Pre Covid-19 we searched the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you didn’t have to.” We made it as easy as 1-2-3.
Covid-19 has required some changes. First of all, some very important information:
“There are multiple websites, disappearing slots and even attempts to game the system. Here’s our guide to what you have to do to get a dose in your arm.”
For March we are going to try a different format – “Top 10 Corona Culture” – updated info and video especially suited to these difficult times OR NYC related visual info (Instagram and YouTube) OR all the NYC news you need to start your day.
We hope you will come back often to see what’s cooking here.
Today it’s 14 Classic NYCity Films (plus a bunch more personal faves).
If you want to get in the mood for your visit to NYCity, then make yourself some popcorn and pick up a copy of one of these great films at your local Netflix. (and if you have seen any of these before, remember Director Robert Altman’s advice: “It’s better to see a great movie again than an average one the first time. Because even though the movie hasn’t changed, you have. And you’ll see something new..”)
The Naked City (1948)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Sweet Smell Of Success (1957) — “I love this dirty town!”, says Burt Lancaster — and so do we, in one of his signature films — a sour, caustic tale about a twisted gossip columnist, partly modeled on the legendary Walter Winchell. Lancaster is superb, and guess what, so is Tony Curtis.
West Side Story (1961)
Midnight Cowboy (1969) — Two drifters meet in a mutual attempt to survive in, then escape from, Manhattan’s grimy underbelly. Hoffman is incredible as Ratso. The kind they don’t make anymore, this “Cowboy” still packs a hefty wallop.
The French Connection (1971) — Maybe the best cop movie ever, portraying one of the city’s bigger drug busts back in the day. Gene Hackman won as Oscar and became a bankable star with this movie — and it’s easy to see why.
The Godfather (1972)
Mean Streets (1973) — Scorsese’s breakthrough about a conflicted small-time crook and his wacko, self-destructive cousin in Little Italy. Rich in emotion, immediacy, and atmosphere, this film set the pungent, propulsive Scorsese style we’d see again in movies like 1990′s Goodfellas.
The Godfather, Part 2 (1974) — Coppola managed to improve on a masterpiece with this one, which paints on a broader canvas and offers even richer period flavor. And for the price of Brando, we get a young Robert De Niro, who’s equally brilliant.
Annie Hall (1977) — Inveterate New Yorker Woody Allen’s best film ever, with some hilariously dead-on insights about the bi-coastal dilemma: New York vs. Los Angeles. I’m with Woody: give me Gotham every time. This turned Diane Keaton into a star, and it’s still her signature role.
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
Three Woody Allen films in a row may seem a bit much, but for me Woody is the quintessential NYCity film auteur. Heck, I could have added “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986), “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989), and “Bullets Over Broadway” (1994).
Moonstruck (1987) — This love letter to Brooklyn is full of charm and humanity, though some disagree… worth the price of admission for Vincent Gardenia and Olympia Dukakis alone. And look for an unusual early turn from Nic Cage as a mooning, eccentric baker.
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Half of this list is from the wonderful film critic John Farr. The other half (films without the write up’s) are my additional personal faves.
Heck, there are just too many great NYCity movies. Need to make room for these classics:
1910s – Regeneration (1915, Raoul Walsh)
1920s – The Crowd (1928, Dir. King Vidor); Speedy (1928, Ted Wilde)
1930s – Dead End (1937, Dir. William Wyler); King Kong (1933, Merian C. Cooper)
1940s – On The Town (1949, Gene Kelly,)
1950s – Shadows (1959, John Cassavetes); On The Bowery (!956, Lionel Rogosin); Little Fugitive (1953, Ray Ashley,..); Marty (1955, Paddy Chayefsky); Pickup on South Street (1953, Samuel Fuller )
1960s – The Apartment (1960, Dir. Billy Wilder); The Cool World (1964, Shirley Clarke); Rosemary’s Baby (1968, Roman Polansky); Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, Blake Edwards); Midnight Cowboy (1969, John Schlesinger)
1970s – a Golden Decade for NYCity Films
Hester Street (1975 Dir. Joan Silver); Mean Streets (1973, Martin Scorsese); Klute (1971, Alan J. Pakula); Superfly (1972, Gordon Parks); Serpico (1973, Sidney Lumet); The Taking of Pelham1-2-3 (!974, Joseph Sargent); Dog Day Afternoon (1975, Sidney Lumet); Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese) (great movie but NYCity at its worst); Saturday Night Fever (1977, John Badham); The Warriors (1979, Walter Hill); All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse); Shaft (1971, Gordon Parks); Three Days of the Condor (1975, Sydney Pollack); An Unmarried Woman (1978, Paul Mazursky);
1980s—Do The Right Thing (1989, Dir. Spike Lee); Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese); Once Upon a Time in America (1984, Sergio Leone); The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984, Stuart Rosenberg); When Harry Met Sally (1989, Rob Reiner); Ghostbusters (1984, Ivan Reitman); Wall Street (1987, Oliver Stone); Working Girl (1988, Mike Nichols)
1990s – Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese); Metropolitan (1990, Whit Stillman); Kids (1995, Larry Clark); Men in Black (1997, Barry Sonnenfeld); Donnie Brasco (1991, Mike Newell,); He Got Game (1998, Spike Lee)
2000s – Man on Wire (2008, James Marsh); 25th Hour (2002, Spike Lee); Rent (2005, Chris Columbus); The Devil Wears Prada (2006, David Frankel); We Own the Night (2007, James Gray); Gangs of New York (2002, Martin Scorsese)
2010s – Black Swan (2010, Darren Aronofsky); Margaret (2011, Kenneth Lonergan); Spider-Man into the Spider Verse (2018, Bob Persichetti); Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Ethan/Joel Cohen); Birdman (2014, Alejandro González Iñárritu); Wolf of Wall Street (2013, Martin Scorsese); (Brooklyn (2015, John Crowley); Frances Ha (2012, Noah Baumbach); Good Time (2017, Safdie brothers); Motherless Brooklyn (2019, Ed Norton)
Want to know what some other folks thought were NYCity’s best movies:
The Best New York Movies: 50 Flicks About The City That Never Sleeps (Complex)
19 Movies That Will Bring New York to You (Vogue)
The 21 Best Films Set in New York City (Culture Trip)
The 101 best New York movies of all time (Time Out New York)
49 Movies That Will Transport You to New York City (CN Traveler)
The Best Movies That Capture What It Means to Be a New Yorker (Thrillist)
We hope you enjoy this change of pace, then please return here April 1, and every day for our daily, hot off the presses event guide with “Only the Best” NYCity event info. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now for some useful winter/spring NYC info:
Best Things to do in NYC This Week -TONY
“If you’re looking for the best things to do in NYC this week or even today, there are tons of fun options (so long as you can social distance and wear a mask). Make a beeline to the immersive Friends Experience, tune into City Winery’s Downtown Seder, attend Unleashed LGBTQ and see the city’s newest art exhibits. For more ideas, scroll down to see this week’s best things to do in NYC.”
a. Spotlight on Orchids at NYBG
Things to do New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx Until Apr 4 2021
The New York Botanical Garden is forgoing its Orchid Show this year but is doing a limited Spotlight on Orchids across select galleries of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, including intimate displays of orchids in brilliant white and striking colors set against the foliage of aroids, ferns, and bromeliads—planted as they might be found in nature and blending gracefully with their surroundings, NYBG says. You’ll get to discover unusual orchids and artful floral creations by Botanical Garden horticulturists that combine expressive orchids with rocks, tree trunks, vines, and other found materials.
NYBG’s Orchid Show will return in 2022. Until then, you can purchase a Garden Pass + Conservatory ticket, which includes access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and outdoor gardens and collections.
b. The immersive Friends experience
News City Life
Oh. my. God. The Friends Experience that took NYC by storm in 2019 is back! You know, the one with all the iconic props and recreated scenes from Friends? It opened on March 17 with a whopping 18 rooms, including the orange couch in front of the fountain, Monica’s kitchen, the hilarious ‘Pivot!’ scene, and the Las Vegas wedding chapel where Ross & Rachel tied the knot. There is even an actual functioning Central Perk that serves coffee, pastries, and desserts, which will be open to the public daily starting at 7am so you can bring your friends and relive your favorite Central Perk scenes. New props and costumes have been added this time around, including Chandler’s bunny suit and Rachel’s famous cow jacket, as well as Monica and Rachel’s living room and Ugly Naked Guy.
c. “Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment”
Art The Rubin Museum of Art, Chelsea Until Jan 2 2022
The Rubin Museum of Art’s newest exhibit invites you to unplug and free your mind through Tibetan Buddhist art, including 35 traditional objects, including 14 from the Rubin Museum’s collection, with two contemporary works by Nepal-born, Tibetan American artist Tsherin Sherpa. “Awaken” features works from the 7th and 21st centuries including stone, wood, and metal sculptures, traditional Tibetan hanging scroll paintings, illuminated manuscript pages and vibrant contemporary pieces. Through these, the exhibition introduces the central teachings of Tibetan Buddhism as visitors “progress through 10 milestones on the journey from the chaos of ordinary life to the awakened states of awareness.”
d. City Winery’s Downtown Seder
Things to do Online, Mar 25 2021
City Winery is celebrating Passover with its annual Downtown Seder on March 25. Its livestream will feature blessings from four mayoral candidates including Andrew Yang, Scott Stringer, Ray McGuire, and Kathryn Garcia; comedic performances by Lewis Black, Judy Gold, and Mark Normand; musical performances by David Broza, Idan Raichel, Marc Cohn, Perry Farrell, Max Weinberg, and Speech of Arrested Development; greetings from Dr. Ruth, Al Franken and much more. It’ll be free to watch via Mandolin with RSVP at citywinery.com
e. Coney Island History Show & Tell
Things to do Online, Mar 25 2021-Apr 8 2021
If you have ephemera or artifacts related to Coney Island or are interested in seeing some, this interactive event by the Coney Island History Project will scratch your itch for history. This will be a biweekly online event hosted by Tricia Vita and Neter Antoine. Tricia has a certificate in reminiscence and life story work and records oral histories for the Coney Island History Project. Neter is a visual artist who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation at CUNY’s Lehman College. After registering for the event, you can sign up to “show and tell” your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Listeners will have an opportunity to ask questions via chat. Advance registration is required and registration for each event is limited to
f. Battery Dance Festival +
Dance Online, Mar 25 2021
This online performance series by the Battery Dance Festival, New York City’s longest-running free public dance festival, is partnering with the Canadian Consulate of New York for an hour of performances celebrating Canadian Voices in Dance on Thursday on YouTube.com. The virtual performances will be available to watch for 30 days after the premiere, expiring April 24, 2021. Registration is free and open to the public.
g. The massive statue of RBG
A massive bronze statue of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was unveiled last week at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Full disclosure: the sculpture was created by artists Gillie and Marc before the Justice’s passing. She actually gave her consent prior to production. The artists’ project seeks to collectively increase the city’s representation of women in public sculpture from 3% to 10%. The tribute to Ginsburg specifically seeks to honor her role in the struggle for gender equality and human rights.
Now for some useful winter/spring NYC info:
Here Are The COVID-19 Restrictions That Are About To Loosen In NY – Gothamist
Cheap Things to do in NYC for $10 and Under
Where to Find the Best Bagels in NYC
Top NYC Restaurant Newcomers of 2020 – Eater NY
The Underground Gourmet’s Year-End Digest
2020 In Photos: A Year Like No Other – The New York Times
The Best Food Trucks & Carts In NYC – New York – The Infatuation
What to stream online: from virtual museum tours to the best concert movies and theatre shows
Museums Are Still Open in New York. Here’s What’s on View (for Now). – The New York Times
Stay distanced a bit longer. Mask up, stay smart and stay safe.