How strange, almost creepy, it was to walk around some New York City streets, among things that were so recognizably of New York – underneath fire escapes and awnings, by traffic lights, street signs and lamp posts, past parking meters, a subway entrance, blue postal boxes and yellow newspaper dispensers, in front of delis and bistros…. It all felt almost real, apart from the ghostly quietness of the streets…. and the fact that they were actually located on a film studio lot on the outskirts of Sofia.
The detail with which the New York City streets at the Nu Boyana Film Studios were replicated was stunning (Yes, real NYC sewers are also made in India. I checked.), which made simple oversights even more blatant (avenue numbers in Manhattan barely reach double digits, so I wonder where that 73 AV sign came from… then again, it was knocked down on the ground).
Even more bizarre was walking through a film set which replicated a real place, and not just any place, but one that I have a soft spot for. It was unlike the completely made-up Küstendorf, built without a real-life original, or Warsaw’s rebuilt old town, which only looks like a film set, but is in fact a real-life part of the city. You see, I love, love, love being in New York – not least of all for the rush I get when walking around its streets. So, it was exceptionally odd to be on what so closely resembled those streets without getting even a trace of that rush and without hearing any of the sounds or smelling any of the smells that, I now realize, constitute so much of what makes New York feel like, you know, New York.