All Things New York City

Posts made in July, 2013

The Empire State Building: A Classic in Its Own Right

By on Jul 9, 2013 in Entertainment

This blog post was originally posted by Titania Plant on Classic Flick Chick – Thanks Titania for collaborating with us!  New York City has played a pivotal role in cinema from its inception nearly a century ago. Many actors found their way from Broadway to Hollywood. Performers who would be famous the world over grew up in its burroughs, composed in Tin Pan Alley, and idolized the Times Square as the mecca for becoming a star on the stage. Certainly New York City has remained an important landmark and tourist attraction in and of itself, but when tourists come from all corners of the world to see the Big Apple, they are drawn to the architecture. The iconography of New York City is readily identifiable with such remarkable buildings as the Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, the Woolworth Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building, but most significantly, The Empire State Building. Deborah Kerr describes it as “the closest thing to heaven”, the world’s largest ape climbs to its apex in a spectacular moment, and Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as sailors on leave hide their fellow shipmate from some angry NYPD officers. King Kong and An Affair to Remember are two films which feature the Empire State Building on a large scale. Within these films, the building becomes almost like a character. The Empire State Building becomes something which acts as a catalyst or even a metaphor for the grandiose scale of the issues at hand. It can help establish the scene as New York City (since most Hollywood films were primarily shot on back lots in California), or become an important setting for characters. While not a film, the Empire State Building deserves the title of classic nonetheless, having served as the backdrop for some of Hollywood’s most iconic cinematic moments. Featured in more than 250 films throughout the years, filmmakers have expanded the building’s impact beyond just New York, impressing it upon the consciousness of the entire world. Perhaps the most famous of its popular cultural representations came just two years after the building was completed in 1931. The original King Kong (1933) featured an image of the Empire State Building not easily forgotten – a giant ape holding a tiny blonde actress...

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs Record Music Video Atop Empire State Building

By on Jul 1, 2013 in Entertainment

Since its completion in 1931, the Empire State Building has been a popular tourist destination, a romantic proposal spot, and the site of multiple famous movie scenes.  However, for the first time in its 82-year history, it was recently home to an indie rock performance when the Yeah Yeah Yeahs recorded a video for their single, “Despair.” From 2 a.m. to just past sunrise on a windy night in April, the New York trio performed 86 floors up as a crew of only two dozen looked on.  The shoot was kept secret for logistical and creative reasons, but also included a pre-shoot at a nearby Irish pub and ended with a helicopter buzzing the skyline. Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings and operator of the Empire State Building, says that it’s about time a music video was shot on the observation deck. “The way I look at it is, why hadn’t this been done before?” he said. “Credit to them for having the gumption to ask.” He also believes that agreeing to the shoot will keep the iconic building fresh in the public consciousness, thereby avoiding a static image.  He agreed to the video “to make sure that the Empire State Building isn’t frozen in people’s minds in ‘An Affair to Remember’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ — we’re live, we’re vibrant, we’re 82 years young.” Although the Yeah Yeah Yeahs weren’t the first group to have approached the building’s managers about shooting there, they were the first to meet the strict requirements for production.  Malkin stated that the song content had to be approved and considered appropriate for the building, which “Despair” was found to be.  Despite its title, he considered the song uplifting with its message about overcoming despair and therefore appropriate to be singing in the wind on the observation deck. The band’s lead singer, Karen O, couldn’t help but feel that the iconic moment was a symbolic representation of everything the band had achieved.  Despite never having been atop the building before, it really hit home for her that 10 years ago the trio had been sitting in an NYC dive bar thinking of what to name their band and now they were performing at the...

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