The month of September makes us think about New York City, and New York City makes me think about movies. To be fair, carpet samples make me think about movies, so our autumn leap from the Big Apple to the silver screen is one to be expected. This year I mulled over all of those films whose characters force me to my rooftop where I shout, “I’m moving to New York so I can live just like . . . !” I can bellow my fantasy to the world only for so long before the family of crack heads living across the street asks me to keep it down.
Based on the dollars and cents needed for San Francisco housing these days, shouting from a Manhattan rooftop may be a cheaper option for us nontechies, so until I load up the car and head east, I’ll stick with what I have. I’m moving to New York City so I can live just like . . .
Gregory Peck in Gentleman’s Agreement (1947):
A heroic writer sets out to expose anti-Semitism in New York City, looking more handsome than any writer one could possibly hope to meet – I could think of worse role models.
The three sailors in On the Town (1949):
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin visit New York only for 24 hours, but in that time they destroy a dinosaur exhibit at a museum, get seduced by cab drivers, sing and dance on the Empire State Building, and finish the night by dressing in drag as cooch dancers on Coney Island. Yes, fine, I did most of those things on my last trip to the island, too.
Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950):
Always in the running as one of my all-time favorite films, I would put up with anything Eve had to throw at me, if only I could have Margo Channing’s sunken living room, golden staircase, and Thelma Ritter as my personal assistant.
Jack Lemmon in The Apartment (1960):
Because of Lemmon’s brilliance (culinary and otherwise), I keep a tennis racket in my kitchen as a backup colander. Not to mention the fact that he’s thrilled beyond belief when he almost gets to watch Grand Hotel (1932) from the very beginning. What the heck, Miss MacClaine? I would marry C. C. Baxter in the first ten minutes.
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961):
You know that pastry in the opening scene is the most exquisite treat prepared in the early hours of some exquisite New York bakery. Of course Holly Golightly ate carbs; don’t start with me.
Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (1968):
Primarily for the matching leopard coat and hat . . . and the name of her manicurist.
Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986):
Some love him; some hate him, but no one makes New York City look more desirable than Woody Allen does in his films. After disastrous attempts at becoming an actress and a hilarious bout with cocaine, eventually Wiest’s character, Holly, finds her calling as a writer, and Wiest found herself with her first Academy Award.
Bette Midler in Big Business (1988):
Do I really have to explain this one? Two Midlers, two Tomlins, a “usual suite” at the Plaza, and special effects at their absolute finest! For most of my childhood I was convinced that I had an identical twin brother . . . sadly I had no clear route to Manhattan for our tearful and polka-dotted reunion.
Cheers and tipped hats to all of New York’s characters, then and now.