Thursday, July 17, 2008

Let's Talk Movies About New York

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Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

My friend Ellen knows my passion for Rome is equal to my love for New York, so she thoughtfully emailed me details of a recent screening of "Roman Holiday" at the World Financial Center Winter Garden.* Sure enough, the many wonderful scenes of Audrey Hepburn dashing around Rome against the backdrop of the eternal city's many historic sites made me think--how about a story on my favorite New York movies.

I become giddy with expectation when I see a movie like "Sex and the City" filmed on location in New York, because it inevitably reminds me once more how astonishingly beautiful this city is. Yes, I know there's Paris, but Paris, wonderful as it is, is nothing like New York.

Do you recall Jerry Petrasek's story about running the New York Marathon last fall? Particularly the part where he describes his first visit; when he was finally able to fulfill a long held desire to get out of a cab in front of Tiffany's, walk to the window and look in while holding a paper cup of coffee like Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (if not, click here). I thought at the time-- Gee, I didn't know anyone else was caught in the web that movie so successfully spins.

Then when Postcard photographer, Joseph Knight mentioned a retired Tiffany employee once told him the most frequently asked question of store employees was "On what floor is breakfast served," I felt--it was time.

In anticipation of disappointment because I have not included one or more of your favorite movies, next month I will publish a list of Postcard Reader's Favorite New York Movies. So stay tuned and please, email me your favorites at

My absolute number one, of course--

1. "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Taxi styles may have changed, yet everything seems immediately familiar--the brownstone on the Upper East Side, walk-ups, fire escapes, brass-plated mailboxes, corporate skyscrapers along Park Avenue, running up the steps of the Fifth Avenue library, and the comfortable clutter of Woolworth's.

2. "Wall Street." Its edgy frenetic energy captures New York's gritty pace, while Michael Douglas gives his most brilliant performance in the character of Gordon Gekko.

3. "Annie Hall," received the Oscar for Best Picture, notice the difference between New York's skyline in 1978 and now.

4. "When Harry Met Sally," will we ever forget Meg Ryan's scene in the famous Lower East Side Deli, Katz's?

5. "Superman," my favorite super-hero fights for truth and justice. The scene in the lobby of the Daily News ( the Daily Planet in the movie) building on 42nd Street with the huge globe in the floor surrounded by large clocks where Lois and Clark get caught in the revolving doors is memorable as I walk by there almost everyday. Ahh! The aerial views of the city when Superman takes Lois for an airborme ride around town.

6. "Hannah and Her Sisters." Woody Allen truly is a master at capturing the city's essence.

7. "Working Girl." Ohh, that wonderful opening scene shot from a helicopter of the Staten Island Ferry sailing New York Harbor, with a close-up 360 of the Statue of Liberty and the soaring beauty of the World Trade Towers. You can feel the breeze when Tess McGill hangs over the rail on the outside deck. The hair may be over but she continues to be a familiar face on city streets.

8. "The Out-of-Towners"--The Goldie Hawn, Steve Martin version. I never saw the original. "An only in New York" experience with a cameo appearance by then mayor Rudy Guiliani eyeing the couple from the window of Tavern on the Green.

9. "The French Connection." That insane subway chase scene gets me crazy just thinking about it. My favorite Gene Hackman film.

10. "Crossing Delancey." Wonderful scenes of Lower Manhattan.

11. "The Way We Were." Sad, romantic, the relationship between Katie and Hubbell forever memorable for those scenes on the streets of the city.

12. "Three Men and a Baby." The brownstone everyone can imagine owning.

13. "The Interpreter," filmed in my neighborhood around the United Nations, features an area usually overlooked by filmmakers.

14. "Inside Man." Spike Lee like Woody has an uncanny eye for great architectural locations.

15. "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," the chemistry between Matt and Kate make them my choice for most romantic movie couple for the decade.

16. "Crossing Lanes." How about the opening scene in the Temple of Dendar?

17. "Die Hard: With a Vengeance," a bomb in the subway--every rider's secret nightmare. My kinda action movie with the man--John McClane. Love those congested city traffic takes and the hair-raising taxi drive through Central Park.

Okay, now how about your favorites? Enjoy the memories.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

* For those of you in the Boston area "Roman Holiday" can be seen at Boston Common August 27, for details click here.

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