Friday, May 25, 2007

A helluva town

The exterminator took a look through my gruesome collection of mounted buggies and said, "None of these are bedbugs." He didn't know what some of them were, and he couldn't say what might have bitten me last week, but he did give me hope. Maybe I don't have bedbugs after all! Maybe this has all been an exercise in pointless paranoia! Or a sort of emergency drill. Or just a good opportunity to clean and declutter (I bagged and tossed a lot of things that I would probably have had difficulty getting rid of under less dire circumstances). Maybe I will soon be able to return to normalcy, aside from the lasting psychological damage that this episode has caused!

The NYT has an interesting article about a multimedia exhibit at Grand Central Terminal that runs through June. The article mentions a number of classic films (including The Clock) set in NYC that have informed, and continue to inform, the way Americans imagine and experience the city. I can name a few others that the article doesn't mention: I think of The Apartment whenever I'm in a big, impersonal office building, or on a side street in the West 60s, even though not much of it takes place outdoors. And every time I pass Macy's, or drive through Columbus Circle, I think of It Should Happen to You. And A Thousand Clowns found some great locations in Central Park that I didn't even know about!

My personal impression of New York (and Manhattan in particular) was mainly shaped by the two early-1980s movies my sister and I used to rent at Electric City Video every time our parents went out for the evening: Annie and The Muppets Take Manhattan. Whenever I'm looking for an address in Midtown, I think of that scene in Annie where the orphans arrive at "Number 1 Fifth Avenue!" and then realize they have to go all the way to [a very high number]. Which they do, because they're just that plucky. And the Muppets' adventures taught me to regard Manhattan (wherever that was) as a fantastical place, full of colorful Greek restaurateurs and catcalling construction workers and imperious Broadway producers and smug advertising executives and muggers on roller skates. And rats. Pretty accurate, in other words. (Current New Yorkers can catch it this week at midnight at Landmark Sunshine Cinema!)

So I ask you: what's your favorite New York film? What movie makes you want to come here, or makes you glad you are here? (Or makes you want to stay away? That Gregory-Hines-on-skates scene is pretty intense. NYC was rough in the early 80s.) Please share with the class.

No comments: