By ALEIX GWILLIAM
New York City is possibly the most famous city on the planet, mainly as it has been the setting for thousands of films. Here are some to see before your next trip.
New York is a city that draws people to it like few other cities around the world can. Frank Sinatra once famously said, “I want to be part of it”, and that applies to the hundreds of thousands of tourists who rent New York apartments every year. Aside from the obvious landmarks in the city, which everyone knows about, people want to visit New York because they have seen the city in films. From Lights of New York, the first all-talking movie to be released, in 1928 to The Avengers, released this year, hundreds of movies have used New York as their setting. What is it about this city that makes filmmakers want to shoot their movies there? Why does New York attract so many tourists and expats?
The answer can be as diverse as the number of people who come to New York. There’s no exact answer. One premise they might agree on is that New York is a cool city, a city where everything can happen. Or perhaps it’s due to the United States’ overwhelming movie production power that spreads all over the world, which makes it far more probable for the general public to watch a film set in New York and not in Ouagadougou.
Woody Allen showed its more personal side in Manhattan (1979). Allen is in love with the city and in this film he wanted to show it in its full splendor, showing its buildings, streets and people in the nicest possible way. It would be surprising if anyone had watched Manhattan and wouldn’t feel impressed with the city. However, some movies show its darker but thrilling sides, such as Martin Scorses’ Taxi Driver (1976). Scorsese is just as big a lover of New York City as Allen, but he uses the city as a stage, not as a trophy.
When it comes to superheroes, fantastic stories and action movies, New York City probably takes the biscuit. King Kong (1933) famously climbed the Empire State building and since the comic book boom in the mid-20th century took place, Spider-Man (2002) climbed his way through the skyscrapers all the way to his home in Queens, Captain America saved lives in the Lower East Side and the Ghostbusters (1984) saved the city’s streets from evil. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be the same if the mafia in The Godfather III (1990) was set in Tulsa, OK, or if John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977) was dancing in the clubs in Albuquerque, NM, now would it?
To summarize, New York is a magical city. It doesn’t have the old charm of certain European cities or the exoticness of some parts of Asia but it definitely has that je ne sais quoi, which makes it irresistible for the traveller. With so many movies for all tastes being set in New York, it’s within everyone’s reach to see it, learn about it, and finally enjoy it on location.
Inspire yourself to visit New York with one of the many movies set in the city. For accommodation, nothing’s better than apartments in New York, which will give you the freedom you need to immerse yourself in the city like a local.
Aleix Gwilliam is a 24-year-old from Barcelona who looks English but thinks like a Catalan. He enjoys travelling, especially on old Czech trains, and trying to start conversations in Hungarian with people at Pecs station, even though his Hungarian is as good as his Bulgarian, in other words, not very good. He’s a trier.