Although you can't step outside today without running into a movie or television shoot, much less someone's panning Snapchat, there was a time when cameras were not constantly recording New York City. That all changed in 1894, when the first film was recorded outside of Edison's studio and on the city's streets. It was called Herald Square, and is what the Times refers to as an actuality, an early documentary film that merely recorded the events of the day.
When the marvel of the new technology that was visual recording began to wear off, plot lines in film began to develop. One of the first films with a plot shot on location on the streets of New York City was also an actuality and was called What Happened On Twenty Third-Street, New York City. The film featured a staged man and woman walking down the street, when the woman's white dress was blown upwards by a sidewalk vent. The film later served as the inspiration for Marilyn Monroe's infamous billowing white dress scene in The Seven-Year Itch. Now, avoid these places like the plague if you don't want to end up in the background of the next season of Girls.
· The First Film Shot In New York City [NYT]
· Meet Flo Fox, the Blind Photographer Who's Chronicled New York City For 40 Years [Curbed]
· Video Interlude archives [Curbed]