Thursday, January 01, 2009

GrannyJ and the Third Avenue El

GrannyJ at Walking Prescott visits the Limb occasionally. I often click her homepage link then to discover what daily wonders she and her camera have recorded for us in and around Prescott, Arizona.
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.

She wrote:
"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

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