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Eternal City

Video: How to Cross the Street at the NYC Marathon

Three filmmakers capture moments of extreme grace and tragic hubris.

10:37 AM EST on November 15, 2022

Two women hold hands and cross the NYC Marathon laughing.

It’s now or never.

Every year, New Yorkers wishing to cross the route of the New York City Marathon on foot without hitting one of its 50,000 participants must summon a seldom-used combination of speed, rhythm, and strategy—Frogger meets double Dutch.

For the 2022 marathon, filmmakers Jeff Seal, Chris Libbey, and Nick Libbey ventured to Williamsburg to try and better understand this sweet science. They captured moments of extreme grace and scenes of tragic hubris. One guy crossed with 100 pounds of Trader Joe's groceries on his back.

This video is the third in a series of marathon-related shorts from the trio—you may recall 2017's iPhone masterpiece, and this 2018 classic set to "Chariots of Fire."

"Sometimes people wait a really long time before crossing and so you miss other people who have crossed in that same time frame," Seal told Hell Gate, describing some of the challenges of making this video. "And then sometimes people straight up give up and just walk back in the direction they came from."

Everything was shot in slow-motion, even the interviews. "This made for a mess in the edit but necessary to capture what we did," Nick Libbey added.

Oh and don't miss the crew's New York Times Op/Doc from earlier this year about Good Cause Eviction, and the absolutely essential two-part documentary, "Why Are You Honking?" and "SERIOUSLY: Why Are You Honking?"

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