‘Winter’s Tale’ takes DUMBO back to early 20th century

December 10, 2012 Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Residents and workers of DUMBO – part of Brooklyn’s “Tech Triangle” – caught a glimpse of a fleeting past Friday night as the Manhattan Bridge Arch and Pearl Street Triangle were transformed into a tiny piece of the early 20th Century.

Oldsmobile touring cars parked on Pearl Street next to horse-drawn carriages, stacks of hay and wooden barrels. Men in bowler hats congregated on cobblestone streets and sidewalks covered with blankets of fake snow.

The reason for the transformation was the filming of “Winter’s Tale,” a fantasy revolving around a thief, a dying girl, and a flying white horse, based on a 1983 novel by Mark Helprin., according to IMDb (Internet Movie Database). The movie stars Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly – and a beautiful white horse.

Winter’s Tale has similarly transformed Brooklyn Heights, Red Hook and Park Slope. Last week the lovely old carriage houses on Love Lane were turned back into . . . lovely old carriage houses, with hay stacked near their entrances and not a trace of the 21st Century in site. Likewise, snow blanketed Prospect Park West as horses clip-clopped through Prospect Park.

The film “takes place in a mythic New York City, in an industrial Victorian era style, and markedly different from our own,” according to Wikipedia.

That’s for sure. In our own world, residents of DUMBO and adjacent Brooklyn Heights, sick and tired of getting kicked off of their own sidewalks and having their cars towed, are asking for a moratorium on filming in their picturesque neighborhoods.

 “In October and November alone, the community played host to at least 14 different productions, including at least three major motion pictures,” City Councilman Stephen Levin said last week (see brooklyneagle.com). “Last Wednesday, two films, ‘Delivery Man’ and ‘Winter’s Tale,’ were granted filming permits on the same day and were allowed to hold up to eight blocks of parking.”

Back in the mythic Brooklyn of Winter’s Tale, Peter Lake, an Irish burglar falls in love with Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house.

In today’s Brooklyn, however, a resident of Grace Court complained about a scene where the character’s horse raced down the street. “Because of one scene, we had to lose 72 hours of parking,” he said. “Finding non-street parking in this neighborhood is expensive — it’s $30 a night in garages.”

Hurricane Sandy delayed shooting, so the work is going on longer than expected.

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