Parks in the Movies | Adrian Benepe

February 13, 2015 12:11 AM

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With the Academy Awards coming up Feb. 22, people around the world are thinking about their favorite movies, actors, directors and even sound tracks. For some of us in the world of city parks, we watch movies through a narrower lens: scenes shot in parks ("How about those Cossack-like park rangers on horses chasing down poor Santa in Central Park in Elf?"). And some of those movie scenes we all watch raise questions about how location shooting affects the parks and their use, and we wonder if the park will be a star, or an extra.

In almost four decades working in and around New York City's parks, I have seen their rebirth and improvements documented in movies, as the city's parks they have gone from graffiti-strewn, menacing and dark backdrops to glamorous ambassadors for the city and its now record levels of tourism.

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