58th Street is a cinematic street.
Walking down this street I think of only one thing – the MOVIES. I think The Godfather, I think Woody Allen, I think Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Robert de Niro. I think Moonstruck, I think Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Cher.
The number of movies actually set in New York? It’s, like, bajillions. And they’re all here, on this street. Everything from thrillers, to period dramas to romantic comedies. Hell, one of the biggest media companies – Time Warner, has its headquarters here. And the street is also known to THE most dramatic intersection of all – 5th Avenue at Central Park, where the Plaza Hotel stands, preening, across from Bergdorf Goodman and APPLE.
I could just recount movies that these places on 58th Street remind me of. But that wouldn’t fun. What would be more fun, I thought, was to think of the movies that could have been – the imaginary movies that could have been shot in these locations.
At the Western edge of the street by the Hudson River, the architecture is tense, edgy and post-industrial. I think of the TV series 24 – starring Kiefer Sutherland. I wonder how it would’ve been like if it were made into a movie – let’s call it 24 Hours. This is the perfect location for stark, disorienting thriller about terrorism. Let’s just hope the hero prevails.
Further in, along and around Broadway sits Time Warner, Trump Tower, and other vertigo-inducing headquarters of major media and other corporations. I’m thinking the movie Columbus Circle – the media equivalent to Wall Street. This is a tale about coming of age, money, power, corruption. Oh and sex. LOTS of sex.
Past Broadway is Henry James country. Here we set a period drama called Park Lane. It’s a tale of love and family, set in early 20th century New York. There is the mafia. There are the furs and the pearls. There is Sofia (Coppola), heir to Francis. It’s a spectacular combination.
The Plaza Hotel appears immediately after, like surreal vision. This is the set of a Woody Allen caper that never was. I call it POP – it’s a mix of Bullets Over Broadway, Matchpoint, and Sex and the City; a commentary on the shallow materialism of life in New York. There’s a kind of love story which ends in disaster. There’s a serious crime that goes unavenged. And everyone discovers at the end of the movie that they’re stuck in a kind of rut. Its jet black.
Past Park Ave, we got a French Arthouse Movie. Correction. French-German arthouse collaboration called, aptly enough, Auf France. It’s a love story of course – New York City is the city of lovers, after all; Paris is so 19th century. It’s a story about two lonely expatriates in the City, one French and one German. Somehow they find themselves drawn to each other, despite, or perhaps because of the insurmountable existential difficulties of making a life in NYC.
Finally, at the edge of the street again, overlooking the East River, we have a sci-fi flick, Stonehenge 2058, telling the story of two people in a post-nuclear, post-apocalyptic Manhattan. The movie recounts the challenges they face in starting a new life and a new community together, and in so doing, also reveal mankind’s strengths and weaknesses.
Grab the popcorn, and let’s begin.