Click on Image for A Larger View

It's not enough to know that movies began in New York City -- they were first shot here, in 1896, and they were first shown here that same year. James Sanders wants you to know, New York City also began in the movies. The modern city was shaped by its celluloid image.

"New York and the movies seem made for each other," Sanders writes in "Celluloid Skyline: New York and The Movies" (Knopf, 498 pages, $45). "Like New York, film is big. Like New York, film is larger than life. And like New York, it embodies -- even defines -- qualities of romance, glamour, danger, adventure."Like New York, and like many films, Sanders's book took him a long time to put together. He came up with the idea some 25 years ago; he began it in earnest some 15 years ago, which is far longer than he and Ric Burns spent co-writing the seven-part PBS series "New York: A Documentary Film."

There are two New Yorks, Sanders argues, the real New York and the movie New York, though both have influenced one another. Indeed, New York has been the subject and setting of so many thousands of movies, Sanders says, that in effect it has become a movie, or at least has all the qualities of one: "New York is dynamic ... It is a city of action ... It is a city of powerful imagery ... It makes a good picture."

Movie New York is a place where people dance in the streets -- in (from top to bottom) "West Side Story" (1961), "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), and "Fame" (1980).

1 • 2345678910