The Wonder Ring
Stan Brakhage, 1955, 16mm, 6m

Bridges Go Round
Shirley Clarke, 1958, 16mm, 4m

David Devensky, 1967, 38m

Scenes from New York City Transit
Robert Crawford, 1972, 16mm, 17m
Please note: the final third of this 16mm print, intended to be in color, remains quite faded

Taxi, Taxi
Bill Creston, 1977, 14m

Catalina Santamaria, 1997, 7m

New York Gradual
Gregg Biermann, 2018, 14m

The rapid rise of mass transit and urban populations in the late 19th and early 20th century saw tectonic shifts occur in New York City. Between 1900 and 1930 the population of the five boroughs doubled to nearly 7 million inhabitants, all vying for places to work and live—and means of transportation to get to and fro. The opening and rapid rise of the Subway system in 1905 (not to mention the tentative arrival of the automobile) gave mass transit a privileged relationship to the nascent and still-forming technology of cinema. Since its inception film has sought to explore, document, and emulate the spectacle, effect, and sensations of vehicular transportation, and this is especially true in New York City. The dominant subject of these films, as one might imagine, is the train, with elevated and underground journeys quickly becoming a common subject for experimental filmmakers and artists. Each mode is represented here, but the program also goes beyond the railway tracks to explore the infrastructure of New York’s bridges and taxi cabs, and the pleasures, frustrations, and poetics of finding one’s way on foot amongst a throng of other New Yorkers.