, and the families around them. They sang out loud inside, they ignored their children, they yelled at people on their cell phones, they blocked the hallways with arms outstretched trying to hug women who they didn't know and wanted nothing to do with them- that's sexual harrassment. what's worse? They shouted at the movie theater screen.

If you want to call that low-class behavior "Street behavior" then I'm right there. My African-American neighbors who have their kids in bible study on Wednesday nights and Choir practice a couple nights call that "street" as well. If you want to say that my criticism of this street culture is a criticism of African-American culture? Then why am I voting for Obama?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:22 PM

Good riddance.

I am worried where the thug trash that frequented that theatre will go, however. It is already evident outside Gallery Place on Fri and Sat nights and getting worse. At least DC Police are stationed outside now watching the crowd. Chipotle had to take in their tables and chairs because the ghetto-ass riff-raff from the green line were taking over.

How do other major cities run movie theatres and public places in their downtown cores and keep this riff-raff out? Can you not sit in a theatre QUIETLY for 2 hours and actually watch a film?

Posted by: Name | September 15, 2008 2:23 PM

What was the last movie I went to with really talkative patrons? "Death of a President" at E Street theater on a Sat. afternnon a few years ago. The film was a Britsh faux documentary about a Bush assassination. More scary? Some of these same folks were self-identified as working for Dept of Homeland Security.

Posted by: DC Moviegoer | September 15, 2008 2:27 PM

Now people are complaining because some people are loud outdoors on the sidewalk? What's wrong with you? Do you complain when people yell at athletic events or cheer at concerts? Go hermetically seal yourself and leave life to the living.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | September 15, 2008 2:32 PM

Sure! It's all the white kids driving people away from Union Station.

Because white suburban kids are known for causing problems in movie theaters. After all, kids from the suburbs go to capitol hill to cause problems at union station. Yeah. That's the ticket.

You guys mentioning hip-hop black youth are just plain racists. Those kids are just sitting quietly while the white kids ruin it for everybody else with their loud music, fighting and hassling patrons. You see it all over, say, Columbia Mall.

That's what's ruined DC schools too. Too many white kids from the suburbs who don't care about learning. Their parents don't even know where they are. Just takin' up space.

yeah, if we could just get all these white kids out of the district it would be paradise!

Posted by: TheManKeepin'YouDown | September 15, 2008 2:35 PM

I loved how interactive the Union Station movie theater is...It made the Hollywood dreck actually enjoyable while at the same time bringing people together. What fun!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:38 PM

It's not cheap but the American Film Institute theater in Silver Spring is a revelation. A clean theater and there is no chatting or texting during the films. Strongly recommended.

I went to Union Station a few times and always regretted it. The smell of urine and the running commentary from the audience have kept me away for years.

Posted by: Josey23 | September 15, 2008 2:43 PM

It made the Hollywood dreck actually enjoyable while at the same time bringing people together.
----

Yeah, I think the quote that brought people together for me was waiting in line to buy tickets around 2003 and I accidentally made the fisheye at some 18-19 year old guys who were pretending to have sex with a movie theater poster and this guy, in the vernacular, getting all up in my grill, to show off for his friends saying, "You think we're all N*****S don't you?" and my date saying, "Let's leave, let's leave, let's leave, leave, leave leave leavy leavity leave leave." That really brought people together didn't it. It was used to divide people, get your head on straight.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:47 PM

I saw "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" @Union Station and right when the movie started I hear "Oh S***, subtitles!".

That says it all. Good riddance!

Posted by: NotInDCAnymore | September 15, 2008 2:47 PM

Lindemann, for an anecdotal sampling of the socioeconomic breakdown of those who comment and those who enjoy commenting: I'm a white 20-something and have a group of friends including 1 Asian Indian, 3 Asian-Americans, 1 black, and 5 other whites, made up of 6 males and 5 females, all aged within 5 years of each other, with yearly incomes of $30,000 to $200,000, and not only do we enjoy the comments, but actively make our own vociferous comments during particularly bad or fun movies.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:50 PM

Currently there is a Washington Blog.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/grounds-crew/2008/08/the_annoying_guy_in_our_sectio.html
This blog details and experience at a baseball game. what are expectations of public behavior?

Posted by: Nice Discussion | September 15, 2008 3:21 PM

I live on the the hill but never went to the theater because of the rumors I heard. Sounds like they were all true. I do go to Gallery Place and I can only hope the same thing doesn't happen there.

Posted by: RR | September 15, 2008 3:30 PM

Sure! It's all the white kids driving people away from Union Station.

Because white suburban kids are known for causing problems in movie theaters. After all, kids from the suburbs go to capitol hill to cause problems at union station. Yeah. That's the ticket.

You guys mentioning hip-hop black youth are just plain racists. Those kids are just sitting quietly while the white kids ruin it for everybody else with their loud music, fighting and hassling patrons. You see it all over, say, Columbia Mall.

That's what's ruined DC schools too. Too many white kids from the suburbs who don't care about learning. Their parents don't even know where they are. Just takin' up space.

yeah, if we could just get all these white kids out of the district it would be paradise!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 3:38 PM

I saw Syriana at the Union Station theater when it came out, and it was a pretty serious movie, hard to keep up with even if you had a silent audience. In the middle of the movie, during a very tense scene, two guys in HUGE puffy jackets stood up and loudly announced that they didn't "get this sh*t" and the movie "f-ing sucked." They were blocking the screen as they walked out of their row, purposely walking slowly to piss off the other patrons. They muttered VERY obscenities loudly the entire time as they slowly made their way to the exit. Did they ruin the movie for me? Not necessarily, but it was terrible, impolite behavior on their part. Obviously they must have thought Syriana would be some kind of spy-thriller action movie ala James Bond or something, that required thinking. I have walked out of movies I didn't like before, but I didn't have such a big ego that I needed to make a huge scene about it. The same behavior exists at the Greenbelt Academy Theaters right by College Park, MD. No one I know goes there because of the fights, harassment, and general chaos that comes from the people that hang out there in huge crowds.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 3:47 PM

Judging from these posts, the entertainment was in the theater and not on the screen.

However, I did see a film ("There Will Be Blood") at the theater on E-Street. There were no kids, but plenty of adult morons yammering on cellphones.

Install jammers now!

Posted by: Jobo | September 15, 2008 3:54 PM

Funny...all this time I was wondering if I was just being oversensitive to all the raucousness at Union Station movies. We never really even discussed it -- just over the years, we would dismiss Union Station as a place to go if we actually cared about hearing, let alone enjoying a movie. If I wanted to be someplace where people constantly yelled at the screen and acted up on the theater, I'd go to a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I would think most people would agree. If there were enough people in the talk-in-movie-theater crowd, it'd be profitable, and it wouldn't be closing, IMHO.

Posted by: t | September 15, 2008 4:03 PM

Theatres were fine… But the cleanliness and clientele were a problem. Much like every other theatre that is frequented by a majority of ghetto-minded individuals, it began nice and turned to cr@p.

In the mean time, everyone else will stay out of gun-range and opt to attend movies in VA where its much safer and you don’t have to worry about bums all the time once you escape the gangs below in the theatre.

Posted by: Yawn | September 15, 2008 4:04 PM

The same behavior exists at the Greenbelt Academy Theaters right by College Park, MD. No one I know goes there because of the fights, harassment, and general chaos that comes from the people that hang out there in huge crowds.
-------

Wow! Talk about memories!!!

One time I was there, let's say, 1984 to see some horror film and these African-American heavy metal kids all walked in together- jean jackets, bandanas, ripped jeans, Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen shirts, afros like you NEVER saw in the 1980s and this one girl with them with Angela Davis hair, tighter jeans than I've ever seen on anyone and an Ocean City airbrush t-shirt that was bead-azzled reading "Black Diamond" you know, the KISS song? As soon as I was like, "Wow!" the Kangol-wearing hip hop kids started trouble. I'll never forget one insult hurled at the heavy metal kids- "You don't even wear adidas! Nike-wearing MF"

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 4:19 PM

I went to a movie there several months ago, and when we walked into the theater five minutes before the published start time, it was clear the movie had already started -- and been playing for at least 10 minutes!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 4:33 PM

I saw a movie many years ago. A group of teenagers came in 10 minutes after the movie started and couldn't find seats together. So they started running up and down yelling how this sucks. A couple of men got up and told them to sit down or they would make them sit down.

Someone yelled "gun" and all of the sudden everyone started to panic and flee towards the exits. When I was in line to try to get a refund, I overheard one of the teenagers saying he yelled gun as a joke.

I don't mind a boisterious crowd, especially for late night comedy, action, or horror films (ie. Magic Johnson Theatre in Landover). Union Station just had enough disrespectful folks to ruin too many movie experiences.

Posted by: e | September 15, 2008 5:51 PM

I agree that having an "interactive" crowd experience makes some movies so much better, especially crappy Hollywood horror movies. Having the whole movie theatre scream and react to a scary scene is something that makes the whole theatre come alive.
I wouldn't appreciate it watching Syriana or Shindler's List but it does make watching some of the junk that Hollywood produces enjoyable to watch.
AMC Hoffman in Alexandria offers a similar experience, most notably during the late night hours. Everybody should experience it once.

Posted by: Martin | September 15, 2008 7:49 PM

I used to love going to Union Station in college--the discounts, the interactive experience, it was great. You had to go expecting that you wouldn't really care if you saw the movie or not, and more often than not you went for the crazy behavior. As long as you did that, it was ok.

Now, as for the behavior of the kids--I can remember being able to go to the movies without worrying about that. Then again, I can also remember going to Redskins games and not having to worry about a mostly drunk and mostly white crowd behaving very very badly. Public behavior is pretty bad everywhere, regardless of race. Just because the kids do it on purpose doesn't make them worse than adults who drink too much and do it by 'accident'. Case in point: while on the upper concourse before the last Skins game, a white guy behind me suddenly yelled at the top of his lungs for no reason. He then turns to his friend and says "I'm a different person when I'm at a game." Sadly, that's how too many of us feel when we're in public.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:57 AM

Canadian Health&Care Mall started as a multistore based in Toronto and Ottawa in early 90s. Health&Care chain store system has been growing from year to year and finally has resulted in the current online project, as a result of operating not just as a family pharmacy but also as a store of so-called "useful things" . We tried to obtain the benefit from our previous experience and to create a really competing online resource for absolutely any customer. Though the idea is standard you may be absolutely sure that the filling is unique and has no analogues all over the Internet. We would like to admit that our online store is operating independently from the offline store system.

http://www.qweymurlu.com

Posted by: Health&Care Mall | September 16, 2008 4:22 AM

Canadian Health&Care Mall started as a multistore based in Toronto and Ottawa in early 90s. Health&Care chain store system has been growing from year to year and finally has resulted in the current online project, as a result of operating not just as a family pharmacy but also as a store of so-called "useful things" . We tried to obtain the benefit from our previous experience and to create a really competing online resource for absolutely any customer. Though the idea is standard you may be absolutely sure that the filling is unique and has no analogues all over the Internet. We would like to admit that our online store is operating independently from the offline store system.

http://www.qweymurlu.com

Posted by: Health&Care Mall | September 16, 2008 4:57 AM

Union Station has a whole has yet to figure out what its market(s) is (are). Commuters? The locals? Teenagers? Others? Just look at the failure rate of businesses there, from the train store which was there for years to the candle store which lasted months. Some businesses figure it out, maybe because they straddle markets (Body Shop). But in general the mix of stores and services is odd and unsatisfactory.

And I have a gift card to the movie theaters at Union Station which I guess I had better hurry up and use.

Posted by: LIves near Union Station | September 16, 2008 11:08 AM

I'm a native Washingtonian, Black American, and raised on The Hill and I'm glad to see it go but not for all the privileged reasons the cowboy-keyboard-cowards have been espousing.
I have laughed myself silly at that theater, the comments from the crowd have been hilarious. No, this is not the gentrified movie viewing practice but it is the way young, Black people do it. Funny how if it's done by young whites, it's called "an experience" or "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." LOL!
I'm older now and can't take all the talking and the crime has spiked but that's indicative of our sorry economy.
Change is inevitable and gentrifiers are cyclical so carry on.
You're all glad to see the movie theater taken away from the poor, ghetto folk because they made it into something dirty and unenjoyable by whites. At the rate our economy is falling apart, you might want to be careful with your celebrations of the demise of certain social classes. The next party could be for you.
And that, dears, is calling a spade a spade.

Posted by: cing | September 16, 2008 12:06 PM

"You're all glad to see the movie theater taken away from the poor, ghetto folk because they made it into something dirty and unenjoyable by whites."
------------------

And this is the reason why you will never lift yourself up out of the "ghetto".

Simply blaming the conditions on "how White people view it" Verus how civil society acts in public (outside of the ghetto) is the main reason that your socioeconomic class is still where it is and will remain until you realize that not everyone shares your minority view.

And before you think I am White, think again. Much like the rest of America I am far from "white"

Even REAL AFRICANS that you so lovingly look up to dont act like inner-city patrons. Think about it before whining about it.

Posted by: Yawn | September 16, 2008 12:24 PM

"Lindemann, for an anecdotal sampling of the socioeconomic breakdown of those who comment and those who enjoy commenting: I'm a white 20-something and have a group of friends including 1 Asian Indian, 3 Asian-Americans, 1 black, and 5 other whites, made up of 6 males and 5 females, all aged within 5 years of each other, with yearly incomes of $30,000 to $200,000, and not only do we enjoy the comments, but actively make our own vociferous comments during particularly bad or fun movies.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:50 PM"

Thank you. I am glad to see that the enjoyment of this practice crosses socioeconomic lines. I think they should have a theater somewhere just for people like us, where stone-faced disapprovers need not purchase tickets.

BTW, the only way I survived the film "Battlefield Earth" was by extensive mocking of John Travolta's codpiece.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 16, 2008 12:48 PM

In defence of audience participation: There are plenty of antiseptic places to see a film (including at home on DVD) if you don't want to be distracted, but I always found the screen-talkers at Union Station enhanced the moviegoing experience rather than detracted from it. I saw Pulp Fiction there in a soldout show on opening weekend, and the raucousness of the crowd made it my most memorable movie experience ever.

Posted by: bengtdc | September 16, 2008 1:00 PM

LOL@ yawn. How do you figure I look up to "real" Africans. I have no more regard for them than anyone else. Another gentrifier stereotype.
Like an old Black man from my street used to say, "a hit dog will holla," and you have done just that.
I wasn't raised in the ghetto so I didn't have to "lift myself up out of it." Another gentrifier's stereotype. I own a house in Brookland. Get with the program.
Overlooking the FACT that whites see certain behaviors as scary and threatening is part of the problem of gentrifiers.
And oh yeah, "whining" is a buzz word used by conservative gentrifiers. I study you as you try to overtake.
I'm off to a meeting. Toodles!
Say it loud...
I'm Black and I'm proud!

Posted by: cing | September 16, 2008 1:00 PM

@cing
Thank you for reinforcing my point.

Perhaps one day you will know what I am talking about.

Posted by: Yawn | September 16, 2008 1:21 PM

I am so sad to know we are losing the theaters at Union Station. We live two blocks from the Station and go to the movies there A LOT. It is too bad the only answer to the problems that clearly exist appears to be to just board it up. Isn't there something we can do? Whether or not you agree with the closure, this is a loss for our Capitol Hill community. That fact alone should make us want to find a better solution.

Posted by: MO | September 16, 2008 1:43 PM

Well on one side, I've not been to the Union Station theaters in at least three years as I live by Annapolis now. However I remembered Union Station had two things going for it, easy Metro access and the interactive crowds. I watched "Reign of Fire" and let's say I haven't laughed harder in my lifetime.

The down side of the theater, its terrible upkeep and the violence. I remember once waiting for a movie about 4 -5 years ago sitting by the Haagen Daaz in front of the theater, and all of the sudden a gang fight broke out.

I'm confess I'll be a bit sorry to see the Union Station theaters go, but if the upkeep has gotten worse and if the patrons have gotten so out of control that people don't go to the theaters then it is a problem of both the people who go to the theater for letting idiots to hijack other people's movie-watching experience and the theater management for not getting a lid on it.

I have been to the Greenbelt Academy once to watch "Ghost Rider" and I confess it was not a confortable experience with people cursing and acting rudely. See, there is a fine line between interactive movie-watching and people acting out of control. Management at the Academy was seemingly non-responsive at best.

Now, let me point out that the same level of knuckleheaded attitude can be seen in "suburban" (which seems in this discussion to have become a code-word for white) movie theaters. I remember once watching this movie at the Eisenhower Theaters and this idiot was screaming every two lines of dialogue "What a faggy!" referring to a character in the movie, to the detriment of every one in the movie theater.

I currently patronize the Muvico Egyptian as it is close to where I live, and I have seen middle-class suburbanite (and yes, white) kids act as bad as the people that go to to the Union Station theaters. I've seen people give unecessary commentary, prop their sandal covered or bare feet over the stadium-type seats something which I, at 6'8" never do, etc. However the theater's management have kept things more or less under control.

The point of this long diatribe is that while the problems at the Union Station also happen at other theaters, it seems that the Union Station theaters, especially after the AMC franchise went to another company, had been too lax about disrupting patrons, to the detriment of what was once considered and enjoyable, albeit off-beat experience.

Posted by: Kruhnn | September 16, 2008 2:39 PM

Well on one side, I've not been to the Union Station theaters in at least three years as I live by Annapolis now. However I remembered Union Station had two things going for it, easy Metro access and the interactive crowds. I watched "Reign of Fire" and let's say I haven't laughed harder in my lifetime.

The down side of the theater, its terrible upkeep and the violence. I remember once waiting for a movie about 4 -5 years ago sitting by the Haagen Daaz in front of the theater, and all of the sudden a gang fight broke out.

I'm confess I'll be a bit sorry to see the Union Station theaters go, but if the upkeep has gotten worse and if the patrons have gotten so out of control that people don't go to the theaters then it is a problem of both the people who go to the theater for letting idiots to hijack other people's movie-watching experience and the theater management for not getting a lid on it.

I have been to the Greenbelt Academy once to watch "Ghost Rider" and I confess it was not a confortable experience with people cursing and acting rudely. See, there is a fine line between interactive movie-watching and people acting out of control. Management at the Academy was seemingly non-responsive at best.

Now, let me point out that the same level of knuckleheaded attitude can be seen in "suburban" (which seems in this discussion to have become a code-word for white) movie theaters. I remember once watching this movie at the Eisenhower Theaters and this idiot was screaming every two lines of dialogue "What a faggy!" referring to a character in the movie, to the detriment of every one in the movie theater.

I currently patronize the Muvico Egyptian as it is close to where I live, and I have seen middle-class suburbanite (and yes, white) kids act as bad as the people that go to to the Union Station theaters. I've seen people give unecessary commentary, prop their sandal covered or bare feet over the stadium-type seats something which I, at 6'8" never do, etc. However the theater's management have kept things more or less under control.

The point of this long diatribe is that while the problems at the Union Station also happen at other theaters, it seems that the Union Station theaters, especially after the AMC franchise went to another company, had been too lax about disrupting patrons, to the detriment of what was once considered and enjoyable, albeit off-beat experience.

Posted by: Kruhnn | September 16, 2008 2:40 PM

It was nice in the beginning, when it was still AMC. From 1989 till the mid-nineties, I used to go there on Saturday afternoons. The whole food court was packed in those days. (I gather it isn't anymore?)

The only problem I experienced was during "Necessary Roughness" in 1990 when the kids in the audience screamed so loud during the climax it was physically painful!

I suppose the rowdiness and hooliganism is why, in the '60s and early '70s, every neighborhood movie theater would close a few years after the last white people left the neighborhood.

Posted by: WSL | September 16, 2008 4:00 PM

Not a suprise- same reason they shut down Harbor Park theater in Baltimore. It became a haven for drunks, pot smoking and rowdy behavior. Inner city people complain they don't have anything, you give them something nice, and they destroy it. Sad.

Posted by: Dave | September 17, 2008 6:35 PM

Whoever thought that a movie cineplex catering to blacks could possibly remain open is a bigger fool than any educator who things the same type of kid can be taught in a school setting.....When will the liberals wake up to the fact that genetic counseling and birth prohibition is all that can be done at the moment.....It is a genetic problem, not CLASS PROBLEM.....GENETICS DETERMINED THAT CLASS AND NOBODY CAN DO A THING ABOUT IT......EUGENICS IS THE ONLY ANSWER BUT WHO WOULD DARE APPROACH THAT TOPIC....

Posted by: ken | September 17, 2008 10:37 PM

I hereby give "ken" the Biggest Misdirected Overreaction Award for this thread.

Posted by: Lindemann | September 18, 2008 7:38 AM

I personally know one of the employees a this theatre and she loves working their, true a lot has changed, but some of the things she said was mention on this blog isn’t true she has worked at this location since 2000 and she says the panhandling doesn’t happen in the theatre the security guards that work for the theater don’t harass customers, all of this is happening in the mall. Which has nothing to do with the movie theatre. If you take the movie theatre out of the mall it will not stop this, it may bring more of the same . More people more problems. The theatre is a place people waiting for a train or a bus can go to pass the time, where locals go to grab something to eat and catch the latest flick. True the movie business has seen better days, but that’s all over not just at Union Station. Taking the movie theatre from Union Station is taking something from all of us. It has been here for so long. I’ve been going to the movies down there since before I evened live in DC. My family use to come, and we would go to the museums, and maybe the Capitol, and our last stop would always be dinner and a movie down at Union Station. If this is true, that the theatre will be closing, it’s a sad day for DC.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 12:51 PM

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