Tracy's New York Life | A Blog About Life in New York City

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Movie Night Fever in Bryant Park

by Loretta Di Vita

I'd like to welcome Loretta Di Vita as a guest blogger today. This post takes us back to her cinematic evening in Bryant Park earlier this summer.

Bryant Park transforms into an al fresco cinema. {credit}

Many a movie-goer has experienced the feeling of being engulfed in the 'reality' of a film. For some, it's about identifying strongly with one of the characters; for others, it's connecting to the plot or setting. The feeling can be pretty intense, and some modern-day psychologists are calling the phenomenon a form of "virtual immersion."

Surely that's what I experienced mid-June, on a warm, breezy night in Bryant Park, New York, watching an impossibly young, slinky-hipped John Travolta strutting and preening in the '70s box-office hit, Saturday Night Fever. 

It was the premiere, of sorts, of a six-week series of films, screened outdoors every Monday night in the park. The best way to describe the event is like one big, fat drive-in movie –– only without the cars, and if any canoodling goes on, it's in full view rather than behind a fogged back-seat window. Think of it as an al fresco cinematic celebration. 

Tony Manero boogies on the dance floor in Saturday Night Fever. {credit}

The evening's flick-pick featured Travolta as Tony Manero - hardware clerk by day; dance-floor peacock by night - struggling to cross over from the dead-end gloom of his Brooklyn-based existence to the glitzy promise of Manhattan. While the opening credits rolled over a close-up of Tony's lustrous, red boots hitting the pavement to the synthesized beat of the Bee Gees, "Stayin' Alive," the audience sang along, as if in a mass karaoke jam. Ah-ha-ha-ha, stayin' alive.

Now it's not as though I have any affinity for disco music, or discotheques for that matter, but I suppose a hop-on/hop-off bus tour of Brooklyn, a few hours earlier, set the framework for, well, my immersion. To say the least, it was meta to see the Verrazano Bridge on the huge screen installed in the park, not only a leitmotif in the movie –– a link between despair and hope ––  but also a sight-seeing landmark which I had instagrammed that very day.

I had instagrammed the Verrazano Bridge earlier that day. {credit}

Watching the film, I couldn't help but wonder if any of the other thousands (yes, thousands!) of viewers were feeling what I was feeling. Were my movie-mates just as, um, 'immersed' as me? Were we surfing the same metaphysical wave? Talk about self-reference! Hey everybody, the movie's set in New York, and we're in New York!  

No doubt most of the audience had, at some point, for one reason or another, been to Brooklyn. And probably many of them, sprawled on the park lawn or opting for darling wrought iron chairs on the park perimeter, were commuting Brooklynite professionals, who stopped to watch the movie before returning to their hip brownstones. (Just a thought: Rather ironic how Travolta's character was trying to get out of Brooklyn, and now, everybody's trying to get in.)

Travolta's character was trying to get out of Brooklyn, and now, everybody's trying to get in.

In my altered awareness, I not only felt a connection to the movie, but, in conjunct, to the audience. I was amazed how so many people could respond so similarly to various scenes. It was magic, in a way (or the product of a masterful director brilliant enough to line up all the cinematic elements - actors, props, music, special effects - just right, eliciting communal emotion.) 

I've always found watching a film in a theater with other people more entertaining to me than viewing a DVD at home. Even the combined company of my better half, BFFs and family, doesn't measure up to the collective experience –– with a park full of total strangers –– chuckling at Tony protecting his glossy, black coif getting messed from a fatherly head slap; or getting teary-eyed when one of his going-nowhere friends meets an untimely fate. And all of this under a boundless starry night sky.

By the end of the movie, I felt comfortably re-immersed, and the movie that had felt so 'real,' was now clearly only make-believe. 

I still couldn't be certain if the throng of movie-goers streaming out of the park had been equally absorbed by the film. But surely, we all agreed that it was an entrancing way to spend a summer evening: catching a flick and a cool breeze at the same time, against the backdrop of a New York City night-scape, glittery as a light-reflecting disco ball.

Oh, and did I mention that admission was 'free?' Yes, totally gratis. No strings attached. And that in itself, was refreshing –– and real.

New York is as glittery as a light-reflecting disco ball.

Loretta Di Vita is a corporate consultant and entrepreneur living in Montreal, Quebec. Her writing has been published in the Montreal Gazette, Panoramitalia Magazine, and Accenti magazine. She was the Grand Prize Winner at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in 2011. 


Live on $30K a Year in NYC; Catcalls, Kittens, and Leopards; 5 Neighborhoods Gentrifying Right Now, and More

by Tracy Kaler

Is it possible to live in New York City on $30K a year?

She lived in New York on $30K a year and still stayed stylish. {WhoWhatWear}

Doing good –– Mark Bustos offers free haircuts for homeless on the streets of New York City. {Bored Panda}

Want your NYC landlord to love you? Here's how. {BrickUnderground} 

A New York sanitation worker takes these amazing photos of the city on his work breaks. {Demilked}

A girl's gotta eat! Here are some foodie daycations in and around New York. {Restaurant Girl}

Take a food-filled daycation to the Connecticut Coast.

Broadway has found two new purrfect stars for the revival of You Can't Take It With You. {Daily News}

Check out these deals during Harlem's Restaurant Week. {DNAinfo}

I'm sexy and I know it. Believe it or not, this woman likes catcalls. {NY Post}

These adorable snow leopards have a home in the Bronx.  {Gothamist} 

You're too late for real estate deals in Bushwick or these other four neighborhoods. See what areas of New York City are gentrifying RIGHT NOW. {Curbed}

If you're looking for a deal, it's probably too late to buy in Bushwick, Brooklyn. {credit}

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Network in New York City

by Lauren Malamala

Everyone in this city is linked together in one way or another. Big City. Small town.

I never realized how true the whole “six degrees of separation” concept was until I moved to NYC and began to mix and mingle. Just by talking to people, you start to see that everyone in this city is linked together in one way or another. While some of the benefits of networking can include meeting celebrities or scoring a VIP table at a hot new nightclub, it’s especially important when it comes to finding a job and furthering your career. 

Keep It Cool in 6 NYC Spots Before Summer Ends

by Tracy Kaler

Step into the coolness before summer is officially over.

Summer may be winding down, but the heat is still on for a few more weeks in New York City. You'll close your eyes and be in a down coat in no time, so quit complaining about those hot subway platforms! The fact is we've had a pretty mild summer in the Big Apple, but a few humid days have still managed to sneak in among the picture-perfect. To escape those final heat-infused weeks ahead, step into the coolness and chill out one last time.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Bee's Knees: Fops and Flappers at New York's Jazz Age Lawn Party

by Tracy Kaler

Yesterday, New Yorkers came out in droves to Governor's Island for the final day of the Jazz Age Lawn Party.

Droves of New Yorkers in "Gatsby" fashion showed for the final day of the 9th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island. Despite a rainy morning, the grass dried and the trombones played while the crowd noshed, imbibed, socialized, and frolicked on the idyllic parcel, only minutes by ferry from Lower Manhattan's tip. 

Like other NYC events I attend, the prohibition-era lawn party attracts a diverse sampling of ages and ethnicities. Young and old alike swing and serenade at what might be the city's most civilized party of the year. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Best Of: Success Doesn't Happen Overnight

by Tracy Kaler

In New York, everyone is vying for a few coveted spots.

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.-- Bill Cosby

New York City is filled to the brim with successful people. It may seem that the success of New Yorkers can be attributed to living in a place where more opportunities are readily available, and where an unstoppable energy drives them to pursue their aspirations. This is partially true. But it may also seem that success happens more often and without as much effort in NYC, as say, in other places. This, however, is not true, in most instances. 

The city pushes all of us to our limits, and drives us to work as hard as we can to be the best we can be. Some NYC peeps reach what they define as success. Some don't.  But success or lack thereof, is a matter of perception. Moreover, the definition of success is a personal one, and to me, being the best you can be is success, no matter what "best" means.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bogey in the City: PetSmart Halloween Costume Preview at the James Hotel

by Tracy Kaler

Bogey attended his first blogging event last week –– the PetSmart Halloween preview at The James Hotel in SoHo.
You're probably saying, "It's only August," but it's never too early to start thinking about Halloween, one of New York's favorite holidays. Last week, pets paraded in style during a sneak peek of PetSmart's 2014 costumes at The James in SoHo. Bogey and I were thrilled to be invited to the pet-friendly hotel for the retailer's preview in New York.

PetSmart was so generous to provide a comfortable ride for Bogey and me –– all the way from the Upper West Side to downtown. Our party started in the car!
I quickly discovered that riding in a vehicle through New York City and taking selfies with an 80-pound Labrador Retriever is in no way easy.

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