The Mayor of Central Park

A film by John Mullen

mayor

Alberto Arroyo said he was the first person to jog around the Central Park Reservoir.

Mr. Arroyo ran with movie stars, office workers, tycoons, homeless people and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis,

who six days before she died in 1994 came by to thank him for a get-well card.

Filmmaker John Mullen became a friend and followed Alberto with his camera from 2000 to 2004.

 

Alberto Arroyo died on March 25, 2010, a month after his 94th birthday.

Despite a series of strokes during his last year, he still visited the Reservoir when he could,

wheeled from nursing home to Park by many volunteer "citizens."
The running track was dedicated to him in April 2010.

 

 

 

john

John was a New Yorker and gifted cameraman who over four decades ago started cutting trailers to support an early marriage and family.

Still a writer at Look Magazine I used to watch him on West 57th St., surrounded by bins of 35mm clips from the latest Hollywood costume drama.

Having un-stitched the best efforts of top writers, editors and soundmen he now began to re-stitch them into 15-second TV teasers

and more "leisurely" (his word) 30- and 60-second theater versions.

The work was fast, physical and audible -- SLAM (lock in the latest from the cutting table), WHIRRR...BAM, stop, unlock, back to cut and tape.

John would grunt, growl, mutter, the moviola his humble pinball machine...then smile or laugh when pleased, inviting me to take a peek.

A year later I sat next to him at a rented moviola with a 16mm port in his own home as he worked nights and weekends on my own humble,

linear story about a railroad train, liking what he saw but suggesting we shoot more. He became my partner and the result was a good film.
No more un-stitching for John. Call him a mechanic or midwife he was now hooked on the goal of helping talented,

courageous directors like Jennifer Fox, Stephanie Black, Suzie Baer and Katharine Kean capture lightning in a bottle.

Not always easy to work with he nevertheless respected a filmmaker's vision, undaunted by an infinity of ways to convey it.

I believe he had total recall of images and sound plus the energy, literally, to cut and paste.

Like all good editors he has been unsung because audiences don't notice the editing!

But the judges and juries of over a dozen major film awards certainly did."

 

John Mullen died in the spring of 2008 after a long struggle with cancer. During his final
decade he spent more and more time in the great Park he loved and left this portrait for us all.

It is the only film he ever conceived, shot, edited and produced on his own.

- Tom Barry, Film Director