New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rear Window

If you are interested in film and New York City, I would highly recommend the Hitchcock classic, Rear Window, starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. The film, a virtual shrine to voyeurism, takes place in a Greenwich Village apartment, where Stewart, confined to a wheelchair while recuperating from a broken leg, spies on his neighbor's apartment and observes a series of activities which lead him to believe a murder has been committed. The film is very engaging and we get what feels like an added bonus - plenty of time with Grace Kelly on the screen in charming repartee with Stewart. The film has been highly applauded and a winner of 4 academy awards and numerous other accolades. Many feel that much of the film's appeal is because of its voyeuristic premise. Some go further to say that part of the appeal of film itself owes to its voyeuristic nature and the inherent desire of most people to watch others secretly.

People do like people watching and cities are perfect environments to do so. I recall my surprise at the table arrangements in Parisian cafes where seats for two are joined side by side facing outwards rather than each other. This made so much sense that I was immediately puzzled why this practice was (and still is) virtually nonexistent in New York City.

There's no better place for people watching than New York and with millions of residents, there are large numbers who have long given up concern about who's watching what. Public Displays of Affection (PDA - see here) and all other manner of exhibitionistic behavior abounds and for the voyeur, this city is the Devil's Playground.

The woman in the photo was relaxing on the third floor above Broadway in SoHo, certainly not a place where there is an expectation of privacy. Fire escapes in New York City often function as outdoor terraces and over the years our office has been entertained with various activities there - see Window Washer here.

The scenario is reminiscent of another film, The Time Machine (from 1960) where Rod Taylor, on the start of his many journey's in time, observes a store mannequin and its changing wardrobe. The window and mannequin become icons of stability in a world of changing fashion. In the 19 years I have faced Broadway, the buildings have stayed the same and only the names and faces have changed. With such unabashed displays from a front window facing a major thoroughfare, there's no need for a rear window ...

8 comments:

Hannah said...

This is such a great photo! Reminds me of Carrie's apartment in Sex and the City. It looks nice, but I'm not sure if I wanted to have a "balcony" like that...

Virginia said...

This photo just screams NYC to me. What a great photo. I have enjoyed looking all around it. You're right , we all love to scope out what's going on in other people's lives. I can't wait to get to Paris in May so I can do a lot of it with my camera!!
V

Lily Hydrangea said...

great shot. I am wondering what she is doing. Is that a camera in her hand?

Pierre said...

Excellent pic. I love thso so typical fire escapes. Exactly the apartment of my dreams...

Brian Dubé said...

Hannah, Virginia - thanks.
Lily - I believe she was on the phone.
Pierre - I never liked the looks of fire escapes but they are great as impromptu balconies.

Islipian said...

oh! i love it! (clap clap clap)

bettye <- applauding

james said...

I just discovered your blog and I love it. I've never been to NYC, but now I absolutely must visit. Thank you for your thoughts and your wonderful photos! I'll be following!

Steffe said...

Very New York indeed.