On this first day of 2009 --- I am living a life of science fiction: I have traveled to the future! --- Granny commented on my recent posting of "The Yawn" by Paul Blackburn with a few memories and a couple of pictures from our visit to New York City last week.
"You have reminded me, Terrell, that a one-time college friend made an 16 mm indie film years and years ago, Third Avenue El, that won many prizes."Being me I immediately had to run the collective memory of mankind through the Google "Third Avenue El" sieve. Sure enough there is a webpage dedicated to the now-defunct Third Avenue El. And about halfway down that page of old pictures of stations and tracks, and newer photos of remnants and artifacts, was this --- Is it your friends film, Granny? --- imbedded youTube video, a beautiful 10 minute film of a "day in the life" of the late Third Avenue El with no narration but the strains of Haydn and the rattle of the elevated train.:
What is a 3rd Avenue El?
It's the elevated train that used to run up and down Manhattan until the mid-1950's, when it was decommissioned and turned into scrap metal.
Despite this, you can still experience the trip through New York City that vanished over half-a-century ago, not only from the overhead view of the train window, but through the actual neighborhoods and with the authentic people who road it daily.
A beatnik photographer with a tripod, a stumbling drunk from the old Bowery, a giddy little girl traveling with her father, and a couple on a romantic excursion help create a loose narrative.
For the soundtrack, a sprightly rendition of Haydn's Concerto in D for Harpsichord is accompanied by all of the real sounds of a metropolitan elevated subway trip. Along with it's superb photography and creative editing, a viewing of '3rd Avenue El' is like taking a ten minute vacation to a place that is no more.-from the youTube intro to the video