“I’ve romanticized this city to unhealthy heights,” says filmmaker Casey Neistat of New York City, which ends up as the setting of many of his productions.
Neistat grew up on movies that were shot in New York City, but even the most romanticized version, Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” “is a gross understatement when compared to the reality that is New York City,” he says in Visit the USA’s web series “United States of America Through Film,” in which 12 filmmakers, including John G. Avildsen, Andrew Davis, Nick Stoller, David Frankel and Spike Lee explore how New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami played starring roles in their films.
No one lives here because they live here. Everyone lives here because they want to be here.
A former bike messenger, Neistat is now now one of YouTube’s more prolific filmmakers, depicting destinations through his unique lens on life.
The filmmaker’s videos have generated a massive following on YouTube, including one in which he snowboards behind a police car after a winter snowstorm blanketed its streets.
“If you look at my Instagram feed, its just constant pictures of the city because I can’t get enough of it,” Neistat says “The beauty of it never gets lost on me.”
After growing up just hours from the city, Neistat has called New York City home for the past 12 years.
“New York City is without a doubt my muse,” he says. “It is a star of so many of my movies. It’s not a location, nor is it a backdrop. It is a character. The motivations behind so much of my work are the interactions that I have with this city.”