info 10.15.03

Celluloid Skyline

The most beautiful website about New York has to be Celluloid Skyline, www.celluloidskyline.com.

An offshoot of the book of the same name by James Sanders, the site explores the relationship of New York, movies, and architecture. There are several sections to it. In Visions of the Dream City, there are over 100 photographs taken from 1930 to 1975 that were used for reference by Hollywood art departments. Some of the pictures change from day to night in front of your eyes, a simple effect but magical anyway.

Building the Dream City shows you sketches and renderings of settings created by the RKO art department, which produced everything from film noirs to the "Big White Sets" used behind Fred and Ginger. There are also links to 55 "actuality" films, shot in the city from 1896 to 1906.

Mr. Sanders' book, which is a collection of these images with accompanying essays, is now out in paperback, published by Knopf. Both the book and the website can rekindle your love of New York in seconds flat.

It took them a year to put up the new obelisk in the park by the Planetarium on the Upper West Side. Dedicated to Nobel Prize winners, it was designed by Swedish artist Sivert Lindblom. The only problem is that it lacks even the tiniest vestige of grace, rising unbidden in an unsuspecting park, a ghastly, funereal excrescence. And to think of what the talented sculptors in the region might have created (Martin Puryear, for instance, works just up the river…). Ah well, at least the neighborhood dogs will have a new place to leave their calling cards.


Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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