URBAN TEXTURES: BROADWAY AND 88TH IN 1971
Let's take a trip back to 1971 and hang out on the northern mid-block pedestrian island on Broadway and 88th street. One day in that distant, Nixonian, Vietnammish, Laugh-In-soaked year, a fellow named Nicholas West took his camera (8mm? can't tell) and set up in that location for a little pointless people and car watching. As with all old seemingly pointless voyeuristic street footage, it turns out to be a far more valuable document of its time than, say, some narrative feature that did location work in the area but primarily focused on a story that no longer resonates starring actors that are either now forgotten or now remembered for better things. I love the older Upper West Siders who still sport Fedoras, the views of the New Yorker Theater (a snooty-ass foreign film dive as can be gleaned by the bill currently playing) and the slow and clearly pre-determined pan (at 3 minutes) to a perfect of-the-era 'peace sign' drawn on the island's side. A few nice shots of West End Avenue and 89th complete this mysterious reel. Why was it shot? My theory: Mr. West was a student at an upstate college, checked out a camera for the weekend, shot some random street footage in his neighborhood, slammed some space aquarius-era rock behind it and presented it to his film class as a short, titled something like: 'Urban Textures; Broadway Reflections." Just a theory. We'll have to ask Mr. West if it's correct...
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 2:47 PM