Nevsky is to St. Petersburg what Times Square is to New York. It’s the main street where everything is happening. Every other vehicle is a tour bus packed with retirees with their cameras at the ready. And while the buildings on the street are old and historic (like everything else in this city) the Nevsky we see today has a very different life than it did 20 years ago.
This is what my research while I’m here in St. Petersburg is about. How Nevsky has changed since the Soviet times, especially through the growth of the tourism industry. Doing interviews for this project has given me the opportunity to talk to some very interesting people. The manager of Dom Knigi (the most famous bookstore on the Prospekt), the director of MIR Travel Agency, and the Head Architect for all of St. Petersburg. As well as meeting these people that I definitely would not have talked to otherwise, I have gotten to see some cool things while doing these interviews. After the interview at Dom Knigi we got to go up to the top floor (which is closed to the public), where you can see the old architecture of the building. We got to interview the Head Architect in his office, the walls of which are littered with giant maps of St. Petersburg from all different times. One read “City plan for Leningrad”.
My favorite part of this project, however, has been getting the actual footage of Nevsky Prospekt. Walking around Nevsky with your friends is not a bad way to spend a sunny afternoon. I captured the groups and groups and groups of people crowded around Kazan Cathedral, the fleets of tour busses, people relaxing by the fountain in front of the Admiralty, and a saxophone player set up by the cathedral.
… I only wish the tiny bear had been on Nevsky, cause I totally would have filmed him too.