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New York – Still Almost the Same

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Lady Liberty I came across a music video clip in a blog the other day – and I haven’t stopped humming the tune since then.

It’s an excerpt from the song & dance movie “On The Town”, which was filmed in 1949.

In the clip, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munchin are sailors who have 24 hours on land to explore New York. For the three minutes of the song, they dance and sing their way through New York, seeing a lot of the major sights and attractions.

What I found really fascinating (apart from the music) is that almost sixty years after these scenes were shot, a lot of those backdrops are still around, still recognizable and still tourist attractions.

The pathway across Brooklyn Bridge still looks just like it did in the old film clip, so does the Stock Exchange at Wall Street. Chinatown still has vendors selling Asian stuff on the streets and Lady Liberty doesn’t seem to have aged much either.

Of course, some details have changed – for instance, the visitors’ platform on top of the Rockefeller Center, where the three sailors enjoy the view.

A few years ago, this platform was nicely done-up and rebranded ‘Top of the Rocks’. With a lot of added security like large panes of plexiglass to prevent people from jumping or throwing stuff down. Kelly, Sinatra and Munchin could have easily done that in 1949…

Granted, between 1949, when the movie was shot and today, a lot has changed in New York. The Twin Towers went up and came down. Frank Lloyd Wright built the Guggenheim, and many new skyscrapers now make up the skyline of Manhattan.

But still – I found it amazing that a three-minute video-clip from 1949 can capture so many of the things that are still on the agenda of visitors to New York today. They certainly were on my agenda when I was in the city earlier this month.

Just wish those three sailors had serenaded me on my long walks through the city…

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