“Hometown Hero”

update w/ prompt:

My web page design is going to be updated so that the index page features what will look like a chopped cheese and the navigation bar will be the materials that fill the sandwich.


Another theme I could employ would be to have the index be a bodega itself and then each page is something of a feature of the site. So the about page looks like the counter where you order, the gallery is designed like a menu, the video will feature the process of it actually being made.


In essence, the site will feel as though one is going to Hajji’s and ordering the sandwich first hand. I want to compose the colors and imagery for my design using photoshop to authentically convey the chop cheese through actual images of its elements.


For my blog post this week, and with our video projects in mind, I wanted to focus on the documentaries that have already been created and crafted to document the legend of New York’s chopped cheese.

First We Feast proudly presented their first documentary in the November of 2016 and chose New York’s favorite underground sandwich as their focus. The group published an article to their website which goes into great detail explaining their choice and the story the unfolded before them.

“Back in January, when we first investigated this iconic New York sandwich, we were told time and time again: to understand the real New York, you’ve got to understand the chopped cheese. What exactly is a chopped cheese, more familiarly known as a “chop”?

On the surface, that would seem simple. The bodega specialty gets its name from the “chopping” of hamburger patties, which occurs on the griddles in delis throughout Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Harlem. The minced meat is covered in cheese, slipped into a roll or hero, and dressed with standard-issue condiments.

But when we began to peel back the layers and ask questions about its origin story, how it became so popular, and why it’s so difficult to find one in lower Manhattan, we were introduced to a much deeper tale fueled by borough rivalries, hip-hop mythology, and hard-to-swallow truths, giving us a more meaningful glimpse into what makes this city tick.”

I found this recount very similar to my own experience with the chop cheese and its story.  The power of this sandwich and its meaningful impact reach far beyond what I initially suspected.

Their video does a really strong job of capturing the disillusionment and a general ignorance about this long-time New York classic right off the bat. The first minute is dedicated to a series of New York residents admitting they’re unawareness of its existence, ending with a man standing outside Hajji’s itself describing the chop cheese in near perfect detail. This really struck me and I really want to emulate this tone / affect in my own video. It got me thinking and brainstorming of ways and I realized I could branch outside of the deli and Harlem to gather footage that could have a strong impact.

First We Feast then cut to a map and a man’s voice over assuring the viewer, “if you want to understand New York, you have to understand the chopped cheese.” A great opener and a clear thesis, this reminded me that I should attempt to focus in on a message for the video to convey – similar to this one.

They made good use of maps, interviews, and all around compositional techniques and tactics to convey affect, a message, and the legend of the chopped cheese throughout the video. Everything was done with purpose and was really enlightening for my brainstorming and filming moving forward.

The article (mentioned earlier) ended with this resonating paragraph:

“So where does this leave the sandwich, as well as the people who take so much pride in calling it their own? “Hometown Hero: The Legend of New York’s Chopped Cheese” dives head first into these questions, giving you a chance to hear directly from New Yorkers who want to protect it, re-invent it, or simply remind you that there’s more to the sandwich than meets the eye.”



~ by claudiawittenberg on March 21, 2018.

One Response to ““Hometown Hero””

  1. I love your idea of creating the navigation bar into the stuffing inside a sandwich. I think adjusting the transparency will definitely help you get a stunning result. The homepage idea also resonate with your overall idea.

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