Landmarks: New York City, Vol. 1

[This post is the first I’ll be doing whereas my travel schedule permits. When I visit landmarks that are important to pop culture, I’ll do my best to document my visit with pictures and explain its significance in pop culture.]

Times square is one of the most iconic places in the world. Standing in it is likely to overwhelm the eyes. U2 called New York “The City of Blinding Lights” and if you’ve ever walked through Times Square at nighttime, it’s no wonder why. It’s one of the most visually impressive places in America.

It’s been used in quite a few films. In recent years, it’s been used to show the changing of time in Captain America: The First Avenger. 

NYC VolOne 1

It was also used in the film Vanilla Sky, in a shot that cleared out the whole of Times Square so that Tom Cruise could run around.

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This is considered by some to be the most expensive shot in the history of film, given how much it would cost to stop all pedestrian and motorist traffic.

It’s also been used in the Spiderman films, I Am Legend, Ghostbusters, and in various other films and television shows.

The Lion King, adapted from the Disney film,  has been on Broadway since 1997, making it the third longest-running, and highest-grossing Broadway production of all time. I went to see it about ten years ago, and I found myself rather impressed by it. Many Disney movies have been adapted for the stage, The Lion King being the most popular. A production of Aladdin has earned some popularity in the past few years. Additionally, a production of Frozen is in the works. Beyond Disney, Elf and School of Rock have also been adapted to the stage.

Around times square, there had been signs for Discovery’s “Star Wars and the Power of the Costume Exhibit” being that I was with my dad, who also loves Star Wars, we figured we’d give it a look. (They also have an exhibit about The Hunger Games; I would have been moderately interested to see that, but I know my father certainly wouldn’t enjoy it.)

I do like this quote by Lucas, and it kind of sums up the Prequel fiasco. The Prequels, if nothing else, were inventive and imaginative. Lucas has been critiquing The Force Awakens recently, suggesting that it re-used too much from previous films. The biggest objection to Force Awakens was that it was just a re-skinning of A New Hope (or, as I like to call it, Star Wars, Episode 4-2), showing us the same (rather, similar worlds), whereas the prequels were focusing on expanding the galaxy.

This exhibit guided us through the costumes of the series, explaining the ideas that went into their design.

The exhibit highlighted the creative minds of George Lucas and Ralph McQuarrie and their influence on the films. In this exhibit, Star Wars was described as a science fiction epic which melded mythology and folklore, of medieval knights, Japanese Samurai, and World War II.  

Costumes and character design has always been a crucial part of Star Wars. People often hail Darth Vader as one of the greatest villains ever put to film, and I think a great deal of this comes from his eerie and imposing character design. They channeled this same idea when designing Darth Maul.

The Jedi were continually described as wearing “Earth tones,” which made me think of Yoda saying to Luke that every person is connected to nature.


These were original costumes from the films, making them all the more impressive.

 

The design of the pilots was inspired by air force pilots of World War II.


Boba Fett, one of the most iconic character designs in Star Wars, has an interesting history. There was a plaque which quoted George Lucas explaining that Boba Fett was an early design for Darth Vader. Vader was originally supposed to be the intergalactic bounty hunter, but then became “a twisted knight.”

  

Star Wars has a long history of underused characters who look really cool. One could argue that this includes Boba Fett and Jango Fett, as well as Darth Maul, General Grievous, and most recently, Captain Phasma.


  

 

Sorry this picture isn’t good. This was really cool, and this picture does not do it justice.
A funny little contrast here; Leia’s slave bikini costume has ruffled a few feathers recently, and to see it alongside Leia’s bounty hunter suit makes for an ironic. Carrie Fischer has defended it, saying that her character took revenge for what she was subjected to.


  
  

Our next stop was the Disney store in Times Square.

 

 

This toy is probably having an existential crisis.

 

Captain America merchandise; also not pictured was a great deal of Spiderman merchandise. There’s an interesting sub-plot here: not pictured was any Fantastic Four merchandise. Disney-owned Marvel has been trying to force out the parts of Marvel that are elsewhere, so that they can get the movie rights. The Fantastic Four comic series has recently been ending, after running continually from the 1960’s to 2015. This comes after the Fantastic Four film, produced by 20th Century Fox, and not by Marvel Studios/Disney, bombed earlier this year.

 

“This store focuses too much on kid stuff!” My father complained. “It’s almost like that’s the main demographic that they’re trying to reach,” I joked.

 

The in-store escalator looks like a fairy tale. I thought this was a nice touch.

 

 

 

New York around Christmas makes for a beautiful sight, notably including the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller center. It’s no wonder that this city was made to be the setting of Elf, one of my favorite Christmas movies.

We ended the day at Radio City Music Hall, watching their Christmas Spectacular. It’s a wonderful story about the beauty of Christmas and just believing, complete with amazing dance numbers.
 RCMH is one of the most notable music venues in the city. My parents just saw John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival there earlier this year. It’s an iconic part of the City, as are the Rockettes which dance here.

The inside of RCMH, all decorated for Christmas.

 

We were encouraged not to take pictures during the show, so this was the last picture I got.

So, that’s my blog’s first brief foray into New York. I live so close to the City that I will probably find something else to post about, but I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all the pictures I’ve taken.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Landmarks: New York City, Vol. 1

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