New York Underground (WGBH/American
C Sound: C+ Extras: C- Episode: B
York Subway system is taken for granted as a given and surfaces in just about
anything about New York. During the
events of 9/11, holes in it from falling debris from the World Trade Center
towers falling hit home about how much of New York had been effected going back
over a century. It turns out the famed
subway has its own dark history and the beginning of the construction of the
legendary site was out of interesting conflict in the late 19th
Century well covered by WGBH’s American
Experience series episode New York
nose of most people and especially then-powerful William “Boss” Tweed,
designer, innovator and science advocate Alfred E. Beach felt the grossly (and
dangerously) overcrowded New York needed to find new space to grow and even
just survive. The concept of a subway
was his idea of the answer. It was rough
going and had its setbacks, but it eventually happened. Elena Mannes wrote and directed this
excellent 56 minutes installment and is thorough in her research and squeezes
the so much history that you’ll want to see more.
X 1 image is softer than usual with more aliasing errors than we are used to
seeing in the oldest of these shows on DVD.
However, this is a documentary and some of the footage that HD could not
improve since this happened over a century ago and the oldest silent film needs
some serious work of its own. The result
is a mix of black and white film, stills and some new footage. The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple stereo at
best, but just fine for this presentation.
The only extra is a weblink and DVD-ROM PDF printable educational
material. Don’t miss this one.
- Nicholas Sheffo