The Great Sandy Disaster happened across a whole swathe (good to hear that underused word coming from presidential lips) of the East Coast.
Yet in the first instance (though see codicil below) the UK press coverage confined Sandy’s main effect to three Boroughs of New York: one got flooded, one got fired and one was deserted. Malcolm’s familial ties to Essex County, New Jersey, meant he was looking in that direction — most of what he found involved views of downtown Manhattan from Hoboken Terminal.
Oh, and there was the aerial shot of the dunked yellow taxis in their Hoboken lot and the tanker piled onto Staten Island.
And therein lies this tale.
It’s not just the London/British press. There’s something makes Manhattan the focal point of the whole world’s (including the US) media attention. A frequency chart of stories from and about the United States would come up as a dot-matrix of that famous Steinberg New Yorker cover.
All that is explicable for film and television. After all, it’s the sky-line, innit? A movie set in London, for international consumption, has to be located by reference to Tower Bridge and the Palace of Westminster> Similarly the spiky horizon behind Battery Park, or the classic view across the Brooklyn Bridge (always from the Brooklyn end) is new York, but natch.
All understandably so. After all, flying into Newark Liberty (as the Lady in his Life and Malcolm do in a few days time) is made worthwhile by:
- it being the one New York airport that seems to work (although with inevitable delays);
- its ease of access (particularly when Number One Daughter is waiting at the gate); and
- the final approach in darkness, having that wall of high-rising lights to port. Even hardened travellers seem incapable of resisting this ocular cliché.
Which allows Malcolm chance to mention a particular favourite.
A while back (early 2011) Bernie Hou manufactured a magnificent, even iconic graphic, packing 91 New York movie locations into a single image.
Of the 91 Malcolm recognised perhaps a dozen.
They say that half the scientists who have ever lived and worked in the history of the human race are alive, well and researching today.
The same must be true, to an even more remarkable fraction, about graphic artists. Across the digital globe, spotty geeks with pirated Photoshop and illicit Illustrator, all sitting at their high-definition video-screens, are pushing the envelope of the possible. Their mothers despair they will ever tidy their bedrooms.
The New York Central meme is a consequence of all the media operators having their bases within shoulder-rubbing distance of each other, and as close to Times Square as can be.
And then the lights went out.
Remarkably the Sandy story then moved outwards, to where other tv studios were still operating. And that, folks, is how they make ‘news’ in the Big Apple.
And how the Big Apple is sauced for news.