Here's a montage of poor quality video clips that I captured on and around New York's High Line in May 2011.
I recently re-discovered the footage on an old HD card, inside a forgotten about video camera. As the footage demonstrates, it's now possible to get much better quality film on an iPhone than on a Panasonic SDR-S15, explaining why the latter had been consigned to the 'miscellaneous tech' box under my TV. That's fine, though. The camera was cheap in the first place: I was more interested in buying something light and small that I could rest on walls, tables and other surfaces without worrying too much about the consequences.
Most of the footage on the HD card featured Manhattan’s High Line and the surrounding area. From recollection, the High Line was one of the few places in New York where we could take things at a gentler pace: there was time to actually stop and look and listen to the city. The elevated nature of the High Line also provided the opportunity to observe the surrounding streets and buildings in a way that was rarely possible on the busy sidewalks.
I think that the assembled footage captures a more interesting picture of New York than if I had elected to point the camera at the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building. The combined images, overheard conversation and ambient noise tell stories that I'm not sure I was aware of at the time. Listen carefully and you can hear New Yorkers talking about troublesome pets, planned shopping trips and other subjects that define city life in a more convincing way than any amount of museum or gallery visits (which isn't, of course, to disparage those pursuits).
[A short note about the soundtrack: I used Saint Etienne's 'Hill Street Connection'. I think the music suits the content of the video. It also gave me some way of ordering and limiting how much of the footage to include. Hill Street Street connection featured on the Sylvie CD single from 1998 (Momentum Music/Warner Chappell). I have two copies of the single, neither of which will ever be consigned to the 'miscellaneous tech' box.]
I am a Lecturer in Digital Education (Education Futures), within the Centre for Research in Digital Education at The University of Edinburgh.