Kudos to Karen Heller for reminding us how excessive the holiday season has become ("'Tis the lengthy season of our sordid excess," Dec. 18). The only thing she didn't consider was renaming the season to reflect its promotion of conspicuous consumption. It should be called Giftma$ instead of Christmas. Just think how crazy the marketing moguls could go with that.
Michael Miller Jr., Philadelphia, email@example.com
A better you for '14
As people ponder resolutions for 2014, may I suggest that we all resolve to have a passion for whatever we undertake in our lives - and to carry out our responsibilities with gusto and enthusiasm?
Edwin E. Scully, Philadelphia,
Even lottery winners don't make lists of the richest Americans today. But, really, no one needs the $120 million that one winner netted, much less the total $648 million jackpot from last week. When I think of how all those dollars could be used - just consider reports on increasing hunger and poverty in our backyard - I feel a sense of deep sadness about our nation's priorities.
Marie Conn, Hatboro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Be it ever so humble
State House Speaker Sam Smith's effort to reform Harrisburg by reducing the number of state lawmakers is a bad idea. A smaller legislative body would concentrate power in even fewer hands, leading to more corruption, if that's possible. What Pennsylvania needs is a return to a part-time legislature. Better yet would be a volunteer legislature like New Hampshire's.
Tom McCarey, Berwyn, email@example.com
One plan after another to restore the Boyd Theater has failed because the economics of renovating and reusing this historic facility in its current configuration simply don't make sense anymore. Until now, no one has seized on the opportunity to restore a 2,300-seat theater in modern Rittenhouse Square. That's because Philadelphia is well-served by other theaters, the large movie palace is a venue without utility today, and other uses (concert arenas, wedding halls) would not generate sufficient revenue to cover the renovation costs.
But iPic-Gold Class Entertainment has presented a plan that uses a modern, multiscreen cinema experience, is supported by the vast majority of residents in a vibrant Center City neighborhood with no movie theaters, preserves the historic facade and a sample of the interior architecture, and ensures the shuttered building a future. The renovated property would provide jobs, pay more in taxes, and spur development, which the current, blighted asset has halted. The iPic proposal is sensible and should be encouraged.
Richard A. Gross, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
All or nothing
As a great city steeped in historical significance, Philadelphia seems poised to turn its back on one of the 20th century's greatest monuments to American ingenuity. How can a city that claims to treasure the past even think of allowing the demolition of the Boyd Theater's auditorium?
For 10 years, working with a national preservation group, I visited theaters and consulted on their preservation and reuse. In cities both large and small, historic theaters are being saved as cultural icons and as economic engines. But the value of these architectural wonders is in their wholeness; the facade alone does not speak to the Boyd's architectural merit.
It would be an embarrassment to allow any redevelopment of the Boyd that does not honor and respect the entire building. The eyes of the nation's preservation community are on Philadelphia.