Tribeca, or for the sticklers, "TriBeCa," is the Triangle Below Canal, the roughly triangular neighborhood at the lower end of Manhattan bounded by Canal Street on the north, Broadway on the east, and the Hudson River to the west (and the World Trade Center to the south). Robert DeNiro grew up not too far away in Little Italy, so when he decided to make an anthology series about life in the most exciting city in the world, he found the perfect setting among Tribeca's eclectic architecture and lifestyles. The seven episodes of Tribeca showcase a range of human stories uniquely New York. Among the better episodes:
"The Box." A cop (Laurence Fishburne) tries to deal with the death of his older brother, a stockbroker murdered and robbed on his morning run through Battery Park. His tortured efforts to open a puzzle box that his late brother gave him parallel his efforts to find peace with himself. A splendid start for the series, with Fishburne's Emmy Award-winning performance as the anguished cop. Series regular Joe Morton makes his first appearance as a mounted policeman trying to talk his fellow cop out of doing something stupid.
"The Loft." Three teens move to the City and renovate a vacant loft rented to them by the kindly café owner played by Philip Bosco (this was obviously an earlier era since no kids could possibly afford renting in the since gentrified Tribeca). The girl is mistaken for a criminal one night and the two boys spend the night searching for their jailed friend. This provides a great look at the energy that always permeates this city that never sleeps.
"Stepping Back" examines a couple deciding between the aggravating, impersonal, intimate, and always exhilarating pulse of life in the City compared with the isolation and disconnection of the suburbs.
"Honor" tackles the ease with which the homeless are ignored.
Executive producer DeNiro insisted on filming the entire series in New York, and the sense of verisimilitude is overwhelming. This is a series that lets you see New York from the viewpoint of a native, not a tourist. Unfortunately, this great series has not been released on VHS or DVD and is unlikely to be released in the foreseeable future.
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