Everyone loves the plan for a new Alamo Drafthouse to occupy Manhattan’s long-struggling Metro Theatre (2626 Broadway, between 99th and 100th) by sometime next year. This is especially good news at a time when the classic theatrical experience seems to be in decline, at least in terms of the quality of the audience. It’s no secret that more and more theatres are attracting uncouth texting hordes while more and more discriminating types are opting for digital downloads at home.
Most of the patrons of the Metro Drafthouse, I’m guessing, will be Columbia University cineastes — a good fit given the famous “no talking” policy enforced by Alamo Drafthouse management. But ask anyone who’s ever lived on the Upper West Side and has seen a film or two with an urban audience, and they’ll tell you there’s a fundamental rift waiting to happen. The Alamo guys are going to have to ease up. No talking among patrons, perhaps, but “commenting on the action” and “talking back to the screen” will have to skate.
Less than a year ago N.Y. Times reporter Julie Satow wrote that Albert Bialek, owner of Manhattan’s long-struggling Metro Theatre (2626 Broadway, between 99th and 100th Street) was “in discussions to convert the Metro into a new home for Wingspan Arts, a 10-year-old nonprofit group that provides arts education for some 6,000 students in New York City, New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut.” Where’d that one go?