Lights, camera, action:
A guide to New York’s famous movie locations
Ever since King Kong first scaled the Empire State Building back in 1933, New York City has been synonymous with the big screen. Its skyline and distinctive streets have featured in hundreds of Hollywood movies, making it one of the most instantly recognisable cities in the world. Visiting famous movie locations is a fun and interesting way of exploring the Big Apple, so we’ve highlighted some of the most popular movie locations across the city.
Manhattan has been the setting for some of Hollywood’s most memorable movies, few more so than the 1976 cult classic Taxi Driver. Location scout Nick Carr describes the film, starring Robert De Niro, as “the quintessential New York Movie.” Wander down 8th Avenue and Times Square and you’ll no doubt recognise the streets and buildings from the film, which depicted a dark and grimy 1970s New York.
Manhattan in general is awash with movie locations, so why not check out some of these hot spots in the heart of the Big Apple:
- Hook & Ladder 8 Fire Station: Number 14 North Moore Street is a must-visit address for any self-respecting Ghostbusters fan. Here you’ll find yourself staring at Hook & Ladder 8, aka The Ghostbusters headquarters. The exterior has barely changed since the film was shot and the outside pavement features the Ghostbusters emblem.
- Cortlandt Alley: As Nick Carr explains in his interview with Stuart Wright, there are in fact only a handful of genuine alleys in New York, of which Cortlandt is the most used movie location. So take a stroll and snap some photos of this classic Manhattan alley, which most recently featured in the Men in Black 3 trailer.
- Greenwich Village: This charismatic neighbourhood is the location for the recent Coen Brothers movie Inside Llewyn Davis, and has appeared in many other films over the decades, from Raging Bull to When Harry Met Sally.
Cross the Brooklyn Bridge and head into the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn for a chance to walk the streets featured in the 70s dance classic Saturday Night Fever. It was the movie that catapulted John Travolta, aka Tony Manero, into superstardom. Some 37 years have passed since shooting wrapped in Brooklyn, but the key locations still remain. You can grab a bite to eat at Lenny’s; the pizza joint which Travolta stops by during those famous opening scenes. The hardware store where he worked is still doing business, as is the dance studio where he honed his skills.
Situated just north of Manhattan, The Bronx has long held a reputation as New York’s grittiest borough, but there have been considerable changes in recent years. Whilst many films set in The Bronx have actually been shot in other parts of the city, films like Finding Forrester starring Sean Connery were filmed in the borough. It’s also home to the stunning New York Botanical Garden, in which several scenes for Awakenings, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, were shot in 1990.
Hop on the ferry to Staten Island and prepare to visit ‘The Mansion’ – the house which featured in the opening scenes of The Godfather. Make your way to the home on 110 Longfellow Road, in the affluent Emerson Hill area, and catch a glimpse of the garden where the outdoor wedding scenes were shot. And don’t forget to check out Nick Carr’s guide to The Godfather’s filming locations throughout the city.
Queens is the largest of the five New York boroughs, lying in the eastern part of the city. On the big screen, it has been portrayed in hit films such as Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America, and more recently it featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, which follows the rise and fall of stock broker Jordan Belfort. If you make the trip to Queens, stop by the Shalimar Diner on 63rd Drive and Austin Street. The diner was used to shoot several key scenes of the film, in which Belfort (played by Di Caprio) dines with his friends and soon-to-be colleagues.
Written by Virgin Atlantic