It appears that Ivan Olita’s scouting has led him straight to New York City’s very own scout, a movie location scout to be exact. Nick Carr’s job means that he gets to explore every nook and cranny that NYC has to offer, allowing him to discover the hidden details that many wouldn’t see. Ivan Investigates…
I’ve got 4 quotes for you and I would like you to select photography that you feel depicts what you think when reading the quote and explain your choices.
"You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person" - Alec Waugh
Whenever I see Central Park spreading out across Manhattan like an enormous blanket, I fall in love with the city all over again. The stark contrast between nature and civilisation, over-population vs. untouched beauty... I could stare at this view for hours and hours.
“A place is only as good as the people in it” - Pittacus Lore
Once the headquarters of AIG, 72 Water Street is now completely empty. Walking through, I always think about how important all of this once must have been to certain people...How being on a particular floor might have been a mark of success, or how a corner office might have been off-limits to anyone but the topmost VIPs. And how meaningless all of it is now, just floor after floor of empty cubicles and vacant offices.
“How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you - you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences - like rags and shreds of your very life.” - Katherine Mansfield
One of the last remnants of the defunct neighbourhood of Little Germany, once located in the East Village, is this bit of German above the entrance to a building. If there's one defining characteristic of New York City, it's constant change - but nothing ever gets fully erased.
“I moved to New York City for my health. I'm paranoid and New York was the only place where my fears were justified" - Anita Weiss
You know that scene in the movies, where a character goes down a dank, dilapidated, New York City alleyway, and suddenly finds themselves in a world of danger and adventure? Doesn't happen. Turns out, New York City has very, very few alleyways, and just about every film production shoots in this particular one, Cortlandt Alley. Manhattan is an island, and space is at way too much of a premium to waste on alleys. Want a city of dangerous alleys? Go to Boston.
Do you believe in haunted places? I guess you've seen a bunch of them…got stories?
I don't believe in ghosts, personally, but I do love modern mythologies. The Greeks and Romans had their pantheons of gods, we have Bigfoot, aliens and phantoms, and I think it's fascinating the way these legends propagate. I was once touring a mostly abandoned former tuberculosis hospital on Staten Island. My guide was a custodian who'd worked at the property for decades, and as we passed by an old Spanish-style stucco church, he told me that, sometime in 1960's, someone (perhaps the preacher) had hanged himself from the rafters. Many years later, the custodian was walking by the church when a co-worker suddenly ran out screaming, swearing that she had seen someone hanging from the rafters. They went back to check, and of course no one was there. One of the reasons I love this story is that I tried to look it up later, and couldn't find anything on it - meaning it's a legend that solely exists in this microcosm of New York, kept alive not by TV and the movies but simply by the hospital's storytellers.
Which are your 3 favourite locations in the world?
Normally I give the same bullshit answer to this question and say "it's wherever I've never been," partly because that's actually true, and partly because I really don't have three favourite locations. And people always get disappointed, because they want to hear some place they can go right now and be guaranteed to love it, which is obviously impossible. So I'm going to try and answer this honestly for once...
The backyard at my parents house in Massachusetts, on a warm summer night, surrounded by friends and family, a few drinks, playing games, laughing.
Bologna, Italy - I lived in Bologna for six months during college and it forever stole my heart for reasons I probably can't put into words. Walking beneath its ancient porticos, going to class in centuries-old buildings, eating some of the best gelato in the world at Gianni, drinking cheap wine in its piazzas with friends and fellow students from all over the world...I miss it.
PS - To all you Venice snobs, Bologna has a canal too!
St. John, US Virgin Islands - My favourite of America's National Parks. Miles of pristine beaches, incredible coral reefs, wonderful hiking trails, and best of all, hundreds of years of history preserved in crumbling ruins found throughout the island's jungles, from ancient rum distilleries to the ruins of manor houses. All of it protected from developments thanks to its status as a National Park. Not your typical tropical island.
What do you think about the world going GPS? I mean how do you see this tracking 2.0 evolving? It's kind of a big deal our days: social networks, social tracking, gmaps and so on. Are we all losing the ability of wandering around nose up as you do?
The best way to find something new is to get lost. This sounds like a line, but I'm dead serious. I was driving around lost one day north of the city when I happened to pass by this enormous abandoned Masonic Hall.
I managed to get someone to open the doors and give me a tour, and, holy shit, there's a chapel inside with gorgeous stained glass windows. I would have never, ever found this if I had gone the route my GPS suggested.
The obvious question: Best place to impress her/him on a first date?
This is more of a cute trick than a visual thing, but The Whispering Gallery in Grand Central always seems to impress if you've never heard about it. One person stands in one corner, other person stands in opposite corner, face the walls and talk, and you can hear voices like you were right next to each other. Whisper all the funny - or dirty - things you want with the hundreds of surrounding tourists being none the wiser. Then, go and bask in the glory of Grand Central's main floor.
When did you realise that looking up and finding places was a good job?
When I spent three weeks on Spider-man 3 on this rooftop while the riggers built a complicated camera device to drop off its side. Middle of the summer, beautiful weather, and even the one lightening storm that passed through was one of the craziest things I've ever seen.
How is NY doing in this very moment?
The guy who played Ross on Friends (really, does he even merit an actual name?) recently tore down this 19th century East Village townhouse to build an ugly mansion. Interpret as you will.
What are you going to do when you’ve scouted all the places in NY? Move to another place?
New York run out of places to scout? Every time I think I've seen it all, I take a wrong turn down a street, see something new, and realise I've barely scratched the surface.
All images from Scouting New York