Volume 21, Number 36 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 16 - 22, 2009

Talking about N.Y.C.’s fictional destructions

The repeated fictional destruction of New York in books, movies and other art forms will be the subject of a book talk next week at the Skyscraper Museum in Lower Manhattan.

“The City’s End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York’s Destruction” by Max Page delves through how the fantasy of New York City’s demise has been the center of attention. Even though the freeze-over climate change in “The Day after Tomorrow” or the human extinction in “I am Legend,” which was filmed Downtown, is unlikely to hit the city, Page writes why popular culture has fought such a creative battle against New York.

“Some disastrous movies, even though they look horrific, they are celebrating how valuable New York is and how awful it would be to lose the city,” Page said in an interview. “We play out some of our worst fears on the screen.”

Page teaches urban, architectural and public history at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he was born and raised.

“People keep returning to imagining New York’s destruction,” he said. “Even though other cities have grow up and are important, New York still dominates.”

The free lecture with Max Page will be at The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place, on Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free but R.S.V.P. is required to programs@skyscraper.org.

— Candida L. Figueroa




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