Category Archives: NYU

“Twilight” Star Robert Pattinson Films in NYC; Gets Attacked by Fans, Hit by Taxi

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It has been a grueling week for “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson, who is in NYC to shoot his latest film, “Remember Me.”  Not only did he have to wake up early in the morning to be on set at NYU’s Silver Center and Washington Square Park, but he was met by throngs of screaming fans – including two sporting “Twighlight” tote bags who were audacious enough to run past the barricades, flail themselves at Pattinson, and snap some “Myspace-style” photos.  Let’s just say the guards (not to mention Pattinson) were not exactly pleased.

To top it all off the actor was grazed by a taxi in front of the Strand Bookstore while attempting to escape from fans.  One of his bodyguards is reported to have shouted, “See what you did?  You almost killed him!”  Seems to me that the more obsessive Robert Pattinson (dare I call him RoPat?) fans become, the less likely it is that they will have someone to obsess about in the future.

It’s Official: Washington Square Park Renovation Phase I Has Re-Opened (Stay Tuned for Phase II)

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Though the fences had been quietly dismantled last Tuesday to allow a growing trickle of visitors, Thursday May 28 marked the official ribbon-cutting celebration of the now-completed Washington Square Park renovation – Phase I, that is.

A red carpet was rolled out to welcome prominent public figures and everyday parkgoers alike; speakers included Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe

A tent was raised near the fountain to house a small group of chairs and a dais for the aforementioned speakers, who asserted that “a Nobel peace prize could have been awarded” for the extraordinary negotiation efforts that occurred throughout the planning and construction process.  Several of the speakers also remarked that even the most vocal opponents of the renovation seemed to be impressed.

After the speeches, the officials gathered in front of the fountain (which had been turned off) to stand behind the official ribbon, scissors ready.  The moment the ribbon was cut, streams of water shot out of the waterjets.

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Additional festivities included a commemorative button-making station, live jazz music, and free food from local eateries like Crumbs Bake Shop, Le Pain Quotidien, and Mario Batali’s Otto (whose “Gelotto” cart will become a fixture in the park this summer).

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Phase I of the renovation added new benches, winding walkways and grand promenades, and 20% more greenspace to the park, and controversially moved the iconic fountain 20 feet to align it with the equally iconic arch.

Though parkgoers are glad to have access to the fountain and central area again, the entire park will not be open for long: Phase II of the renovation, which will be concentrated in the northeast, southeast, and southwest quadrants of the park, is scheduled to begin in the near future.

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Hillary Clinton: Congratulations, NYU Class of 2009

HillaryNYU Secretary of State Clinton delivers her speech at Yankee Stadium.  Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

The New York University All-University Commencement for the class of 2009 was held in the brand new Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, May 13.  Over 25,000 people attended the event headlined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who received an honorary degree (and a hug from President John Sexton!) and delivered the commencement address.  Recognizing that the class of 2009 is graduating during one of the worst economic climates since the Great Depression, Clinton emphasized the challenging yet promising times ahead.  The Secretary of State urged the class to participate in global affairs and to embrace the inevitability of change.   She explained that much is expected of these graduates, and in light of the location, remarked that now they “are up to bat.”  Watch her speech here.

NYU Graduation Coverage Part 1: Grad Alley

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The streetsign may have been temporary, but on May 12 – the day before graduation for NYU’s Class of 2009 – West 4th Street and LaGuardia Place were transformed into a carnival-like “Grad Alley.” The celebratory street offered food (only at NYU would knishes and falafel be standard fare), a DJ, jugglers, games, crafts, and even human statues (say hi to Lady Liberty!) for graduating seniors and their families.

The Magic is Back: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with Nicolas Cage Returns to Washington Square Park and NYU

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Conveniently for those NYU students who missed it over spring break, the cast and crew of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” returned to Washington Square Park today to film new scenes.  This time, however, the public was afforded an actual Nicolas Cage sighting (if you could recognize him in a long brown trench coat, long hair, and sorcerer’s cap).

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Actor Jay Baruchel could also be seen on set.  The scene itself featured several extras walking along pathways in the park, with Cage and Baruchel among them.  The cast and crew were lucky to be working on a beautiful 65-degree day, though unfortunately for everyone else (who wasn’t interested in star gazing), the filming closed off a large section on the east side of the park.

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Paul Dano from “Little Miss Sunshine” Restores Law & Order at NYU

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It’s been a little over one week since “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and already Washington Square Park is being taken over by another film crew.

The night of Monday, March 30, signs were posted on streetlamps indicating that the area around Washington Square West would be used to film for Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  In case you forgot which of the seemingly countless Law & Order spinoffs that is, it’s the one with Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and now Jeff Goldblum.  Mazza First Hand Source was kind of hoping to see Mariska Hargitay, who has recovered from her Hamptons sledding accident-induced lung collapse (that sounds just as strange to us as it does to you) and returned to set last week looking fierce.  But alas, her TV jurisdiction extends no further than SVU.  Or maybe she’s off-duty.

By this morning, two enormous trailers were placed in front of Hayden Hall (including one that quite adorably listed the following stars’ names on the door: Lucy and Desi.  To which stars do these trailers actually belong?  D’Onofrio and Erbe, perhaps?).

By about 3:30, a crowd gathered near the chess tables on the west side of the park as cameras rolled.  Signs placed at the entrance to the park made the legal disclaimer that anyone who chose to remain in the park during filming could be photographed and filmed without pay.  (Another advantage to filming in New York: free and constant extras.)  Interestingly, a group of homeless men was provided chess pieces to actually engage in a game during the scene taking place directly behind them.

The scene itself featured Paul Dano (perhaps best known for his mostly silent role as Dwayne in “Little Miss Sunshine” ) in a business suit talking emphatically on a cellphone and walking hurriedly through the park.  Large technical equipment, including cameras, lighting, and a boom microphone, followed him for about three or four takes.

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Filming is scheduled to continue until about 8 P.M. tonight.  As for the final product, you can probably expect to find the Wasington Square Park scenes on an upcoming new episode – that is, if you can find it buried somewhere in the ubiquitous 24/7 Law & Order marathon that is television.

Here’s a place to start: the eigth season of Law & Order Criminal Intent is set to premiere on April 19, 2009 on the USA Network.

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former Chair of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker Hold Discussion at NYU

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It must be VIP week at NYU: first Nicolas Cage, Alfred Molina, and other stars show up to film a movie here, then Hillary Clinton is named commencement speaker for the Class of 2009 graduation, and now this:

Today at noon British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former Chair of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker will hold a discussion with NYU students and faculty about “A New Multilateralism in the 21st Century.”  According to the official NYU press release, “The event will include such pressing issues as global economic structures and policies, the challenges of climate change, and the need for cooperative approaches to security.”

Unfortunately the event is invitation-only (which may explain NYU’s last-minute press release).  But those of you hoping to catch at least a glimpse of these renowned people and a potentially fascinating discussion can view the event live on RealPlayer through the NYU website.

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View the complete photo gallery at Zimbio.