April 20, 2012

Grand Central Terminal, circa 1950.

Grand Central Terminal, circa 1950.

New York is still restless and dynamic, ideal for the constantly moving images that make a movie. It’s certainly a place of action but compared to a film such as Taxi Driver, where desaturated color accentuated the city’s 1970s grubbiness, the old black-and-white classics were poetry in motion. The city is still fast-paced, but for how long? No one talks anymore, except to a contraption. Obama’s people have made sure that New York City and the United States will become a new people:  people from Africa, Mexico, and the Far East. The gates to mass immigration are open and will stay open for another four years once Obama is reelected. Coming through immigration I was welcomed in Greek and I was wished a happy Easter. The officer was the only white man in the booths, a burly Greek.

Last week I went over to Michael Mailer’s house in Brooklyn Heights. The driver was Eastern European but polite. For a moment I was back watching Manhattan Melodrama, or Manhattan, or better yet, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Or Pickup on South Street, Miracle on 34th Street, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.

Noo Yawk is a movie, and Brooklyn still has some parts of that black-and-white movie that made the city larger than life and a place that defines glamour, danger, adventure, and romance. More than sixty years after I first laid eyes on the place, I am still in awe—but of the past, not of the present. “Remember the Biltmore!” is my rallying cry.



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