Nick Carr scouts NY locations for "The Godfather" decades too late

This is a fun collection of locations from "The Godfather" from around New York City as they sit today. So many of these locations are like home to me, as many times as I've seen this film. Fun to walk down memory lane. Weird to see the old house with a minivan in front of it.

Andy Nelson

I met Andy Nelson as a junior at University of Colorado. It’s all a little fuzzy to me now, but I think that would have been around 1993, maybe ’94. We were both heading in to RA positions in the dorms and ended up on the same residence life team: Baker Hall. 

He was in film school at the time, I was in J-school, and we were both goons for movies. But there are people who enjoy films, celebrate the craft, and collect them on then-VHS tapes, and there are those who invested heavily in laser discs. The latter group developed a special relationship with the films they viewed, diving into “Special Features” and “Alternate Endings” long before they were cool. Choosing to listen to the director’s commentary track on a new addition to their library before the main audio track because — who are we kidding — that’s the more interesting stuff, anyhow. 

Andy was a laser disc person. 

My final graduation project senior year was a documentary film that covered the making of Andy’s graduation project, a short film shot on location at the Denver International Airport. Yeah, long enough ago that we could bring in lights and cameras and film in the terminal without actually paying for a flight. 

We lived together for a while after college. We have files of ideas for scripts and projects in mothballs. In spite of best intentions — and some terrific ideas, of course — time and circumstance never saw favor for us to finish.

Then, in 2011, after some years of cajoling, I managed to talk Andy into joining me for a friendly podcast in which we might just muse on movies we like. We did one on Raiders. Then we did one on Temple of Doom. Suddenly we were meeting every single Thursday night like clockwork. After 20 years of trying to actually make movies with this guy, the project we get to stick is a podcast in which we talk about movies. Strange tides. 

Andy lives in Phoenix now. He has a fantastic family — they totally outclass him in all the best ways. His was one of the few ports in my drive which gave us a night to do a few shots (the kind in a glass) and set up a fun shoot (the kind with a camera). We went with a poker theme, as we’d just done The Sting on the podcast and I wanted to do an aged piece for Andy, something we might composite into a movie poster some day. Funny thing is, I don’t actually know if Andy is any good at cards. After all these years, we’ve never played. 

To Andy, I owe great thanks for so many things. He is an inspiration to me in his love of his craft, and he teaches me more about the art of the story with every conversation. He operates with a machine’s efficiency, putting my own efforts at productivity to great shame. But more than anything, he’s a man of honor. In my own efforts to live true to myself and my word to others, I have Andy as my ballast, always in my head, reminding me what it means to be strong. I’m deeply proud to be working with him and look forward to many years to come. 

Gina Trapani

I didn’t know I had discovered Gina Trapani when I first discovered Gina Trapani. In fact, I’d been reading her work for years before I made a more personal connection with the writer herself.

Gina is the founding editor of Lifehacker.com, one of the most addictive websites for enterprising nerds interested in living systems, and she’d been noodling around my computer in the form of selected Gmail plug-ins she’d written. At the time, I wasn’t in the habit of putting names to developers behind the software I was using, content instead to download and click and strive for freeware as often as possible.

When I quit my job to freelance in 2007, people became more important to me. Not just people, but creative people. That’s when I began to take note of great work, and of the great people behind it. It’s when I developed a taste for favorite bloggers outside of my own circle of nerd friends. It’s when I started to read bylines.

Gina, insofar as she is a technologist and entrepreneur, also taught me to think about marketing in a new way. She is member of a caste of professional creators that invests heavily in her community, representative of the shift in the market conversation that puts weight not just on the product, but on the maker of it. In following Gina’s blog, Lifehacker, her show (This Week in Google), I was able to learn enough about her as a person to inform me about the decisions she made in the products she created. This affinity made me more inclined to continue my relationship with her as a customer of her scripts, her writing, and more curious to investigate new projects she launched.

I had been a long-time supporter of her social data aggregation tool, ThinkUp, as an open source project. I’m thrilled to be one of the first round of backers of ThinkUp as a commercial project launched in the last few weeks. It’s a testament to her great savvy as a technologist and community wrangler that this is turning into such a useful and well-intentioned product.

I photographed Gina beneath the Geisel Library on the UC San Diego campus. If you’ve been following Gina for any time at all, you’ll note that one of her key defining characteristics is just how damned nice she is. Seriously. You’d think she was medicated how nice she is. The tagline for her company is, “It’s nice to be nice.” In thinking of what I wanted to capture in the frame, I couldn’t think of anything other than, “Get Gina mad.”

That’s remarkably difficult to do.

I tried insulting her. I tried calling her names. I tried making faces. It all just rolls of her back. Finally, I said something about a hot story on Fox that morning and she bristled just in time to catch a nice, sturdy growl. Then she laughed.

We shared a delightful walk that day on the UCSD campus, sharing thoughts and insights from social media to parenthood. And while our paths haven’t crossed since, I’m honored to have shared this brief time to connect with a great spirit.

To Gina, I owe great thanks for her work as an advocate in open source, and as a model for positive and engaged interaction online. She’s an inspirational creator and a warm and charming individual to boot.