Last week over 1,000 people watched a 71-year-old black & white movie in an 83-year-old theatre and had the time of their lives.
Part of that can be chalked up to the magic of the movies, in particular the magic of “Casablanca.” But it was also the continuing yearning people have to find a place to fit in. As much as we exist in the hyper-media world where anyone can download any movie to the palm of their hand at any time, there is still something special when a room full of people get together to share an experience.
Of course it helps when that room is the United Palace’s majestic theatre. Amazingly, when the audience was asked how many people where there for the first time about three-fourths of the room raised their hand.
Of those 1,000 people, a good number of them (100? 200? 300?) were gussied up in tuxedos and gowns for a night on the town. It was the highest concentration of finery in Washington Heights in anyone’s memory. And the memories were long in this audience.
The spectacle began in the foyer where there were trumpeters from SONOS Chamber Orchestra, swing dancers, and a raffle to win prizes, including the chance to take home a life-size cardboard cutout of Humphrey Bogart.
The stage show kicked off with an amazing rendition of “As Time Goes By,” sung by UPCA Founder and President, and the son of Rev. Ike, Xavier Eikerenkoetter. He was accompanied on piano by United Palace Cathedral Music Director Tim McAfee-Lewis.
Read more: We’ll always have “Casablanca,” and the Palace.