When Life is Better than Art..
Walking through New York is an experience I am very fond of, not least because there is a constant sense of discovery and déja vu. On the one hand, my mind knows these streets well because I have walked them. On the other, it is caught in this odd double experience of seeing a building or a neighbourhood for the first time but feeling as if I know it.
Usually it’s because I do know it.
More films have been set in New York than possibly any other city in the world (not a statement backed up any statistical evidence other than a sample size of films that I have come across in my life. Sound logic there..)
I recently watched ‘New York, I love you’. I have a weakness for films that are comprised of vignettes and the idea of snapshots of someone’s life building up the story of a city really appeals to me. What I loved most was the way that the city became the main character. It seeped into the lives of the people. If you’ve been to New York and you watch the movie, you’ll see what I mean. You’ve probably walked past that pawn shop or stood in line at one of the myriad street vendors that crop up. I know I have.
There are a few places, however, that are particularly iconic. A favourite cinematic haunt of mine is Serendipity 3. If you are a child of the 1980s or the 1990s, then you’ve seen Serendipity. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale’s romance appeals to even the most cynical amongst us. Not least because their romance hinges upon improbable meetings in an ice cream shop. Luckily for us, Serendipity actually exists and it is a frothy & frivolous mixture of art nouveau, stained glass lampshades and glittering fairy lights. In short, fabulous. You do need reservations (or be prepared to wait for hours) but it’s more than worth it to be able hang out in the gloriously overwhelming ice creamery. If you need further persuasion, just feast your eyes on the decadent dessert below. (Impossible to finish but just so scrumptious).
In a similarly, French art nouveau theme is the wonderful Café Lalo from You’ve Got Mail. The place is gorgeous (my sneaky photos do not do the place justice) and their pastries and cakes are a feast for the eyes (and the palate). For some reason, the fame of the place hasn’t gone to their heads and everything is incredibly inexpensive. And pretty. It’s the kind of place where, even if Tom Hanks did stand you up, you could take comfort in their incredible gorgeous cakes. I would venture a recommendation but, honestly, I have never been disappointed yet.
The Metropolitan Museum might just feature in every film or television series set in New York. For good reason. It’s imposing. Neo-classical columns take my fancy everywhere but particularly when they house the collections of art that the Met does. I could spend days there. I have spent days there. It always makes me think of Robert Pattinson’s little sister in the tear-jerking Remember Me.
Central Park is so obvious as to not really count. A film couldn’t possibly be set in New York without an obligatory Central Park shot. It’s a wonderful place. As the seasons change, it takes on a completely different characteristics & there are so many hidden pockets to discover from the Belvedere Castle to the Jacquie Onassis Reservoir. Right now it looks like this:
The other day, I stumbled across this:
It’s not from a film. It’s even better: someone’s true life romance. I hope she said yes.