In case you missed it: The Amazing Spider-Man (part 2) is filming in Rochester, NY. Why Rochester, you may ask? Well, the whole production is filming in NY state. The chase scenes could not be filmed downstate because
city officials there have common sense speed regulations are more stringent there. Rochester is apparently an awesome stand-in for NYC, which I tried to convince my downstate friends of during college to no avail, but I digress.
Anyway: Spider-Man is filming here, and taking up a large stretch of Main Street for two weeks. As luck would have it, my workplace is right along this part of the street, meaning it will probably be a nightmare to get into. In addition, I ride the bus to get to work and all of the local transit is being re-routed.
Funny. I’m not much of a comic book aficionado, but I thought Spider-Man was supposed to fix things, right? Rescue them? Leap tall buildings in a single bound so that he wouldn’t need to take part in a car chase? Maybe that was Batman. I don’t know. All I know is, instead of fixing everything, Spider-Man is ruining my work week instead. This is how:
Day One of the shoot, and the first day my bus service is rerouted. During the extra time that it takes my bus to get to my workplace, the girl next to me starts falling asleep and landing on my shoulder. Dammit, Spider-Man. This never would have happened if this bus ride were 20 minutes shorter.
During lunch, I try to see what I can of the shoot. There are a bunch of yellow taxis and fake NYC cop cars sitting stock still, and an armored truck. For a minute, they move. Fascinating stuff. You know when I can see cars driving up and down Main Street? All the damn time, when they aren’t filming a stupid movie there. My car even could be one of them.
In case you’re interested in this sort of thing, all of the cars look like models from several years ago, and a coworker tells me that it’s supposed to be set around 2000. Is it a flash-back, or is the movie just an early 2000s period piece? I hope the latter. I have some butterfly clips and embroidered jeans that Wardrobe could borrow.
Someone says that none of the actors will be here. Nuts. There goes my plan to befriend Emma Stone, who would probably be really funny and have great outfits I could borrow. Or, I guess, Shailene Woodley. I’d refrain from asking her about working with Clooney in The Descendants, but probably couldn’t help myself from mentioning how she starred in an American Girl movie. Clooney may be one of the most beautiful men alive, but Felicity Merriman is a childhood dream realized.
I get off the bus on the most crowded bridge ever, because that’s where all the buses are being re-routed to. Nobody fell asleep on me today, so that’s nice.
At lunch, I decide I want iced coffee, opting for the better coffee place that’s a 15-minute walk away, instead of the one around the corner. It’s 75 degrees out, so I want to sneak in a walk. So does Rochester, apparently. Like, the whole city. It’s a madhouse.
There is nowhere I can turn without running into a barricade. It’s like Les Miserables without all the majesty and grandeur. At one point, I see a cement mixer for a fake company driving on the set. Or, maybe it was a dump truck. Keep your eyes out for that one, film buffs!
After a half hour of walking, I realize that between the film blockades and construction work, there is literally no way to get to the coffee place. I walk back to work, and it takes about 5 minutes just to get down the crowded bridge. I swear it is tilting under the weight of all of the people and buses. Spider-Man, save us! Ohmygodwe’reallgoingtodiehereonthisbridge.*
Did you notice how I styled it Spider-Man, with the hyphen? Pretty good, right? Yeah, I don’t read comics, no matter how adorable Seth Cohen made it look.
A woman sidles into a morning meeting 20 minutes late, looking a little worse for the wear. “Spider-Man,” she offers by way of explanation. Dammit, Spider-man.
I get to leave work early so they can install my new computer. Awesome! Or, actually, not so awesome. All of the Rochester teens are out of school trying to catch their buses. An explanation, for you non-bus-users — the city schools in Rochester use the city buses, not yellow schoolbuses like those precious little suburban kids.** That is a lot of kids. I stand with the huddled masses yearning to breathe free on the Broad Street Bridge, but the bus is 20 minutes late. When it arrives, it is over-capacity already. I was not crazy yesterday: the bridge is absolutely moving. This is sort of the worst.
As I wait, the film crew with the camera rig drives down the street. Are they trying to get crowd shots? That’s almost cool. Then, the woman next to me starts waving like a lunatic. Ugh, nevermind. They won’t even be able to use this now. Thanks for ruining everything, waving lady.
You know how there’s a lot of talk about how Rochester’s downtown isn’t as bustling as it should be? I know how to fix it now. Don’t worry, we don’t have to film an action franchise here all of the time. Oh, goodness no. We just need one fewer street. Seriously. With Main Street closed, every other street is absolutely packed. Of course, it doesn’t help that the three or four separate bus stops along Main are compressed to one mega-stop on the bridge, which has narrow sidewalks and is also a BRIDGE.
When I get home, I Google “what to do when a bridge collapses.”
Apparently this happened yesterday:
So, that’s… not all the way right. Also, I LOLed at a YouTube comment from a non-Rochesterian that commended Rochester for really resembling NYC. I suppose it is a little true, them both being… cities made out of… buildings and all that.
In case anyone was wondering if this is bringing tons of people downtown every day: ehhh, maybe? When I look around, I really just see people who look like they’re in the middle of a work day, or Bus People who would be here anyway. I guess the main demographic difference is that there are more dorky teen boys than usual. I am not judging – I was a dorky teen once, too. Honestly, I wish I could get really into comic books, the same way I used to be jealous of people who were really religious. It gives you a built-in set of things to look forward to on a regular basis, and people always know what to buy you for Christmas and birthdays. So, hats off to you, dorky teen boys, you are probably really easy to buy for!
There’s a chance that you’re reading this and you’re from a city where movies and tv shows are regularly filmed. By this point, you’re probably wondering what the big deal is. It’s like this: you know how when they get 1/2 inch of snow in the South everything shuts down? And all of us up North scoff at them? Of course, we do realize that the reason the South reacts like that is they aren’t equipped to deal with snow, and we are. Well, this is the same way. This city is just not equipped to have all of these extra people and closings. That, and frankly you probably wouldn’t find too many legit cities who would close down the main thoroughfare for two consecutive work-weeks. That’s especially true when, like Rochester, the closings make the entire hub of the public transit system get squashed onto one bridge.
Oh, and other people have totally felt it, too. The bridge is moving. We may be calling on Spider-Man to save us, after all.
You may think this is all terribly over-dramatic, but did you SEE the part where I had to settle for the less-good iced coffee? Serious stuff. Dammit, Spider-Man.
* Yes, I do realize that bridges have to have some give, otherwise they’ll snap in the middle. But it still doesn’t feel super-awesome when you feel it shifting beneath you.
** I was a city kid til I was 15 and a suburban kid after that, so no ill-will towards either group. Or actual, equal ill-will towards BOTH groups because I can’t deal with teenagers any more, with their loud conversations and modern fashions and not getting off my lawn when I tell them to.