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The City Concealed goes to Staten Island

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
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Inside Thirteen Blogger: Daniel Ross, Producer, The City Concealed

I’m interested in characters consumed by a singular task, like Joseph Mitchell’s Joe Gould or the astronomers determined to peer into the edge of the universe in Richard Preston’s First Light. That’s why I decided to shoot a piece about Doug Schwartz, the Staten Islander who’s been painstakingly building rock sculptures every week for over a decade on the shore of Mount Loretto State Park. He doesn’t plan to quit doing it until his body wears out.

A lot of people think Doug is strange for devoting so much time to his sculptures, but Tom Vigliotta, who created our original online series/blog The City Concealed, mentioned something I think rings true. He said it would be strange for a person Doug’s age not to find something on which he toils away his free time.

That’s what I wanted to capture in the piece (in addition to giving viewers a glimpse of the physical space and the sculptures themselves). Discussion of Doug’s work usually includes references to the occult or elaborate pranks – even Doug will bring this up when you talk to him – but I wanted to demystify Doug and his rocks. When you see him on screen, he’s really no different from a guy in his workshop building a cabinet or a fisherman on a stream.

So watch and enjoy, and visit The City Concealed for more NYC explorations:

The City Concealed: Staten Island Rock Sculptures from Thirteen.org on Vimeo.