Probably the most common question NYC visitors ask New York natives is “What is it really like living in New York”. Everyone has their own experience of course but in this insightful 4 min video Martin Scorsese talks about the challenges of using New York streets as a film set and in the process reveals more about the everyday experience of New York living than any lengthy response to this question.
He’s talking about what it was like filming his much lauded award winning film ‘Taxi Driver’ in the streets of New York. That was shot quite a few years ago, but every word he says is still true today – the relentless pace of foot traffic, the difference between Manhattan and the Outer Broughs, the sapping heat of a New York summer, the impossibility of getting anywhere quickly by car.
Watch the video and the NYC he conjures with his vivid word pictures is the one New Yorkers still live in today. It’s reassuring. There’s so much anxiety about the effect of changes it’s easy to lose sight of the reality that while NYC never stops changing, in its character it is always the same. There is no escape from its density, the constrained relationship between its streets and its built environment, too little of one and too much of the other, and the impact of its weather. And above all the commitment of all its permanent inhabitants to what they want to do which manifests in a rush and bustle and single mindedness unrivalled anywhere else in the world.
Martin Scorsese grew up in NYC, he loves it with every fiber of his being, so his story of filming in New York’s streets, while filled with a description of the difficulties of that, is also laced through with that love. When you love New York as much as he does, even the challenges are affectionate reminiscences and never scathing criticisms.