New York, Cultural capital

7 juin 2016

"My first impression, that will never disappear and that many visitors have shared, is to cross a city where I have lived." In these words, Jean-Claude Carrière, film-maker, described a city living in our imagination like no other. Tremendous theater for many movies, books or video games, New York is also famous through TV shows, songs and paintings.

New York between the lines

Literature about New York is related to this urban jungle, lush and abundant. New Yorkers and foreign writers paid tribute to this city of a thousand facets. From Edith Wharton to Don DeLillo, through Truman Capote, Mary Higgins Clark or Paul Auster, they are hundreds, through novels, poetry, thrillers or news, that chose to use their pen in the frantic streets of New York. The multiple faces of the city allowed the writers to offer a wide range of topics. Emblem of exaggerated capitalism, privileged theater of social wars, the mosaic offered by New York is and will remain an inexhaustible source of inspiration for men of letters.

Some books: Old New York of Edith Wharton (1920), Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (1958), The Night of the Fox by Mary Higgins Clark (1979), God knows Joseph Heller (1984), Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo (2003)...

When New York makes somes Movies

"Cinema has made New York a city of lost steps, a spectral city where we all traveled, one day or the other." Jean-Claude Carrière makes no mistake, comfortably seated in a red chair or lying on a couch, all our eyes have already walked in the streets of the Big Apple. The cinema has, for nearly a century, offered the leading role to avenues, parks, buildings and monuments of New York. 

Due to its almost unfathomable vastness, the city gave birth to fictional characters as diverse as the melting pot offered by its neighborhoods. Superheroes, mutants, mafia, intellectuals, insane, rich, poor, they are a lot to have walked under the cameras of Stanley Donen, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola. As for literature, scenarios, intrigues and stories vary diametrically, from love stories to apocalyptic or terrorists disasters, but still keep gray silhouettes of New York buildings in background.

Some films: King Kong of Ernest Schoedsack and Merian Cooper (1933), The Godfather of Francis Coppola (1972), Taxi Driver of Martin Scorsese (1976), Once Upon a Time in American of Sergio Leone (1984), Birdman of Alejandro Innarritu (2015)...

New York, mass series actor

Glorified in literature and in cinema, the Big Apple was also bitten on TV. As for the 7th art, the multiple atmospheres offered by New York sparked the imagination of series writers. Multicultural city, she played for years between the ambiance of the comfortable sofa of Friends, the glittered roof tops of Sex and the City, the immoral crimes of Experts or the evil strigois of The Strain. The city that never sleeps is both a background and a character itself in dozens and dozens of series that parade through its noisy streets.

Some series: Friends, How I Met Your Mother, CSI: NY, 24 hour clock, Castle, Mr Robot, Mad Men, Spider Man, Ninja Turtles...


New York is music

For some, the mention of the word New York is enough to trigger the legendary notes of Liza Minnelli "New York New York". Covered by Frank Sinatra and many others, that title based on the eponymous movie sounds like a hymn to the glory of the city where everything is possible. From Harlem jazz to Bronx rap, from Madison Square Garden to Broadway Theatre and from the Metropolitan Opera to the Cafe Wha?, New York is music into its underground. 

As Liza Minnelli and Sinatra, many artists have paid tribute to the city. In a non-exhaustive list, Lou Reed with Coney Island Baby in 1976, My city of ruins of Bruce Springsteen in 2000, New York, I love you but you're bringing me down of LCD Soundsystem in 2007 or Jay-Z and Alicia Keys with Empire State of mind the same year are part of it.

Some titles: Subway Train of The New York Dolls (1973), New York state of mind of Billy Joel (1976), 53rd & 3rd of Ramones (1976), Fairytale of New York of The Pogues (1987), New York of U2 (2000), I love New York of Madonna (2005)...

New York with a joystick

What is the common point between the latest blockbuster of Ubisoft, The Division (2016), released on next-gen, and Mario Bros, arcade game developed in 1983? They both take place on the streets of New York. As these two video games, over a hundred have selected the economic heart of the star nation for background. From high-crime places of Grand Theft Auto IV, to the independent dimension of Metal Gear Solid II through Streets of Rage or Alone in the dark, each developer has his justification to explain the choice of New York.

"I think one of the things we have tried to capture in the game is that New York is the world capital for which is to meet crazy people" (Rockstar for GTA IV). "New York is the center of culture and of the global economy, a melting pot and a "mini-Earth" (Hideo Kojima for Metal Gear Solid II). "If there is one place on earth where turtles, crabs and flies coexist, so it must be in the underground cities! "Where do we find a huge underground city? In New York." (Shigeru Miyamoto for Mario Bros).

Some video games: Tekken II (1997), Tony Hawk Pro Skater II (2000), New York Nights (2005), Crysis II (2011)...


Daniel Castan, inspired by New York

Painters did not miss the appeal of the New York streets, as Gerard Boersma, David FeBlanc or Miro Sinovcic. The Carré d’artistes® artist of the week, Daniel Castan, is one of those. In his first lifework, Daniel travels a lot in New York and Hong Kong. He keeps from these trips a fascination for urban universe and for disproportionate perspectives. He tries, in his paintings, to recreate these graphical environments. The lines of the buildings are lost in the sky, the wide avenues seem endless, the colors clash. The knife, his favorite tool, allows him to work in “paste”, in large touches and to draw in the matter. The choice of the instrument is not a coincidence; the knife leaves no room for doubt. Daniel is impatient and is guided by the gesture. Within minutes, the canvas is covered with paint; he then adds the material and cuts it as a sculptor.