ONE DAY IN NEW YORK (IN 1965)
I can't tell you how Goddam sick I am of walking the streets of New York and getting bumped into by people who are staring at their I-phones. Imagine walking around the most beautiful city in the world and staring instead at that little screen with its ugly e-mail graphics. (When will e-mail's look be updated? It's getting so musty that it almost feels period). I often make a practice of counting the number of people on their phones within a given area. The other day I counted seven on one block. My son and I once did this while walking from West 4th Street to Union Square and by the time we were descending into the subway, had passed one-hundred.
Amazingly, none of this crap was going on before 2008. I can't remember a world anymore where people weren't glued to their phones, but it really wasn't all that long ago. Back up even further into the above video, which shows 8mm home movies of Manhattan in 1965 (when I was one year old and a resident of the island) and you'll enter another age, one of people looking at each other and at passing sites. The home movies are largely of tourist attractions--United Nations, Empire State, Chinatown etc.--but don't get bogged down in that part (unless you're actually interested, that is). Instead, find the shots of the crowds, the faces, the mysterious unknown people moving through their everyday lives on this one day in a Manhattan that looks just a little friendlier, more home-townish and--above all--free of the wretched thing that we are now hopelessly addicted too--the thing that we turn around and head back home for when, God forbid, we forget to take it. I know because I've done this.
By the way--the footage is silent so I suggest playing the below music while watching.
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 11:17 AM