Magazine article American Cinematographer

The New York Experience

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The New York Experience

Article excerpt

A new multi-media spectacle, extending sights, sounds and tactile effects into the audience opens in New York's Rockefeller Center

"THE NEW YORK EXPERIENCE", a multiple-screen, multi-sensory new adventure in entertainment that extends spectacular sights, sounds and tactile effects into the audience, is now open to the public in the most underground theater in New York at the McGraw-Hill building at Rockefeller Center.

Three years in preparation, "THE NEW YOR K EXPERIENCE" is the first major theatrical attraction to open in Rockefeller Center since Radio City Music Hall more than 40 years ago. It is a Trans-Lux/Bing Crosby Presentation produced by Electrovision Productions, Inc.

Located at Avenue of the Americas at 49th Street, in Manhattan, "THE NEW YORK EXPERIENCE" tells in dramatic and entertaining form the phenomenal story of New York City, past and present. It is shown in the newly built Trans-Lux Experience theater, 55 feet below street level, in which there are 68 special effects devices, including 41 projectors and 16 screens.

Among the many unique effects observers will experience is real fog as it rolls in over the East River and right into the audience! In another scene, the auditorium lights up with a vibrant shower of lights and sound and colorful bunting as New York's harbor swells with excitement during the dramatic dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Each memorable event in New York's cavalcade brings a new surprise to the audience.

Written, designed and directed by Rusty Russell, "THE NEW YORK EXPERIENCE" involves complex batteries of motion picture and still projectors, a sophisticated quadraphonic sound system, plus myriad special effects and lighting, all of which are controlled through a digital computer. The world's largest loudspeaker makes its debut in the Experience theater, a unit that is 26 feet long and measures 208 square feet at the mouth of the horn. It was designed more to be felt than heard.

In an area adjacent to the Experience Theater, Trans-Lux is presenting "LITTLE OLD NEW YORK", a unique free exhibit re-creating New York City at the turn of the century and featuring an old 6th Avenue "El" station, lamp-lit streets, a sidewalk cafe, and other aspects of late 19th Century life. No ticket is required for "LITTLE OLD NEW YORK."

"THE NEW YORK EXPERIENCE" is presented hourly from 11AM to 7PM, Monday through Thursday, and from Noon to 8PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The admission charge is $2.25 for adults and $1.25 for children under 12. Senior Citizens with cards are admitted for $1.50.


From the days of silent films, to disc, then optical sound, to CinemaScope, stereo, 3-D, and Cinerama, the technology employed in screen entertainment has always reached out Jto achieve total involvement of the audience.

Now, with "THE NEW YORK EXPERIENCE", stylized imagery on multipie screens combines with imaginative special effects, intricate lighting and quadraphonic sound to almost completely envelop and entertain the observer. Its contact with the audience is multi-sensory, even to a degree of tactility.

The production itself and the innovative, new Experience Theater in Rockefeller Center were designed specifically for each other. This has enabled the producers to use an unlimited range of unusual special effects devices, projection equipment and audio-visual techniques.

While the show takes place in a "theater", the auditorium more aptly may be described as an "environment". Theaters are universally structured so that the audience faces rigidly forward where all the action takes place. The Experience Theater is atypical in that the entire space is the "stage" and the audience, a part of it. Activity is everywhere overhead too!

So complex is the organization of the many elements in this show, they are coordinated by digital computer. So expansive is the presentation, the patrons sit in contoured swivel chairs in order to best capture the abundance of visual and aural effects that unfold all around them. …

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