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Director Casey Neistat discusses his muse, New York City
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Growing up three hours from the New York, Director Casey Neistat has called the city home for 12 years.

Without a doubt, New York City is the star of many of his movies. Neistat explains, “It’s not just a location or a backdrop, it’s a character.” Certainly, this culmination is comprised of a perfect grid of experiences, people, sights and skyline.

Dreaming of the Big Apple

Neistat also respects the driven, hard-working New Yorkers. “No one lives here because they live here: Everyone lives here because they want to be here.” He first worked as a bike messenger eventually transforming into the wildly popular director of YouTube videos with a colossal fanbase. Neistat attributes his early love of New York City to the movie Big, when Tom Hanks’ character arrives in the big city and makes it “a gigantic playground.” He still remembers his fifth grade social studies book, and being enamoured by the New York City skyline. Twenty-five years later, Neistat’s love for the city hasn’t faded.

Even the most romanticized version... is a gross understatement when compared to the reality that is New York City.

A ride on the Staten Island Ferry remains a favourite. Neistat loves being surrounded by New Yorkers and the trip is gloriously free. The ride commences with lower Manhattan’s view “in your face; you’re staring at a 50-storey building and as it pulls away, those buildings become smaller, and all of a sudden they go from being a building to being a city and the entire city starts to take shape,” he says. It’s the perfect urban frame.

With a travel schedule whisking Neistat to great international cities like Paris and Tokyo, when asked where he’s from, he proudly exclaims, New York City. Scrolling down his Instagram feed, a visual homage to the bustling metropolis, it’s easy to see why Neistat loves to romanticise his city. He runs along the West Side Highway, so he can see the Empire State Building, and he cranes his neck to see the dramatic skyline from an airplane window. From boyhood to the present, New York City remains his muse.

For more information, visit Our New York Guide.

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