Thursday, November 5, 2009

return to the city place 10 theatres

Concession Stand, AMC City Place 10 (1)
The last time I visited the AMC City Place 10 was in 1999, on a sixth-grade field trip to see Baby Geniuses (educational, right?). For members of White Oak Middle School's Teen Club, trips to the AMC represented a first taste of freedom, an opportunity to see the latest PG-13 rated flicks with parents far, far away. (There were rumors that the more mature students were engaging in sexual activity during these movie outings, but in ten years I have never heard anything to confirm this.)

When the Majestic and the Silver Theatre opened in 2004, there were ten glorious months in which a filmgoer in Silver Spring had a choice of thirty-three screens within a single city block, but of course this could not be sustained. And it was the City Place 10, already out-of-date barely a decade after it opened, that would bite the dust.

A (work-related) tour of City Place Mall yesterday culminated in a visit to the AMC City Place 10, looking much like it did when it unceremoniously closed five years ago. Silver Spring's lost a fair amount of its history (miss you, Armory) through redevelopment, but this is one piece of its recent past that's been basically preserved in amber.

Everything is there: the awful pink-and-green color scheme, the chairs in the auditoriums (intact, and still usable, as I can attest from sitting in one), even the popcorn machines at the concession stand. What most people who visit City Place haven't seen is that the place has basically become a greenhouse for the rest of the mall, with all of its potted plants stored in the theatre lobby. Aside from that, the theatre's in such good shape that you could screen The Matrix tomorrow and no one would think anything of it.

So check out these fuzzy, camera-phone photos of the City Place 10 That Was. Do you have any fond memories of this place? Can you make some up just to feel the sweet embrace of nostalgia?

10 comments:

Sligo said...

I have not-so-fond memories of cleaning that very popcorn machine at 1AM on Sunday mornings. Unfortunately, one of my high school jobs was working the concession stand at the Shitty Place 10.

Incidentally, Baby Geniuses is one of the worst movies of all time, and that's saying a lot.

WashingtonGardener said...

So WHY don't let they let it be used for AFI Silverdocs each June? (The Silverdocs folks have been BEGGING THEM to use those screens) Or for weekend church services? At least use it for something in the meantime.

WashingtonGardener said...

I do have one hilarious memory at a midnight showing of Single White Female there - but it is more of the you-had-to-be-there kind. One day I'll re-enact it for folks when the theater re-opens.

Sligo said...

I just cant believe they didn't take out the soda and popcorn machines. Who owns that stuff now?

Dan Reed said...

Ask Petrie-Ross, the owners. Don't know if they were joking or not, but they made it sound like I could take that popcorn machine home tonight if I wanted.

Sligo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sligo said...

Duh, ignore that last comment... meant to post on my own blog!

As far as the popcorn machine goes, I want it for my basement.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I used to go to the first showing of movies on Saturday morning. Fairly regularly, a group of special needs folks would be brought to the movies. When it was folks with Down's and similar conditions, it was kind of sweet. I had some nice conversations in the ticket and concession lines. Occasionally, though, people with more significant conditions would come in. You'd be trying to watch a movie and a group of people would be there yelling, thrashing around, and doing things entirely independent of what was going on on screen. I swear their caregivers must have just been parking them there because these folks weren't following the movie even vaguely.

simonator said...

Just to point out that the Silver RE opened in 2004. I'm old enough to have gone to the KB-Silver theater. Taking the Ride-On bus there while I was in Junior High was a nice bit of independence.

Kevin W. said...

Oh, I definitely have nostalgia for this theater. I think the first thing I saw there was Aladdin. Got to see Lion King around 1:00am the morning before it was to premiere, my friend's sis worked there and let us join her and the coworkers. Must have been there two dozen times at least.

AMC used to have student tickets for like $4.50 back then, so I went to a lot more movies than I do now. (DVDs hadn't even been invented yet, let alone 46 inch LCD TVs!)

While City Place itself was downmarket but still popular in the mid 90s, the parking garage across the street had already developed a reputation for crime. Never had anything happen to me there, but it was rather barren and sketchy. I think it's interesting that the garage was torn down, only to be replaced by another one of similar height/width. It's almost as if the old one had bad juju and they had to cleanse the site.