[New York to San Francisco First Day #1]

Interviews and conversations on a sidewalk in New York City about the city, recorded to be played as part of a festival in San Francisco.

00:08Copy video clip URL The camera captures people on the sidewalk, as well as a TV monitor connected to a second video camera. Bystanders gather to speak with an interviewer – inaudible.

01:01Copy video clip URL Conversation with Jeff Collier, a long haired man wearing a vest with no shirt underneath  and jean shorts, about “how New Yorkers think.” He thinks that you find a greater diversity of people in New York City than you do anywhere else. They are, generally, “very closed up” and it takes a long time to get to know New Yorkers. 

03:00Copy video clip URL Interview with a well-dressed, middle-aged Black man, with a slight accent, who discusses the difficulty of finding justice in America. He talks about a lawsuit that he’s been pursuing for years after being unjustly fired as a typist. He explains his case in detail and then shows the interviewer the relevant documents for his case, a folder full of examples of his work. 

06:33Copy video clip URL The previous conversation continues as the camera focuses on an interview taking place between two men and the other camera operator.

07:02Copy video clip URL Another interviewer speaks with two young white women, beginning mid-conversation about New York “I hate it…. Because it’s anonymous and nobody knows anybody. And it’s very hard to meet people. And if you don’t have a big business going or a big corporation, then you’re just lost. You’re just a lost person.”

08:39Copy video clip URL The woman’s short-haired friend says that New York “is a treasure trove… Anything you want, you can find here and live here. I found the only way you can live here is by using it for everything you can get…. I think New York is a place to do business. I don’t think it’s a place to live. It’s dehumanizing.” She lives in New York for her career and delivers a message for anyone visiting: “Hold your nose. Don’t breathe. Don’t talk to anybody. Look out for perverts.”

10:18Copy video clip URL The short-haired woman talks about a run-in with “a pervert” who she feared might hurt her, and her attempts to get help from a police officer who was “drunk as a skunk.” She went home and hid under the bed for three hours afterwards, she says, while laughing. She grew up in Europe, she says, but moved to New York six years earlier. Her friend finds that New York is “a very ugly city. You don’t see any beautiful trees. Even Central Park is covered in a layer of dust.”

14:05Copy video clip URL A middle-aged Black man in sunglasses says that he loves New York and that the people are very nice but that it’s too expensive, and that he might have to leave.  [Note: image unstable in this section.]

15:31Copy video clip URL People gather on the sidewalk to watch the TV monitor. 

16:15Copy video clip URL Conversation with a gravelly voiced Black man about people performing for the camera and about shyness. He talks about overcoming his own shyness by playing drums, and that performing in front of an audience gave him something else to focus on. He knew Richie Havens, he says, and talks about other musicians he’s performed with and has seen perform. He talks about once riding a freight train out to San Francisco, but not making it because he had a toothache. He likes New York because of the women, he says. He has friends in San Francisco he wants to get in touch with him, so he gives out his address. 

21:25Copy video clip URL The gravelly-voiced man holds the microphone and talks with the people on the sidewalk.

22:29Copy video clip URL A tall man carrying a burlap sack over his shoulder talks to the interviewer. He used to live in San Francisco and wants to say “hi” to “David and Tony.”

23:11Copy video clip URL A long-haired man in a tank top plays an acoustic guitar while sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk. The camera wanders across the bystanders.

25:02Copy video clip URL Conversation with a white businessman in a suit and tie who isn’t planning on moving away from San Francisco. 

26:30Copy video clip URL An elderly white woman tells the interviewer that she doesn’t know anyone in San Francisco. She’s from New Jersey and thinks that Californians hate New Yorkers and hate people from New Jersey. 

27:40Copy video clip URL A floppy-haired boy on a bike has a message for San Francisco: “I hope they’re doing as good as we’re doing here.” He’s “a peddler,” he says. He “peddles leather and stuff, you know. And, like, business has really been bad this year.” He doesn’t move uptown to sell things because “you get hassled.” He was arrested last week, he says cheerfully, but he was only in jail for an hour. The police tell him he’s not supposed to sell things on the street, but “I’ve got to make a living… I don’t want to be out robbing people, so I’m trying to make money for myself.” He has to make a living this way because the other ways of making money open kids to being taken advantage of. Why does he, as a young kid, have to work? “Why? Because I can get what I want. And it keeps me from running around in the streets, you know what I mean? And I really make a lot of money, and it’s a lot of fun!”

31:06Copy video clip URL Conversation with a bystander as the camera follows people on the sidewalk. The man they’re speaking to talks about using a Sony camera in acting school. He’s lived in New York all his life: “I think it sucks…. I just think that, as far as my people are concerned, the people I’m spending time with, I think there’s too much emphasis on drugs because of the problems in the city…”

 

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