Since The Late Show with Stephen Colbert premiered on September 8, viewers have been captivated by the credit sequence used at the beginning of each episode. The introduction employs a tilt-shift effect to selectively focus on a variety of urban scenes in New York City — from aerial skyline views to Stephen Colbert himself dancing on a Manhattan rooftop — making them appear miniature in scale. While the introduction is less than one minute long, a director's cut posted to the show's YouTube channel features more dramatic footage by filmmaker Fernando Livschitz.
The video chronicles a day in New York City, beginning with an aerial shot depicting Lower Manhattan skyscrapers. 50 West by Time Equities, JAHN and SLCE Architects is visible at the bottom left. The two footprints where the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center stood are evident just north of this residential tower.
The iconic Statue of Liberty makes an appearance 15 seconds into the video. Access to the statue was reopened in 2009 following a 2001 closure due to the September 11 attacks. Gustave Eiffel's statue was gifted to the United States from the people of France in 1886 and has remained a major tourist attraction.
The video then travels to the borough of Queens, where LaGuardia Airport is located. The East River and Rikers Island Channel surround runway 13/31, the longest runway at the airport by just one metre.
Atop the podium of the Time-Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, Stephen Colbert joyously dances to the melody of a grand piano played by his band leader, Jon Batiste of Stay Human. Part of Rockefeller Center, the Time-Life Building contains office space occupied by CBS.
The camera captures a rare view of the Empire State Building's 86th floor observation deck from above. As a testament to its popularity, more money is generated from the observatory than the renting of office space in the building.
From Brooklyn Bridge Park, we get a look at the world-famous suspension bridge. Completed in 1883, the bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Just behind, the 1,776-foot height of One World Trade Center marks the highest peak in the skyline as the sun sets behind the Manhattan skyscrapers.
Pulling back a bit, the full volume of Lower Manhattan comes into view. The East River is blurred out, giving way to the many different architectural styles present in the image.
One World Trade Center's soaring spire is the focus of the colourful image above as the lights of Jersey City illuminate the background.
As is the case in many Manhattan neighbourhoods, pedestrians outnumber vehicles by a wide margin. Times Square is certainly no exception. The entertainment and cultural hub sees 330,000 people pass through daily, many of them tourists absorbing the energy emanating from the buskers and massive billboards that have come to epitomize Times Square.
Finally, the home of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Ed Sullivan Theater, is pictured. Located at 1697–1699 Broadway, CBS has used the 400-seat venue for broadcasts since 1936. A party on the rooftop of the brick-clad building is visible alongside a vertical glittering 'COLBERT' sign.
Perfectly capturing the energy and vibrancy of New York City, the full video, embedded below, is quite the watch:
What do you think of the show's introduction? Were there any landmarks you would have liked to see included in the montage? Let us know by leaving a comment below.