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Grand Opening of Magic Johnson Theater

by Crystal Little
Photos by Khalid Muhammad

Read HarlemLive Staffers' Opinions on the New MJ Theater


On June 30 th, Magic Johnson turned over Magic Johnson theaters to the Harlem community. The new state of the art lined with glass windows holds nine screens and 2,000white sitsfor people to sit back and enjoy the hottest new movies out.What made this event so special was that a man of color gave back to the community . There were brief speeches given by many people involved with the development of the theater including Manhattan borough President, C. Virginia Fields. At this late morning ceremony many awards were given to Mr. Johnson including a proclamation from a mayoral representative given on behalf of the city.

After Mr. Johnson's thank you speech, the ceremony ended with white cnfetti filling 124th street as a marching band began to play. Craig Roberts,President of the Magic Johnson foundation said " I think that this isn't just a place for seeing movies, it's a place for holding community meetings and a safe place for teens to hang out. I think it's going to help everybody in this community ".

The Boys Choir Academy of Harlem gave a exciting perfromance. Michael Carey,President of the economic Development Cooperation, was there to enjoy the festivities.He said " This project provides services in the form of entertainment and helps makes other stores in this area more sucsessful.

Some people from the communty just looked at the state of the art theater as a gift from Magic to them and they really appreceated it . Other people said , "It is was just another movie theater".

from Malik Wilson:

The Magic Theater on 125th is very clean. When we got there, they had a podium display stand that shows when the movies are playing. When you buy the tickets there's a large bullet proof window between you and the teller. We had to take about two or three escalators to get to our movie. I happen to be making jokes with a member of HarlmeLive about the theater and the lady told me that she could have me thrown out if I don't stop clowning, I thought that was kind of rude. Then the food stand was close because they were taking pictures of the food stand. That took about 30 minutes. The theater is nice roomy and the screen is great.

One thing that he has to lose is that after-school special type commercial about the theater. At one point the sound was coming out of only one side. That was crazy, but it only lasted for about a minute. The prices are extremely high and I would think that if he put the theater in "our" community then he should have reasonable price.

For those type of prices I mine as well good to 84th and Broadway and see a movie.Don't come to the community with prices like that. One more thing I was seating in my chair when I noticed that I had no arm rest and I was forced to move and sit somewhere else.

I hope that the movie theater does well in "Harlem USA". I know for myself I will not be going there unless I want to catch a last minute movie and I'm in the neighborhood. But, the spot that's popping is on 42nd Street, all the teenagers go there to catch a movie, eat, play video games, and hang out. Harlem USA, after you go to the movie you ready to go home that's it. But on 42nd Street you go to a movie you can do something else.

I understand that they are trying to bring money into the community but what people are doing is taking the flavor out of 125th Street. Back in the day all the rappers were out there. You had the Apollo, and you can do your shopping for clothes. You can still do that but it's just becoming to commercial.

from Tiffany Ransom:

I think that the Movie theater is long overdue. I think that Harlem, especially 125th St., needed to have some sort of recreation. I also think that it's nice that a person of color tried to help the people in a community that the majority in community are African American. There is something that I find a little troubling.

First of all I am wondering why there is bullet proof glass on the outside of the theater. I hope that they don't think that just because they are in a black neighborhood there will be shots fired and the patrons will be in danger. If this is not true then I would like to know why they are there and why they don't have the bullet proof glass downtown.

Magic Johnson Theater

2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd.

New York, NY 10027




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