Who is OTSONY?
After almost 5 years of anonymity, OTSONY’s creator and editor Mark Rogers steps out from behind the shadows of privacy. “The website was designed to give the illusion that it was run by a team of researchers and contributors, but in truth it’s just been me!”
“It might also surprise some people that I don’t actually live in New York City, and in fact, I administrate the non-profit website 3465 miles away in England. That’s not to say that I’ve never visited the greatest city in the world. In the summer of 2009 and again in 2011, I spent 10 days strolling through the many districts that make up Manhattan. With not having any access to filming street permits from the past and present, pinpointing locations has always been a long and drawn out ‘manual’ process, and there have been some that have taken a very long time to find. But it is normally worth it in the end, especially when you actually step inside a café, restaurant or hotel lobby that has been featured in a film and instantly recognise the layout and where the actors once stood. Café Bravo on Beaver Street in lower Manhattan was featured in the ingenious heist film, ‘Inside Man’ starring Jodie Foster, and for a while afterwards had a signed photograph of the actress up on the wall. Anyone who is a fan of the romantic comedy ‘When Harry Met Sally’ has visited Katz’s Delicatessen at the corner of East Houston Street and Ludlow Street, just so that they can sit at the same table as the actors had done all those years ago, and for any fan of the TV sitcom Friends, it is essential to have a picture taken outside the apartment building in Greenwich Village. This is what makes New York City the exciting place that it is. Yes, of course there are the usual tourist attractions to visit, but nothing really compares to actual film locations that you’ve seen on the big and small screen. Even the not-so-famous locations are still worth visiting if you are planning a trip to the Big Apple.”
“When researching New York film locations, disappointments are part of the course. Some of them you will find weren’t actually in New York City and have instead been filmed in Canada or even LA. In fact, one scene in the remake to ‘Alfie’ was filmed on the streets of Manchester in England. Also, New York is a city that changes a lot, and you’ll often find that where there once stood a café or shop has since been completely demolished and replaced by an office block or restaurant. A perfect example would be the small clothes store ‘Love Saves the Day’, on the corner of 2nd and 7th. The store was featured in the 1985 film, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ and up until January 2009, it offered vintage clothing and accessories, and of course the experience to walk on the same floorboards where Madonna had once played out her scenes. It has since been replaced by a Japanese take-away, which rumour has it, has now closed down.”
“Given the opportunity, I would like to publish all my findings in a book that would offer more than just mainstream films. It would be something that is forever in print, whereas the website content is always changing and will evidently come to an end one day.”
“My favourite film location is the apartment building used in the 1955 romantic comedy, ‘The Seven Year Itch’ starring Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps because I’m a fan of the late actress and I know for a fact having seen on-set photographs that she actually stood on the exterior steps leading up the front door and during the closing scene of the film is leaning out of the one of the front windows. Other than visiting the apartment building at 444 East 57th Street, where she lived for a short time with her playwright husband Arthur Miller, this is about as close as you can get to standing on her faded footsteps, and in many ways one of the lost New York film locations. When talking about ‘The Seven Year Itch’, most people will refer to the ‘white dress scene’ on Lexington Avenue and completely forget about the apartment building at 164 East 61st Street.”
“The website is now very close to reaching 1000 films, a figure I never thought would have been possible when I started this project in 2009. Back then, my main goal was to be mentioned on Wikipedia, which is still yet to be achieved!”
"Thanks to everyone who has visited otsoNY and sent me emails, photographs, found missing locations... it is always much appreciated."
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