Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, July 04, 2021

Once upon a time, the designation of “Avenue of the Americas”, as applied to Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue, was backed up with physical markers. Every country in the Western Hemisphere was represented on metallic medallions that were affixed to the street’s lampposts.

The City’s subsequent maintenance work has changed this:

The surviving medallions remain on lampposts only from Canal Street to Washington Place and from West 56th Street to Central Park South.

An informal survey found that the seals of some countries, like the Dominican Republic, had vanished altogether, even if that nation’s countrymen and -women are here in great numbers. Honduras and Costa Rica have two surviving signs each. Cuba has three, including one in Greenwich Village whose sorry state seems an echo of that country: rusting, with a surveillance camera nearby.

Back in the 1940s, the suggestion to rename Sixth Avenue, as most New Yorkers still call it, was a big deal. Civic and business boosters backed the change as part of a plan to promote trade with the rest of the hemisphere. The idea was to line stretches of Sixth from Canal to 57th Street with various markets of different nations “in buildings physically and psychologically designed for this purpose,” according to an article published in The New York Times on June 12, 1941.

The idea of Sixth becoming the Hemisphere’s “Main Street” was grandiose, and even a bit imperialistic. The name certainly has retained its cachet, though: Plenty of businesses purposely identify their addresses as Avenue of the Americas instead of Sixth Avenue, although not all; I’d guess it’s an old-school distinction among longtime New Yorkers. Personally, I usually have an issue with the disruption of a numbered-street grid, but AOTA is long-established, and anyway so memorable a name that I don’t see how any confusion can come from its use.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/04/2021 08:43:59 PM
Category: New Yorkin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Big news for fans of Fritz Lang’s genre-defining classic Metropolis: The long-thought-lost 3.5 hour original cut has been unearthed in the archives of a Argentine museum.

Here’s what’s been missing from the subsequent 1.5 hour versions that have existed since the 1927 release:

The Museo del Cine Pablo C. Ducros Hicken in Buenos Aires found the 16 mm negatives, which include the character of Georgy in his “reduced” state, a character named Slim and his transformation into an apocalypse-preaching monk, and a car journey through the city of Metropolis. Just in time for the no-doubt-ridiculous remake to start work, we can finally see what the original Metropolis was about. A lot of stuff that made no sense in the edited version now actually makes sense.

It’s still a silent film, and thus not all that accessible to most audiences today; actually, less so with this expanded runtime. But it’s completion for completion’s sake, and for an 80-year-old movie, that’s enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/04/2021 08:17:49 PM
Category: History, Movies
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback