A Faster, Slower Lower East Side

by BILLY GRAY · June 29, 2010

    I'm a sucker for time-lapse video. It elegantly captures the big picture feeling of time by sweeping its prosaic and irritating component parts under the rug.  To wit, admire this moving portrait of a LES night as much for what it shows as for what it leaves out. 

    Such a placid take on a dusk to dawn transformation of the Lower East Side could only be achieved by eschewing some of its more raucous elements. And so Jean-Paul Lew's camera looks down the shotgun barrel of Allen Street, capturing the red and white tail and headlights of traffic while floating blissfully above the price gouging, out of control cabbies behind the wheels.


    We viewers are kept happily unaware of the fact that many if not most of these taxis are heading to one of nearby Avenue A's 92 increasingly fratty bars. Lew helps us rise above the fray of the bloody neighborhood noise wars brought on by these watering holes and keeps us safe from the underground, where youths pretend to mourn the passing of the V train (its old station's entrance sits in appropriate darkness bottom right) while cursing the (barely) operational F lumbering toward the same stop.

    We see Sugar Cafe's wraparound neon facade center-bottom, with not even a hint of the overcooked and underwhelming bacon cheeseburgers being doled out inside to a crowd of restive drunks.

    Making blissful peace out of chaos. Next up for Lew: our bank accounts.

    Video via Runnin' via EVFeed