Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Shake n Bake
2008-10-17 06:27
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

As I was walking down 50th street last night after work I thought about a friend who recently was in town. He couldn't stand walking in New York--or at least in midtown where he was staying.  He complained to me about the congestion.  "Why are people stopping to take pictures of a cop on a horse?" 

As a native New Yorker, I take it for granted that as I walk I'm thinking two people ahead, and that slipping in and around clueless pedestrains is second nature to me.

On the subway platform I ran into a guy I used to know in the movie business.  A music editor.  I hadn't seen him in a long time.  We met in 1988--twenty years ago, fer cryin' out loud--when I was a messenger and he was the music editor on The Last Temptation of Christ.  He snuck me into a crew screening which was one of the highlights of my summer.  I recall that I was sent on a delivery to 5th avenue and 58th street with twenty minutes to spare before the screening.  I ran from the Brill Building on Broadway and 49th street and back, dodging through the crowds doing my best Barry Sanders, and was a hot, sweaty mess, but I made the screening.  The movie had been scheduled to debut at the New York Film Festival but there was so much commotion over it, they rushed the post-production schedule and it was released in August.  When the screening was over, I remember Michael Powell, the acclaimed British director and husband to Scorsese's longtime editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, a frail man, stood up and remarked on Peter Gabriel's score.

I mentioned the incident to the music editor last night and he said, "I got in trouble for that."  Which I also remembered.  We smiled about it.  Then talked about how much the business has changed, who has died who is still around.  Then we said goodbye.  But I'll never forget how exclusive I felt, sitting in that screening, or how this dude went out of his way to do a solid for an eager young kid when he knew he'd get balled out for it. 

2008-10-17 07:13:45
1.   Raf
As a native New Yorker, I take it for granted that as I walk I'm thinking two people ahead, and that slipping in and around clueless pedestrains is second nature to me.

LOL, so true!

One of my tourist friends remarked that he was surprised that in a city where so many people are cheek to jowl, that he and others don't bump into each other more.

I told him, "if someone bumps you, you better watch your pockets, 'cause they may have been picked."

But yeah, finding seam through pedestrian traffic is second nature to me.

2008-10-17 07:58:10
2.   Matt B
Alex, calling Michael Powell a "British director and husband to Scorsese's long-time editor, Thelma Schoonmaker" is akin to calling Frank Sinatra an "American singer and husband to Zeppo Marx's ex, Barbara."

Good stuff, man, just ribbing you because more people should see those great Powell & Pressburger films!

2008-10-17 08:02:32
3.   JL25and3
A friend of mine from Queens used to play a game with his friends Queens Center (or some such mall). One of them would walk quickly through the foot traffic, classic NY broken-field running, and the other would have to follow him - passing through exactly the same slots between people. So they not only had to plan ahead to see what spaces would be open, but which ones would be barely-open-and-about-to-close.
2008-10-17 08:12:14
4.   ChuckM
The "messenger walk," you never really lose it no matter where you are. I'm at the mall in the 'burbs and I'm whizzing around people.
2008-10-17 08:24:24
5.   Alex Belth
I should have said venerated British director...think he's overrated really, even though he's slept on, but I like Black Narcissus. Good call Matt.
2008-10-17 13:52:38
6.   Matt B
5 I dunno, Al, I really loved 49th Parallel, Life & Death of Colonel Blimp, I Know Where I'm Going and especially A Matter of Life & Death. Still looking forward to watching A Canterbury Tale sometime soon. Great feel for characters and beautiful looking films.

It's funny how certain directors have had their careers reappraised thanks to the Criterion Collection. I mean, 20 years ago, who besides John Woo was talking about Jean-Pierre Melville? Not that I'm complaining.

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