Saturday, February 19, 2011

Extreme Makover NYC

I almost called this post The Face of NYC, but I think Extreme Makeover NYC gets more to the point (besides shamelessly riffing off the popular reality show).

As many of you know, plastic surgery has skyrocketed in popularity over the last couple of decades. People now shell out large chunks of their life savings in order to change their appearances and make themselves look younger. Wrinkles, moles, blemishes, bumps and odds and ends can be vanquished by the surgeons scalpel. Indeed, entire decades can be removed from the visages of those willing enough to pay the price and risk the consequences.

Here in NYC, however, it's not that simple. Plastic surgery is an industry but, like so many things these days, it's a niche one. Standards of beauty differ from culture to culture, and people from different cultural backgrounds who want plastic surgery want different kinds of operations. Asians, Russians, Latinos, in particular, have become big customers of plastic surgery but want very different kinds of augmentations. This fascinating article gives you an insight about the plastic surgery business in NYC and how, in order to survive in this competitive market in this competitive town, plastic surgeons better understand what kinds of enhancements their customers are going to want based on their ethnic backgrounds.

But it's not just the literal face of our citizens that are undergoing big changes. The face of this city has changed dramatically in the last forty years. Currently at Film Forum there is a retrospective of Al Pacino movies from the 1970s. Obviously The Godfather movies are his most famous but he made some other classics like The Panic in Needle Park (1971), Serpico (1973) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975) all set in NYC. As this article points out, the city we see in these movies is a very different place than it is today. The face of NYC from the early 1970s to the early 2010s has changed dramatically. Instead of trash and junkies, we have bike lanes and yuppies. Instead of run down rent-controlled buildings, we have glass condos. Watching any movies set in NYC in the 1970s is like peering through the looking glass, seeing a place that is at once totally familiar but also completely alien. 

By the way, not all movies set in NYC in the 1970s were scary ones. 2011 marks the fortieth year since Woody Allen released his second movie, and his first real big hit, Bananas. Watching this very funny trailer below from 1971, you see that they don't make movies -- or trailers -- like this anymore.  

1 comment:

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