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 25 Iconic Film Locations in New York City


You tawkin' to me???

The photo for the poster of Taxi Driver was taken on the west side of Eighth Avenue just below West 47th Street. Travis Bickle is walking south. In the next sequence he enters a porno parlor called the "Show and Tell" that was on Eighth between 46th and 47th and is now boarded up about to be demolished.



(Photo: Columba Picture Corporation, 1976)



Behind Travis is the former Hollywood Twin theater, now the information center for The Gray Line (sightseeing) Bus Company. To find the marquee, go to Google maps and Google: 777 Eighth Avenue) It's at the northwest corner of 47th Street.

DeNiro was photographed on the southwest corner, in front of the gift store (Gift World). To see it, Google Streetview to : 765 Eighth Avenue)



(Photo: Columba Picture Corporation, 1976)



To find this spot I searched along Eighth Avenue, since the traffic was running uptown. When I saw the marquee for the sightseeing company in the background, I searched the website called "Cinema Treasures" for pictures of what movie theater been there before. On that site, someone confirmed, this was the backdrop for the shot.




Here's Travis in an overlay.







Here are another few shots from Taxi Driver. This site is at the corner of 13th Street and Third Avenue in the East Village, looking west. The big shootout at the end of the film takes place in a tenement about 5 doors east of here at 226 East 13th Street.




Here's Travis (Robert DeNiro) with Jodi Foster (Iris Steensma) and one of her friends from the street.




And here's Iris alone in a great 70's get up, just a few feet away from the last picture.




And the view of Iris from Third Avenue.




Another angle of Iris. This time in a happy mood.




And that same shot from another angle of the hotel. I used to live about 2 blocks west in the 1980's and the hotel sign was still there then. As far as I know, they did not film any of the movie in that (former) hotel.











(Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Corporation, 1955)



In one of the greatest publicity stunts of the century, the producer of The Seven Year Itch invited every major New York news photographer to the corner of 52nd Street and Lexington on the night of September 15, 1954 to watch Marilyn Monroe's dress skirt get repeatedly blown upward over a subway grate (supposedly by the passing of a subway below). The images of Marilyn's skirt being blown upwards as she tries to hold it down is one of the most iconic images of American pop culture.





In this shot, Mariyln and her downstairs neighbor (played by Tom Ewell) have just left the Trans Lux Theater (offscreen, left) which was at 586 Lexington Avenue, west side, between 51st and 52nd. It was playing a horror movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Across the street over 2,000 onlookers gawked at Marilyn all evening as she repeatedly did the scene for director Billy Wilder. Reportedly, this did not go over well with Marilyn's husband, baseball legend ("Joltin') Joe DiMaggio, (i.e. "Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio?") and they spilt up 2 weeks later.



(Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Corporation, 1955)



In most of the pictures from that night, Marilyn was on the second grate from the north. In the film, her dress only blows up to her knees.

To find the spot on Google Street View, Google: 590 Lexington Avenue, which is a restaurant called "Le Relais de Venise l'Entrecote." It is behind Marilyn in the picture.

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This scene is a recreation of the street in a Hollywood studio. They mostly used this in the film. Notice the sign for "Bickford's Cafeteria in the background."



It actually existed on that corner, as seen from this picture from the NYPL archives.


(Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Corporation, 1955)





(NYPL digital files)



Here's the legendary subway grate.





Moving underground now, this subway beam (below) is located below Grand Central on the uptown Lexington Local (#6) line...




It's where this picture of Marilyn (not from the 7 Year Itch) was taken. You can see a set of stairs behind her, so that means the photo was taken in front of one of the four sets of stairs on the uptown side. I chose one near an elevator, where the photographer would have been out of the way of passengers.)




A friend of mine who runs a website called "Flaming Pablum" has contests to find where New York City photos were taken. This one I located at the Harlem Meer, a small lake at the northern end of Central Park. The building with the point roof in the background is Mt. Sanai Hospital.








This is another of the most well-known photos in New York cinema history: Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly having a stand-up breakfast while gazing into Tiffany's windows.



(Photo: Paramount Pictures, 1961)



She's standing just south of 57th Street on the east side of Fifth Avenue. (to Google Street View the Tiffany & Co. store, search for 727 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, NY).




In his shot, we're looking south. If you look very closely in the window reflection, just to the left of her coffee cup, you may notice a man's arm...




That's George Peppard, her co-star (playing Paul Varjak). Most of the cast and crew was on hand that morning in order to shoot publicity stills.



(Photo: Paramount Pictures, 1961)







At the other end of the economic spectrum, we find Joe Buck (Jon Voight - a.k.a. Angelina Jolie's dad) and Ratzo Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), two down-and-out homeless characters, making their way over the Wills Avenue Bridge in 1969's Midnight Cowboy.




(Photo: United Artists, 1969)


You'll note there are two curvatures to the bridge behind them (one section of the bridge is rounder than the other). I had to "fly over" Manhattan and Brooklyn many times with Bing Bird's Eye View until I found the right combination of bridge structure. Recently, they replaced the bridge, and I was too late to take a shot myself, so this is from Flickr. Thank you.



(bridge photo: Flickr)



In the film, right after the tenement in which they are squatting is demolished, they walk to a cemetery in Queens to see Rizzo's father's grave. In the film it seems they go over the 59th Street Bridge, but if this picture represents the real bridge they went over, they went WAY out of their way. ( This bridge was near where they did interior filming: Filmways Studios at 246 East 127th Street, in East Harlem.)




Here's another poster, depicting the beginning of a classic scene.



(Photo: United Artists, 1969)



His talk with Joe interrupted by a pushy cab, Ratzo lashes out at the cabbie and states his rights as a New York citizen.



(Photo: United Artists, 1969)



The scene takes place in front of 1414 Sixth Avenue at 57th Street, a block south of Central Park.






The search for this next spot - of the two of them frozen in a doorway - took me several weeks. It's a really long, complex story which I will write up as an individual PopSpot in the future.

The key came when I found a close up of them in the doorway and a sign behind them said, in English and Spanish, "pay your rents at Grand Street." That led me to search Grand Street between Soho and the Lower East Side, and a door number from the movie, together with the traffic direction, led me to the obscure corner of the Lower East side, where they took the picture.

The entire area around the building was demolished in the 70's and is now a series of huge parking lots near the Williamsburg Bridge.

(Photo: United Artists, 1969)



You can see where they were standing in this shot. It was easy for the city to knock down the bricks of the building, but the streel support at the bottom went last. This picture came from a DVD package for the movie.




Once I found the location, I watched the movie over again. In one scene they are in their freezing flat, and they look out the window of their to see trucks removing bricks from this building across the street.

Trivia note: Since the city was taking down the tenement in which they were filming also, the landlord allowed the crew to take down the entire contents of the apartment - walls and all - and reassemble it in a sound studio in East Harlem. That was where they filmed the interior scenes later.




Here's the actual building in its younger days from the New York Public Library archives, with Ratzo and Joe added.










One of the most iconic (if not the most iconic) of all New York City movie images: Woody Allen and Diane Keaton watching the early morning lights over the Queensboro Bridge in glamorous 1930's-movie like black-and-white.

The shot took place on Sutton Square, which is the very end of 58th Street after it crosses Sutton Place in midtown Manhattan. If you go there, there is a little park with chairs overlooking the East River.



(Photo: Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions, United Artists, 1979; still photos by Brian Hamill)



Here's the image over a nighttime view of the location today. The original photo was taken around 5 o'clock in the morning. There were to be two strands of light on the bridge, but one broke at the last minute. "Waffles," Diane's character's dachshund, who they were walking, is underneath the bench to the left of Diane. For a more thorough look at this photo, and a map, see the individual PopSpot entry entitled "MANHATTAN." (coming very soon)



(Photo: Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions, United Artists, 1979; still photos by Brian Hamill)



This scene, also from Manhattan was filmed next to Bow Bridge, one of Central Parks's most graceful and scenic bridges. To find it, go to Bethesda Fountain and head north. It's shallow; Woody just stuck his hand in the mud and is grossed out.








Moving on to another great Woody Allen film, this was the main poster for Annie Hall.



(Photo: Rollins-Joffee Productions, United Artists, 1977)



It was taken from this scene filmed at the South Street Seaport in downtown Manhattan. That's the Brooklyn Bridge in the background, with the Manhattan Bridge behind that.




Alvy and Annie are standing on Pier 16, next to a 4-masted ship called "The Peking." For more pictures and a map, please the PopSpot entry for "Annie Hall".




In this scene, they have just driven up from playing tennis near Wall Street. The location is just east of the awning for Annie's apartment building: 36 East 68th Street between Madison and Park Avenue. Right in back of Annie's head is a girl's school called The Dominican Academy, which is at 44 East 68th Street. Use that address to Google Street View the site. (Also see the entire PopSpot devoted to Annie Hall for more pictures.)




In my entry on Annie Hall, I show how I found the location of this balcony to be 36 East 68th Street, between Madison and Park avenue, 5th floor.






This is Alvy and Annie after they have broken up. They have eaten at P.J. Clark's across the street at 44 West 63rd St. at Columbis Avenue - which is across from Lincoln Center. (For more pictures see the PopSpots Annie Hall entry)



(Photo: Rollins-Joffee Productions, United Artists, 1977)




In this scene from Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest Cary Grant walks briskly into the Plaza Hotel. You can see Central Park through the glass door, so this is on the north side of the hotel.



(Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959)



It is actually the Plaza's private residences entrance, but you can see it all through the glass windows just across from the Palm Court in the hotel's central lobby.




And here are the scenes combined.




In another scene from the movie, set in the main room of Grand Central, Cary Grant makes a phone call from a phone booth that happened to be in the perfect place for the filming in 1959 (or maybe they put it there).



(Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959)



Moving uptown, to 110th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, we see the Jets gang from West Side Story patrolling their turf to keep out their rivals, the Sharks. (I found the exact location by finding out where the two huge oil tanks in back of them were back in 1961. Also, way in the distance, is an apartment building in Queens, near the Tri-Boro -- whoops! - The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge - which helped determine the location.)



(Photo: Mirisch Pictures/Seven Arts/United Artists , 1961)



Much of the opening scene and the final scene was shot on this playground on 110th between 2nd and 3rd. The other exterior scenes were filmed on 68th Street west of Columbus Avenue where apartment towers are now.



(Photo: Mirisch Pictures/Seven Arts/United Artists , 1961)







The Warriors is a very engrossing cult film based on an ancient Greek military story and set in modern day (1970's) New York,

In the movie, a calamitous meeting of all the gangs of New York takes places in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx; one of the gangs - "The Warriors" - has to make it back to their home turf in Coney Island while being pursued by all the other gangs. Heavily costumed mayhem ensues.

The poster for the movie is taken in "Dinosaur Playground," a childen's park just west of Riverside Drive and 97th Street, which substituted for Pelham Bay Park about 9 miles away.



(Photo: Paramount Pictures, 1979)



In this shot, the Warriors finally make it back to Coney Island, specifically to Bowery Street and West 12th street, near Deno's Wonder Wheel, and between Surf Avenue (the main drag) and the beach.



(Photo: Paramount Pictures, 1979)



"The Warriors" Map





Moving up to Harlem, here's private-eye John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) the 1970's star of Shaft (1971), Shaft's Big Score (1972) and Shaft in Africa (1973) underneath the famed Apollo Theater marquee at 253 West 125th Street between Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th Avenue) and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. (7th Avenue).



(Photo: Metro-Goldwyn_Mayer, 1971)



...and the marquee from another direction. In it's 100-year history the Apollo's stage has seen hundreds of America's greatest entertainers from Ella Fitzgerald to Jimi Hendrix, many who have plaques on the sidewalk outside.







Moving downtown now, to the East Village, this quiet section of East 6th Street between Avenue A and B turned into...




...Little Italy for 6 months during the filming of The Godfather: Part II in 1974. To stand where the future Don stood, notice the rounded arch door to his right, then see the map below. By the way, young Don Corleone has an offer you can't refuse!



(Photo: Paramount Pictures, 1974)







Moving back uptown, near Harlem, this picturesque series of steps played a role in the vigilante movie....




...Deathwish. In the film, Charles Bronson (as Paul Kersey, an architect) becomes a one-man vigilante as he seeks to bring to personal justice the street thugs that murdered his daughter and housekeeper. The film spawned four sequals (maybe 'till Bronson ran out of bullets.)



(Photo: Paramount Pictures, 1974)


The scene was shot just off Riverside Drive at the equivalent of about 124th Street on the far Upper West Side near Harlem, about 1/4 mile north of Grant's Tomb.





King Kong didn't have a gun, but he could do some damage when he got upset too. Especially with trains and planes. Blondes, he's ok with.



(Photo: RKO Radio Pictures, 1933)



I was trying to find a picture from above the Empire State Builing looking down...but I kept on coming up with variations of this exact photo in the image results. Why? Because, it turns out a lot of people took a picture of the Chrysler Building (the one in the middle ) from the same spot on the Empire State Building's observation deck.




Evidently, so did the people making King Kong. The result was, that technically Kong is on a building located between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. But keep it a secret between us. It's still one of the greatest movies ever. I enjoy it almost as much as Citizen Kane. (maybe we could combine the two and make "Citizen Kong.")




Here I Photoshopped together the kind of shot I had been looking for - from above the Empire State Building. By the way, that bridge in the background* is the one that Woody and Diane are looking at in the poster for "Manhattan." (*It used to be called the 59th Street Bridge, now it's called the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.)





Into this tranquil scene, just below where Columbus Circle (59th St.) meets Broadway, will soon come another behemouth...




...the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!. Who are ya' gonna call to take this guy out? There's only one answer...Ghost-busters!



(Photo: Columbia Pictures, 1984)







This dapper little mouse, the star of Stuart Little, likes to sail in Central Park, specifically the Sailboat Pond just west of 74th Street (enter at 72nd Street.) You can actually go there and rent remote controlled boats, and while there, climb all over the huge 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Alice in Wonderland and her friends.



(Photo: Columbia Pictures, 1999)







"I'll have what's she's having" - that's what a fellow patron* of Katz's deli says upon hearing Sally's (Meg Ryan) orgasmic groaning to Harry (Billy Crystal.)

(*Estelle Reiner - the real-life mother of the film's director - Rob Reiner)

That scene was filmed in an ages-old deli on the Lower East Side called Katz's Deli. Old world New York restaurants are going fast, so get there fast and enjoy their huge sandwiches. If you want to know the exact table where the scene was filmed, you can't miss it -- a huge sign saying "I'll have what she's having." dangles high over the table like a cartoon balloon.

(Photo: Castle Rock Entertainment/Columbia Pictures, 1989)



CLICK ON PHOTO TO WIDEN THE PANORAMA. If you click the photo and make it huge, you'll get more of a feeling for what it's like to be inside the restaurant."



(Photo: Castle Rock Entertainment/Columbia Pictures, 1989)



Katz's motto since at least World War II has been the rhyming, "Send a salami to your boy in the Army." The picture of the gentleman below holding the sausages has been in the front window for decades.








Meg Rylan shows up again in 1998's You've Got Mail as the small bookstore owner who unknowlingly falls for the rival conglmoerate bookstore owner (Tom Hanks) via email.



(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures, 1998)



Love conquers all at the end in a scene filmed in the lush summer months at the 91st Street Gardens on the Upper West Side, just east of the Hudson River.




CLICK this picture TO SEE a WIDER PANORAMA of the scene.




The pencil below shows where they are standing. To get to the park entrance, take the subway to 86th and Broadway and walk three blocks west and five blocks north.





In the first three minutes of On the Town (1949), the three sailors on a day of shore leave - Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, and Gene Kelly - sing about the wonderfiul town of "New York, New York" ("The Bronx is up and the Battery's down!) to an accompaniment of scenes of them all over New York; with a lot of shots on top of the Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center. Here they are down at the bottom of Rock Center in front of Prometheus (he looks like he's singing along with them).



(Photo: Metro-Goldwyn_Mayer, 1949)




This is not exactly a movie clip, but I want to show that New York's love of the movies extends back to the silent era.

In this shot, Charlie Chaplin, one of legendary silent film actors and directors, is being held aloft by Douglas Fairbanks in a 1918 rally for War Bonds.

The scene is the front steps of Federal Hall at the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street up the street from the New York Stock Exchange.




In this view you can see the New York Stock Exchange off to the left. It's the building with all the columns.




You can really get a feel for how crowded it was from this combination scene.




Here's a map of where that photo was taken. Federal Hall is a free museum you can visit. The first US Congress met there and wrote the Bill of Rights. Also, George Washington was inaugurated the first President there on April 30, 1789.




Finally, we come to James Dean walking hatless, cigarette in his mouth, on a rainy evening in Times Square in 1959 in this famous image by Dennins Stock.

To locate the exact spot I blew up the photo to see the marquee for the former Astor Theater in the background to the left. That would place him in lower Times Square just across from the entrance to Bubba Gump's Shrimp between 43rd and 44th Streets. This is pretty much right underneath the building where the ball drops of New Years's Eve, so when you visit, you can combine both experiences.



(Photo: Dennis Stock, 1955)






In this old photo from the 50's that I picked up from a flea market you can see the same concrete-based street dividers James was walking past.