The New York City Skyline

My brother Christofer and I met on the corner of 57th and Tenth this morning at 5:30, loaded to bear with a DV camera, a tripod, one guitar case, a map of the five boroughs, and plenty of coffee, then pointed the truck east towards a sun that would never rise.

The occasion was the a video shoot for ‘New York,’ the first single from my forthcoming LP, Almost Home. And although the weather refused to co-operate with the intended treatment (“The New York City skyline / Like a thousand shattered diamonds / All scattered but still shining / In the early morning rays”), Chris captured some absolutely beautiful, utterly cool images (you can see some of them here).

The video basically finds me waking on the red eye from Los Angeles as the sun rises over New York City, then exiting the airport, and walking home to my Hell’s Kitchen apartment via Queens, the 59th Street Bridge, Time’s Square, and other New York landmarks. I could have easily walked that distance in the seven hours we spent shooting. And we’re only half done.

I wanted to shoot at the Laguardia Marine Air Terminal, largely for its quaintness, but also its accessability — I thought we’d attract less attention. I cut that off at the pass right away by approaching a cop walking named Dan Kruesh. Indeed, he said, shooting the airport is illegal, so I smiled, name dropped the MTV, and calling the Port Authority Media Department. We were immediately granted permission to shoot exteriors. At one point, one of the guys on the walkie talkie said, “Roger, rock on.”

So Chris found some really imaginative, artistic shots, and had me walk them all at least six time — twice each for wide, medium and close-up. Of course, the day before the big video shoot in the morning, and album cover photo shoot in the afternoon, my face sprouted a zit the size of a nickel. So I told him not to get in too tight.

We wrapped on Laguardia below gray skyies, then moved on to Woodlawn Cemetary. I had driven driven past so many times and marvelled at the volume of dead New Yorkers there, and also the odd juxtaposition of the thousands of gravestones against the skyline. So we found our shot, and moved on to a generic but starkly-urban street scene just off of Northern Boulevard. Then onto Manhattan…

My treatment (which I’ll show you some day, I promise — it’s a pretty funny stick figure affair) has a flash back to sunny California just prior to crossing the bridge (get it?) into the city. So we had to find a bridge with a pedestrian walkway. And which better than the 59th Street? Not just because of the marathon (14 days and counting), but also for its Simon & Garfunkle-ness.

So with a steady drizzle now falling from slate-gray skies, and chilly, heavy winds blowing off the East River, we found our way to the middle of the span, and got our coverage. And while it was slightly miserable, the rusted beam-framed views of Midtown were perfect.

With noon approaching, and a potentially logical break in continuity availed to us there (“What if the sun comes out as soon as you get to Manhattan?” Chris suggested), we wrapped for the day, planning to grab the rest next weekend, mostly on foot. So we loaded up, and headed home. No sooner had we parked and begun unloading the truck, then the sun broke through the clouds, showing nothing but blue skies.

* * *

I would be remiss not to mention my excellent Hoboken adventure Friday night. I treked with studio-buddies Kevin, Monica, Leslie, and Jeremy to see The Spectors rock Maxwell’s. Imagine The Strokes via Minneapolis, but twenty years on, and wearing far more obscure and genuine influences on their sleeves. This quintet absolutely shook the foundations of the place, and very likley blew away the few dB I had left in the upper reaches of my hearing.

Related Posts