Confessions of a location scout: why the New York beloved of the movies doesn't exist any more
There is surely no other city we know as completely from cinema and TV as New York. Yet according to film location scout Nick Carr, what he is often asked to find is anything but the reality of the Big Apple

Nick Carr, a movie location scout who writes the popular blog “Scouting NY,” explains in The Guardian (London) why he gets a "small-town” vibe throughout The Bronx, and thinks it’s “the friendliest borough in New York”: 

A few summers ago, I was hired to scout for a movie being shot entirely in the Bronx. If you believe its Hollywood portrayal, the Bronx is hell on Earth, a lawless Gomorrah of sin and vice where crime runs unchecked and if your car breaks down in the Bronx, you better run like hell. 

I knew this wasn’t the case, but I was still a bit nervous when I first started scouting. We were shooting in some of the more dangerous neighbourhoods, and walking the streets with a big stack of neon flyers and a $5,000 camera around my neck, my mind kept returning to … well, the movies. 

Sure enough, on my first day, a tough-looking guy came right up to me as I was walking down the street. “Nice camera,” he said.

This was it. A scene I’d watched a million times over. I knew exactly how it was going to end.

“What kind of lens you got?” he asked.

“Canon 24-70mm L-series,” I replied.

“Cool. I’ve been thinking of getting one myself.”

With that, he walked off down the street and disappeared.

Just like in the movies, right?

For the rest of my scouting gig that summer, I had more casual, friendly exchanges like this with people on the street than I can count. In New York City, random conversations with strangers are usually to be avoided like the plague. And yet the Bronx reminded me of my travels in the midwest, where a visit to the grocery store might lead to a five-minute conversation with a clerk you’ve never met before about your recent vacation to Hawaii. There’s a wonderful, almost small-town spirit that permeates much of the Bronx, and I can easily say it’s the friendliest borough in New York. 

Of course, you’d never know it from watching the film I worked on. Once again, the Bronx was treated as a desolate hellhole. I’m not even sure if the director had ever set foot there before. But he had seen it in the movies.

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25th July

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