Life in Reel New York: An HDC Film Series


Join HDC and James Sanders for a unique look into the New York City of the movies.

10262_66cm_ 013

Photograph by Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine, 1947

This three part series will include a lecture and short film and two feature length films curated by James Sanders, author of Celluloid Skyline. Focusing on the theme of life in the public world of the streets and the private world of residential spaces, the series will present early depictions of New York streetscapes, before going behind the closed doors of tenement houses and loft apartments later in the 20th century.



Friends of HDC, Seniors and Students- $5

General Public- $10

Pre-purchased tickets or RSVP preferred


All programs will be presented at the landmarked former Engine Co. 31

Downtown Community Television Center

87 Lafayette Street


In the Street

Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 6:30pm

The first program of this series is an exciting illustrated lecture by James Sanders. Utilizing his extensive personal archive of production images, including many not included in Celluloid Skyline, Mr. Sanders will discuss the importance of New York City as the living background of more than a century of motion pictures. The evening will also include a viewing of the 1948 documentary In the Street. This evocative short, jointly created by photographer Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, and James Agee, depicts life in Spanish Harlem in the 1940s in a beautifully edited visual narrative.



In the Tenement

Monday May 12, 2014 at 6:30pm

Street Scene is a stark black and white film from 1931, which follows 24 hours of the goings on of a group of neighbors in Hells Kitchen. Amid the stoop gossip, romantic intrigues and familial drama, the tenement house provides a dynamic background for the action (literally, as the camera never enters the building itself.) King Vidor, the director, shot all but one scene on a meticulously recreated half block set, that was envisioned using a number of historic, lived-in tenements as reference. Though depicted previously, this films marks the rise of the tenement as an iconic New York setting.


In the Loft

Tuesday May 20, 2014 at 6:30pm

Join us for the final film of the 2014 series, which looks into the tall windows and high ceiling of the Soho Cast Iron district. An Unmarried Woman tells the tale of a wealthy New York woman whose life is turned upside down when her husband leaves her for a younger woman. As the protagonist navigates the challenges of her new life, she begins to spend time with roguish painter who lives downtown. Set in an era of the city when the transformation of formerly industrial spaces into versatile artists’ lofts is booming, the movie introduces audiences to a New York City residence never before portrayed on film.



firehouseAll programs will be presented at the landmarked former Engine Co. 31
Downtown Community Television Center
87 Lafayette Street
Between Walker and White Streets


James Sanders is a writer and architect who co-wrote New York: A Documentary Film, as well as its companion book, with Ric Burns. He has written for numerous national news and culture publications and he maintains a design practice in Manhattan. Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies was published in 2001 by Alfred. A Knopf.




For questions, or to RSVP, please contact Brigid Harmon at 212-614-9107 or [email protected]

This series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Council Members Margaret Chin, Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, Vincent Gentile, Stephen Levin and Rosie Mendez.



Posted Under: Event, film, lecture


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *