Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New and old New York

I have this image in my mind of Woody Allen zooming around in a car, I'm thinking driven by Diane Keaton in Manhattan. I'm not sure, and Google is really letting me down on this one. Why do I mention it? Well, living in New York, and seeing the romanticized version of Manhattan, you immediately come face to face with some key facts. Most people I know cannot afford the kinds of apartments that the characters live in. And the people I do know who live in such apartments tend not to be working in the kinds of jobs Woody Allen's characters tend to favor. No matter, for me romanticized is good. Shot in gorgeous black and white, Woody Allen makes New York seem as romantic as Paris (and of course that means bittersweet heartbreak as well, a key to Parisian romance, no?) I love watching on a big screen where I am submerged in the image, and even the generic New York street backgrounds come alive with magic and, yes, seem so romantic...

Cut to colour, and me driving in my Mini around Manhattan. It's not only the stuff of cinema. I've been parking the car here for the summer, and so when the other day the Aged P was in town, I decided to pick him up at the airport. So there I was doing the crosstown on 125th and over the Triborough (now Robert Kennedy) bridge. And the journey back! Crossing the bridge, the skyline, and above all just driving along the street like a tracking shot (filmmakers, correct me here please!), except that you're not watching a screen, nor craning your neck from the backseat of a taxi, but watching the city unfold from the drivers seat. Delis, nail salons, pharmacies, hotels. apartment building marquees, glimmer and garbage each finding their place.

Yes, I might as well confess it...

[cue the Gershwin]
I adore New York City. 
Idolize it all out of proportion. "

Uh, no. Make that "Romanticize it
all out of proportion. "

"To me,
no matter what the season was,

this is still a town
that exists in black and white

and pulsates to the great tunes
of George Gershwin. "

Uh... no. Let me start this over.

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