Manhatta, a Gift to the City

There is a special category of artifacts about New York City that express the near-boundless possibilities of the metropolis. One is E.B. White’s essay, Here is New York. Another is the short film Manhatta made by photographer Paul Strand and precisionist painter Charles Sheeler. The images are the artists’ while the words are borrowed from Walt Whitman. When you have 11 minutes give yourself a gift–watch this and listen to the modern score by the Cinematic Orchestra that was included in this version until it was taken off the Internet due to copyright issues. To me the film is all about the boundless possibility of Gotham, and living in a New World promised land, like Blake’s Jerusalem. It has great symbolic weight. The denizens of  the city arrive on its shore and stride into the future. My heart soars every time I watch it. H/t to web site Music of Sound from New Zealand for bringing the Cinematic Orchestra’s score to my attention. The version on here now has no musical score.

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  1. […] New York’s waterways, harbor, and shoreline, such as that seen in the 1920s short film “Manhatta,” it was a grand day and we took away some great images, many of which are included here. […]

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