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May 2, 2011

A List of Reasons Lovers of New York Should See “Bill Cunningham New York,” A Documentary About Photographing New York Fashion

Noticing New York

Never mind six degrees — The New York Times is never separated from Forest City Ratner by more than a couple degrees.

You can still catch the documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” in New York area theaters. The sweetly charming Cunningham, a man of extraordinary magnanimity of spirit, is a beautiful nerd, a man who, by giving himself over entirely to his obsession with fashion, achieves a singular greatness few of us can ever hope to achieve. With his two contrasting photographic features appearing weekly in the New York Times, Cunningham meticulously and with relentless energy chronicles the upper echelon fashion at New York’s exclusive charitable soirees and, also, more important, street fashion.

Among the several reasons Michael D.D. White urges us to see the film are these:

• The way that charity event life meshes with money and power (and therefore, the astute will extrapolate, politics and political agenda.)

Whither the New York Times? The future of the city, at least for the time being, is probably inextricably linked with the New York Times. As Cunningham’s work now and over the years has mostly been for the Times the film provides a valuable window into the culture of the paper, including a scene with Times publisher Pinch Sulzberger (called "Pinch" because his father was nicknamed "Punch"). A lot of the film is shot inside or just outside of the New Times building that the Times, employing eminent domain, built in a business partnership with Bruce Ratner, the notorious politically-connected subsidy collector reviled for Atlantic Yards, (a mega-project the Times refrains from criticizing or scrutinizing).

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Posted by eric at May 2, 2011 9:12 PM