Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reasons I love Greenpoint- Part 16: Filming

One exciting thing about being in NYC is you are bound to run into film crews. Sure, it's an inconvenience when it's on your block and the lights and noise keep you up in the middle of the night, but I have not had to deal with that... yet.

A shocking amount of TV and movies film in Greenpoint. Since I've been here (4 years), these are just a handful of shoots that I am aware of: Lipstick Jungle, Fringe, The Casualty, The Money and the Power (that 50 Cent show that was on MTV), 30 Rock, Life on Mars, The Black Donnellys, Rescue Me, The Departed and my absolute favorite show - Flight of the Conchords!

In fact, I got to watch them filming Flight of the Conchords *before* I had started watching the show. It's probably a good thing too - because if I was a fan at the time I stumbled upon the shoot, I may have risked life and limb to cover Jemaine Clement in kisses (I *LOVE* THAT MAN!). Here are the photos I took that night on Greenpoint Ave:

Filming "Flight of the Conchords" in Greenpoint

Look! It's Jemaine!! (He's in front of Chinese Musician restaurant on Greenpoint Ave- this is where I have Christmas dinner with my Dad)

Filming "Flight of the Conchords" in Greenpoint

Filming "Flight of the Conchords" in Greenpoint

My favorite show on network TV is 30 Rock. They film in Silvercup Studios (in Long Island City), which is only a few miles from here. But for one opening scene, they shot in front of one of the many 99 cent stores on Manhattan Ave. I was not aware of this until I was watching the episode. I recognized the store immediately because of the red 99 cents neon sign. Here is the storefront (between Meserole & Calyer):

This Greenpoint 99 cent store was seen on 30 Rock this season!

And here is a still shot from the episode:

30 Rock, on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint

Lipstick Jungle was on Greenpoint Ave what seemed like every day for months. I never saw the actors, but I did get one of the crew to let me take a banana from the food table once.

Rescue Me filmed here often too. I've also seen their trailers, but never the actors.

And the show Life on Mars filmed here a lot too.

Life on Mars shooting on Manhattan Ave

One night I took photos of the film crew and the parked cars on Calyer street -

Shooting "Life on Mars" on Calyer St at the Capri Social Club

Car from the set of "Life on Mars"

Car from the set of "Life on Mars"

And last spring/summer, a film called "The Bounty" with Jennifer Aniston filmed in Greenpoint for weeks. I loved what they did with some of the storefronts along Manhattan Ave and I watched them film the parade scene-

I'd totally buy that bathing suit

I *love* this graphic so much, I want to marry it!!!

Hanging out between takes

Marching Band

Although this entry is all about the reasons I love Greenpoint, I need to mention that when I bike around and see the "No Parking" signs, I am on a mission. First, I pull my bike over. Then, I make sure the coast is clear while I sing a little Judas Priest in my head "breakin the law! breakin the law!". I pull out my razor blade - which I carry for this exact purpose - and cut down a sign. What a rebel! I can't stop myself. I just love collecting them! But I am considerate about it, I do it only when there are multiple signs in one place, because I don't want anyone to get a ticket or get towed for not knowing about the restriction.

Here are the signs I've collected so far (these are from Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan)-

No Parking signs from NYC film shoots

Come to think of it, I haven't seen any film crew signs in Greenpoint lately. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time. I wonder what will film here next!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reasons I love Greenpoint: Part 15 - The Greenpoint YMCA

Last week was my 4 year anniversary living in the great neighborhood of Brooklyn known as Greenpoint. I weighed about 185 pounds at the time I arrived. The following September, when I was close to 200 pounds, I joined Weight Watchers. And days later, I also joined the Greenpoint YMCA.

Greenpoint YMCA, since 1906

At the time, I had no idea at that time how dramatically my life would change as a result - that I would go on to lose 50 pounds, looking and feeling better than I ever have in my life, that I would challenge my fear of classes by trying out Punk Rope, only to become a devoted punk roper (evenually challenging myself further by doing yoga, pilates, interval training and total body conditioning), that I would improve my cardiovascular health dramatically, that I would become physically stronger and not coincidentally mentally stronger, that I would start to believe in myself, that I would make some of the best friends I've ever had in my life, that I would become an avid and enthusiastic cyclist, or that I would start running - something I have always hated and dreaded!

While I realize that I made all of those changes and am ultimately responsible for all the ways my life has improved since then, I can't help but wonder how different my life would be if the Y wasn't there. Would any of that have happened? Maybe some of it would have, but my life would not be what it is today.

Needless to say, I love my YMCA. I'm proud to be a part of it and I'm so glad it's there. So when I came across this postcard on eBay, I *had* to make sure it was mine - This appears to be a hand drawn representation of the building. (Anyone familiar with Greenpoint will likely recognize this as the corner of Meserole Ave & Lorimer St.) There is a handwritten note on the front of the postcard where I assume the person sending it was pointing out the room she stayed in.

YMCA - corner of Meserole Ave & Lorimer St

Flipping it over, the postcard was actually filled out on March 12, 1911 and is postmarked with a Brooklyn stamp from March 13, 1911 - 99 years ago!!!

It reads:
"How is Ferndale? It seems very nice to have Aunt Bessie with us. I don't think we will let her leave us. Mother has been to church three times today but Aunt B. and I were wicked and only went twice. Elsie I DeGroot"
I love that so much! They were "wicked" for only going to church twice! And could she be referring to beautiful St Anthony's Church on Manhattan Ave? I would bet she was!

Anyway this is how the YMCA looks today, January 2, 2010 from that same angle. Not much has changed (though, comparing it to the postcard, they added a few floors onto back of the Lorimer side of the building):

YMCA, 2010

I love my YMCA and am so thankful for the wonderful people I've met there - the people that have taught me and pushed me and made me a better person, inside and out. Thank you, YMCA, you are just one more reason I love Greenpoint!