The subway is the star at a Brooklyn film series that starts next week and showcases films spread across several decades. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
It's what moves more than 5 million New Yorkers every day. The subway is more than a bit player in our daily lives, and in the movies.
"There's so many diverse people in New York, and they're all on the subway," said Leslie Harris, writer, producer and director of "Just Another Girl on the IRT." "It's a place where I think everybody meets and everybody connects."
Starting next Friday, the subway takes a star turn, as BAMcinématek presents "Retro Metro." The film series will highlight more than a dozen movies, shorts and documentaries where the subway plays prominently on the silver screen.
"There's so many great films set on the subway or where the subway plays a really integral role," said Nellie Killian, programmer with BAMcinénatek. "It's an idea that we'd sort of been batting around for a long time."
"Saturday Night Fever," "The Warriors," "Beat Street" and "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" are among the movies taking moviegoers back in time to a different New York and a different transit system.
There's also "Just Another Girl on the IRT," Harris' 1992 film about a teenager that she wrote - where else? - while riding on the 4 train.
"I just love the interaction of everyone," Harris said. "And even in the film, Chantel, she's, really, the title is ironic because she's not just another girl on the IRT."
Henry Chalfant's 1983 documentary "Style Wars" spotlights young graffiti artists who turned the subway system into a rolling canvas scarred by tags.
"The subway system symbolized for the kids who were riding on it a kind of precursor to the Internet," Chalfant said. "It was a medium of communication between kids, and really, adults didn't enter into the mix."
Unless they were riding on trains or fighting a battle against graffiti that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority finally won a quarter century ago.
"The response that I think a repeater, a three-time repeater, should get would be five days in jail," Mayor Ed Koch said at the time.
The film series runs September 26 through October 5. For screening times and ticket information, visit bam.org/retrometro.