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In "Annie Hall" (1977), both Woody Allen the filmmaker and Alvy, the character he plays, defend New York City, albeit with a shrug of apology. The scenes establishing the growing relationship between Alvy and Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton, restored the feeling of romance to such old-time movie New York standbys as the apartment terrace, as well as an old pier, an old park·even an old wooden house sitting directly beneath the roller coaster at Coney Island. (Discovering it inspired Allen to add a series of scenes from Alvy's supposed childhood in that house.) It is Sanders's insight that the filmmaker's emphasis on old New York coincided with a city-wide push to preserve more of the city's landmarks.

In "Manhattan" (1979), Allen has shed the apologetic tone and is defiantly pro-New York, launching the film with a nine-minute black-and-white montage of scenes from the city, set to a soaring rendition of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." Just in case somebody in the audience doesn't get it, the narrator, Allen playing a writer composing the first chapter of his new book, says in voiceover: "He adored Manhattan. He idolized it all out of proportion." In the most famous scene, Allen and Keaton sit on a bench looking out at the Queensborough Bridge. "This is a really great city," he says. "I don't care what anybody says. It's a knockout."

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