One of the things I love most about New York City is the pulsating energy of its street life. The cars, taxis, and subways move to an energized beat as they traverse the bridges and tunnels that form the arteries that connect the City to itself and surrounding Boroughs. From day to day, week to week, the rhythm might slow down a bit on weekends and late at night, but it never stops.

When crossing town on the M86 bus I saw a dancing police lady directing traffic by Central Park West. The energy and joy expressed in her movements amazed me. An MTA worker told me that her regular station was at the Queensboro Bridge.  A few weeks later I hopped on my bicycle to find her, and there she was – directing traffic at an exit ramp in the morning rush hour. With a huge smile she introduced herself as HUTCH, short for the poetic name, Mentoria Hutchinson.

I returned with my video camera and filmed her not long after dawn when her shift started. Pedestrians smiled, drivers honked and children jumped with delight as they watched her dance in perfect synch to traffic and brightening the morning commute. I wanted a good beat for the soundtrack, and was lucky to find the talented percussionist Gary Williams hanging with the Occupy Wall Street group at Union Square. He agreed to be filmed inside the subway station as the trains rumbled by – which we did until a cop broke up the show.

The best clips were woven together and I was happy with the results - but I needed an intro shot to mark the location. I found the answer on the other side of the East River in Long Island City, which offered spectacular views of Manhattan and the Empire State Building glowing in the early morning light.

Thank you HUTCH, for lifting our spirits and making people smile during the morning drive to work. Thank you Gary, for providing the perfect beat to match HUTCH’s masterful rhythms on the street-stage of New York City.

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Technical notes: City Rhythms was filmed in HD video with a Canon 7D and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 on a Mac loaded with OS X 10.6.8 and plenty of RAM. Title sequences and animations were made in Adobe After Effects.

For other blog posts in my City Diary category click here.

For a video by Jeff Levine filmed in India click here.

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