Long live the king, yo, I'm from the Empire State that's in
New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh,
There's nothing you can't do now you're in New York..."
- 'Empire State of Mind',
Jay Z feat. Alicia Keys
Here we are folks, New York - the Empire State. They've even got their own building!
For New York the state read New York the city. Probably the most iconic city in the world. That's why it attracts people from the world over. Chicago might have had the skyscrapers first and Dubai might have them taller (as might ten other cities), but New York is their spiritual home. The city is comprised of landmark after landmark - the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, Grand Central, Harlem, the Village, yellow cabs, the Flatiron, the Brooklyn Bridge, the subway. It is so familiar from 1001 movies and 1001 TV shows. If a programme or a film needs an urban environment it will by default look to NYC. It is one of the few places in America I have been to and the place was instantly familiar to me. King Kong climbed there. The Ghostbusters stationhouse is there. The cast of Friends danced in this fountain. In The Producers they dance around that one. We even accidentally interrupted one film shoot in Central Park (Friends with Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Milas Kunis, since you ask). Finding movies set in NYC ain't gonna be a problem quite frankly.
But New York is a big state completely overshadowed by one incredible city. What else is there? Long Island - home to 'The Hamptons'. All very Gossip Girl-y. Niagara Falls on the Canadian border. There is a city nearby called 'Buffalo'. There was a 19th century 'Hudson Valley School' of artists. West Point Military Academy is in New York. And I have a vague impression that the western chunk of the state is hilly (note: just checked my atlas and it is actually the eastern section that has the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains). I suppose the challenge then will be effecting an escape from New York (now there's an idea for a film!) and finding something set in the state outside the city...
But you thought that would be difficult? Fuhgeddaboutit! (see Donnie Brasco for the best use of that phrase; if you can't get hold of it try Mickey Blue Eyes instead). My three flicks for New York are:
- Manhattan (1979)
- Taxi Driver (1976)
- It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
So let's grab a hotdog to go, hop in a yellow cab and go looking for some action!