Women appear less prominently in the films, which are on view in “Letters to Afar” (through March 22, 2015) at the Museum of the City of New York but when they do they draw your attention
Hundreds of dialects can be heard in America’s most diverse city, yet New York’s lingua franca is the language of change. Natives or newbies, New Yorkers are known for voicing strong views about why things need to be different. Here, love and hate spur movements, mobilize the masses, draw people into the streets and across bridges under banners. New Yorkers’ convictions, compassion and outrage have driven the city’s history and transformation, setting national precedents and seeding ideas. They still do.
The debut screening last week of Jennifer Callahan’s hour-long documentary “The Bungalows of Rockaway” at the Museum of the City of New York opened with an informal poll: How many people in the audience either grew up in, or owned a home in the Rockaways? About a third of the crowd raised their hands, and before long, there was little doubt about where they were sitting. During the screening, Rockaway loyalists cheered at references to local history and folklore, and mentions of less savory elements — namely the villainous Robert Moses and Breezy Point, a gated community on the southern tip of the peninsula — elicited boos.