Is It Time to Tear Down the Boyd Theater?

The Philadelphia Historical Commission holds hearings on Tuesday.

This is the old Boyd Theater on the 1900 block of Chestnut Street. The once-glorious Art Deco movie theater has been dormant since 2002 and is, we can only begin to imagine, home to a large colony of diseased rats.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Philadelphia Historical Commission is set to hold a hearing about a new plan to convert the old Boyd into a new movie palace of sorts, a modern multi-screen affair that would show big Hollywood blockbusters and sell lots of popcorn. Naturally, the Friends of the Boyd are against this, because they are against pretty much any plan to touch the property.

Here’s a scene from the packed hearing room on Tuesday: I love a good, old school movie theater, and I patronize the Colonial in Phoenixville, the Ambler Theater, and the County Theater in Doylestown whenever I can. I’m also supporting the effort to preserve and revive the Lansdowne Theater in Delaware County.

But the Boyd is a different story. It has been an eyesore for 12 years now, and it wasn’t much better in the years prior. Those rats predated the closing (saw them with my own eyes). There was a hole in the ceiling that would allow a beam of sunlight to land on the screen during daytime screenings. I witnessed one man masturbating and another man shooting up in the seats. And the floor was stickier than the floor at the late Forum porno theater, because they actually cleaned the floor at the Forum.

We’ve had 12 years of failed plans, protests, and further decay.

Here’s what iPic says it will do to the Boyd:

• An eight-screen, 744-seat luxury movie theater

• A restaurant

• Reclining leather chairs

• Pillows and blankets

• Personal servers at the push of a button

• An online reservation system and mobile app

• Hand-crafted cocktails

• 4K digital cinema technology

• Restored historic marquee

Great. I say bring it.

What do you think?

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PHOTO: Megan Madeline Welch