29 August 2006

New York: Not as Bad Off as You Thought!

I was watching the Doris Day-Rock Hudson film "Pillow Talk" last night (no jokes, please). Whatever else it is, it's a fine cinematic document of Manhattan in the late '50s, shot in glorious living color.

There's a sequence where Rock is conning Doris by posing as a Texan romancing her through the city on a series of dates. At one point there is, of course, a montage. Now, I spend most of my time on this blog bemoaning lost New York, but I was fairly stunned by the reality put forth by "Pillow Talk"—that much of what was great about the city then is still around today: Radio City Music Hall, Roseland, Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, the UN, Central Park hansom cabs, Times Square neon, Wall Street, Rockefeller Center's skating rink, Bowling Green, the Intrepid, the Circle Line and more. Even that old statue of mayor Abraham De Peyster downtown. The snapshots went on and on and my gaze grew wider as I thought: Golly, every one of those things is still here (save the Fulton Fish Market). New York's not as bad off as I thought. It's a hard thought for a curmudgeon like myself to swallow.

But, then, I watched "Where the Sidewalk Ends," a film noir from 1950, in which Dana Andrews buys a ticket at the old Penn Station, and I thought: God Damn the Bastards, they tore it down! And they'll do it again if they get the chance!

"The Palm Beach Story" has the same effect on me.

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