by Elizabeth Furey
|Something interesting is about to happen... --credit|
Whenever I see those pink “No Parking” signs taped to telephone poles and trees, I always stop to read them. Film crews leave these as little clues and teasers that something wonderful is going to happen. The pink signs provide the title of the production; it’s usually something I’m not too interested in like a commercial or a movie I’ve never heard of. I keep running into the set of Elementary, for some reason. And that’s the heart of filmmaking in New York City in a nutshell—somewhat tantalizing, but mostly disappointing.
The city is too jaded to be charmed by movie magic. More often than not, it is an annoyance and a huge inconvenience. The crew occupies an entire city block for a whole day, sometimes more, cutting off traffic and preventing people from parking where they like. It’s an already crowded city and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood are just getting in the way.
Subway riders are reminded of the same inherent movie industry coolness invading New York with ads explaining that the tax on film crews supports the salaries of firemen, teachers, and the like.
|Another filming stops traffic on the Upper West Side|
Recent ambles around Brooklyn have led me right onto film sets. Usually it’s something disappointing, like a yogurt commercial. Still, I am one of the few New Yorkers who gets a little too excited when I see those unmistakable trailers and trucks. Even knowing that observing a film shoot in New York yields basically nothing besides a half-interesting story, I get giddy. That eight-year-old in me still wonders, “Is Leonardo DiCaprio here? Will he see me and fall in love? Is someone here going to make me a movie star?”
|So many possibilities in the streets of NYC --credit|
It goes way back for me. My father drove me and my friend to watch the filming of Spider Man, which was happening not too far away in my native borough of Queens. They weren’t doing an action-heavy part of the movie, and we saw nothing exciting. Most of the crew was inside Uncle Ben and Aunt May’s house, but it was still thrilling to see the lights shining from the windows. It was winter, but the story called for it to be autumn, so fake leaves were strewn about and I thought that was just the coolest thing.
One of my most recent Brooklyn visits brought me to the most impressive film set I’ve come across yet—Boardwalk Empire. In the otherwise ordinary neighborhood of Crown Heights, I sensed something extraordinary. First I saw the trailers. I knew something A-List was going on. Then I spotted one of the pink signs. Boardwalk Empire! I nearly jumped up and down out of excitement. But, I managed to contain myself. Then it became a matter of finding Steve Buscemi.
|Oooh Crown Heights! --credit|
Somewhere in my already starstruck head, I knew that I would never see Steve Buscemi. This was a production in New York City, after all. But that didn’t matter because authentic Prohibition-Era cars rolled around! Fellas wearing vests and bowler hats walked among us! And, while I was reading one of the signs, a fellow slack-jawed onlooker asked me, “Are you an actor?” and that was enough to boost my self-esteem for a few weeks.