On a recent OHNY tour of the Greenpoint Oil Spill Remediation Project run by ExxonMobil and the Newtown Creek Alliance, we were also shown Broadway Stages, a film studio within the spill zone. The buildings in this area of Newtown Creek were once home to 50 oil refineries, tanneries, gas plants, metal manufacturers and other businesses, and an extensive oil spill underground is the result of a century of accumulated contamination. The oil companies were eventually consolidated, but of the buildings in the area were unused and certain stretches lacked basic infrastructure–like sewers, electricity and sidewalks. Moreover, the streets were used essentially as dump sites.
Broadway Stages came in to change that, and with the partnership of ExxonMobile, who has sought to be a good neighbor during the remediation process, installed lights and created sidewalks. In 2010, the road was paved for the first time in 50 years. Broadway Stages is now one of the largest film production companies in New York City, with shows like The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and Royal Pains filmed there.
The Lower East Side was transformed into 1900 NYC. Photo by Mary Cybulski/Cinemax
When Steven Soderbergh retired from directing movies last year he announced that “movies don’t matter anymore.” Fans of the director’s work were stunned. Since 1989 with his first independent feature Sex, Lies and Videotape; Soderbergh has been one of the few directors in cinema who has truly kept audiences guessing his next move. Almost two years into his “retirement” there is no word of Soderbergh returning to the cinema. To some, that might be viewed as a bad sign; Soderbergh, however, has not been laying dormant. On the contrary, since “retiring” he has been working constantly. He became very active on Twitter, in the most Soderbergh-y way possible, making a novella titled GLUE; he has spliced together both versions of Psycho, and, even more bizarrely awesome, he re-edited Spielberg’s Raiders of The Lost Ark, transforming it into a black and white silent film.
He has done all of this, including directing an off-Broadway play, getting into the liquor business and once again finding himself in the director’s chair. Soderbergh’s return to the set was not for a feature, or even for a TV film. Perhaps inspired by the work of Cary Fukunaga on True Detective, Soderbergh decided to do something similar and direct every episode of a project he come across called The Knick. Soderbergh directs (as well as edits under his pseudonym Mary Anne Bernard ) every episode of the series first season, which follows the life and exploits of Dr. John Tackery, head surgeon of The Knickerbocker Hospital and its staff in 1900 New York City.
Babette’s, Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks on set at Boardwalk Empire. Image by Abbot Genser/HBO
Being on Boardwalk Empire is like being in a sauna–with all your clothes on–says the award-winning bandleader Vince Giordano from Boardwalk Empire. The hit HBO series, which is now in its fifth and final season, stars Steve Buscemi as the anti-hero bootlegger Nucky Thomson, who is trying to stay alive as his adversaries aim to increase their share of the spoils.
Opening screening of Gotham, at the New York Public Library Bryant Park
One of the most anticipated new series this fall television season is FOX’s Gotham. Inspired heavily by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight film series, the show focuses on how comic book icons like commissioner Jim Gordon, Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin) and The Dark Knight himself lived in Gotham City before Batman. A month into the show’s run, what truly makes it stand out to us, among the other shows premiering this season, is the many scenes shot here in NYC. It only makes sense for the team behind Gotham to film in the city on which it got its name (unlike The Blacklist, set in DC but filmed entirely in New York) . In honor of Comic-Con this weekend, we present a short listing of NYC film locations featured in Gotham. (more…)
The Bowery was a run-down no-go area 50 years ago, but is now largely gentrified, with $500-a-night hotels and expensive restaurants nestling around the New Museum. In their first ever interview, documentary-makers Alan Raymond and Dan Halas told how they were students at NYU when they wandered over to the Lower East Side road with a camera to ask its residents just one question: “How do you like the Bowery?” The filmmakers who shot the seminal 1960s documentary on alcoholics and vagrants, How Do You Like The Bowery? have revealed to Boo Paterson, an Untapped Cities writer, how it was originally panned, before being hailed as a classic.
Director Vanessa Gould, who previously helmed the documentary Between the Folds, just released a new trailer for a forthcoming work called OBIT: Life on the Dead Beat of The New York Times, a documentary about the obituaries and obituary writers at The New York Times. “One day the edition of the newspaper will come out, and with any luck there will be something about me in it, but I won’t be reading it,” says author Christopher Hitchens who opens the trailer.