The vanished city comes back to us, now and then, in scenes from old movies. You don't expect it, then there it is. You squint at the screen, thinking "Is it?" You recognize a piece of the decor or a certain familiar ambiance. It is.
Watching Woody Allen's lovely 1988 film Another Woman, a scene appears in Chumley's.
Chumley's before the collapse. Chumley's without the Sex & the City girls and the Wall Street guys who discovered it somewhere along the line and made it impossible except on quiet afternoons. Chumley's on a quiet afternoon where a philosophy professor, a stage actor, and a director are drinking together, playing out their drama. One says, "I used to be a devoted Brechtian." And it feels like the Village when the Village was the Village.
You wish the camera would pan across the entire space, capturing every detail of that lost world. But it doesn't. The scene is tight and brief. Then it shifts. It's over. And you remember that it's gone and you can never go back there again.
So you press "rewind."
2006, my flickr