July 16, 2017 9:41 AM EDT
The energy of NYC can still be felt in this 1911 film. The traffic may have a mix of horses and early automobiles, the original cute, showboat design of the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the trademark Flat Iron building and Statue of Liberty, still make me feel a total connection to the place where I was born and raised. I love the silent film era and have attended revival showings of a few of them as well as seen them on public television. Watching this I expected to see Buster Keaton show up at some point. The ladies' hats are wonderful. The corsets terrible. The cute young girl in the car slouching and looking bored or tired is adorable.The one-legged man selling newspapers and then being filmed later in the reel gave me chills wondering what happened to him and how long he survived.A few years ago there was a homeless man, without legs, a few blocks from the dance studio where I practice, which is about ten blocks from the Flat Iron building. He was unable to offer anything for sale. He just sat on the pavement smoking. Being a dancer there was no way I was going to pass by without giving him money. He said thank you and looked back to the pavement.Things look worse now, but there was no safety net in 1911. It's impossible to help everyone, but several organizations do all they can to help those in need.