the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Location: Washington D.C.

Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Subway Serenade

I'm typing this from a bench in New York City's famous Washington Square Park. NYU borders the sides of the park, which serves as a massive, green, common area for the student body and right now, with a few extra minutes on my hands, I thought I would jot down a few more impressions of the last 24 hours.

I take the subway back and forth to school. Here just a few days, I am already feeling pretty confident that I am getting the hang of the system. I have to say, some of the best musicians ride the subway. I know, because they are always there, playing. From full bands with amps, to a man and his solo Spanish guitar to a barbershop quartet moving from train car to train car in constant song, there are performers here for whom you are more than happy to throw some loose change their way. Not that all my fellow travelers hear them, mind you. I am convinced that Apple stays in business, not off the sales of their computers, but off the iPods they sell to New Yorkers. Not simply walkmans or portable satellite radios, but genuine iPods. Young and old. Poor and rich. I am not exaggerating when I say that every third or forth person on the train is oblivious to the world, embedded with the distinctive white earphones that act as armor to undesirable attention and hassling.

Aside from the blog just below this one which describes my advising meeting and class enrolling, I also went on a several hour tour of Greenwich Village today. Led by one of the school's deans, it was an intimate, walking examination of the area's colorful Bohemian history, full of the sort of great trivia that a guide book can't even touch. One of the oldest bars in NYC that only in the past few years finally began admitting women? Yep. Bob Dylan's apartment? Yep. The architecture of Stanford White. Yep. Everywhere you turn are quant and ancient reminders of this city's centuries old past and vibrant present. With no school activities on Thursday until the evening, I plan to put my map away and spend a few hours of the afternoon wandering, getting lost, and discovering this section of the city that I'm sure I will come to know well.

Despite all its money and prestige, NYU is still a college like any other. While certain buildings are indeed lavish (the library is a massive, modern structure), most buildings are not the palatial spaces one might expect. Cramped and untidy classrooms are the norm and oddly enough, there is something reassuring in that fact. I came expecting a sort of hallowed opulence, and am comforted to find that even the best film schools require janitors and fresh paint. It means I have a fighting chance here!


Anonymous Nate said...

I am watching you through Google Earth. I call it my patented Vicari-Vision.

Don't touch that! Put that down! Brandon, you don't know where that's been.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous BP said...


I am thoroughly enjoying your impressions of NYC. You have walked some of the same streets I have and so it is with fondness and glee that I can close my eyes and walk those same streets and see those same sights with you.

My brother's girlfriend, is also starting NYU grad this fall and is not as enamored with the challenge of NYC as you are. She is, at heart, a Chicago girl.

But my feeling is that both you and her (and Stephanie) will come to love the streets and sounds and sights of NYC within no time at all.

You are already up for the challenge of it, perhaps our age makes us more appreciative?

Keep writing on your impressions my friend! I remember when Paul and Rebecca first moved there and how the city has embraced them and they have embraced it.


8:05 AM  
Anonymous CW said...

Hey Brandon:

I am glad to hear you are off to a good start. Yep, the big time is humbling but you are well grounded. You are in your element and well placed.


8:06 AM  
Blogger Grinth said...

The Ipod thing is not just New York you know. I'd wager just about any city in America that has a high amount of public transportation is the same. I know I caved in and got an ipod myself near the end of last spring.

8:04 PM  

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