New York City Thru the Hollywood Lens

New York City Thru the Hollywood Lens

monsieurgilles

PUBLISHED

New York, NY / Culture / Entertainment / Sights

For films and television, both good and bad, New York City has always made the perfect backdrop for storytelling. In this naked city of 8 million stories, many Manhattan locations have become iconic presences captured on film and frozen in time over the decades. This tour provides a look into 4 quintessential New York City-based films and their locations that have become central characters in their own right.

1. Breakfast at Tiffany's Apartment: 161 East 71st Street

Breakfast at Tiffany's Apt

24 W 25th St New York, NY, 10010

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161 East 71st Street is an elegant, understated brownstone on an unassuming tree-lined street in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Little do many know (even local New Yorkers) that this brownstone served as the home for Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn's iconic character and signature role, in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Although interiors were shot in a studio, many exterior shots were used in the film including the memorable beginning where Holly enters the brownstone after window shopping at Tiffany's in the early hours of dawn. By January 2012, the brownstone had been put up for sale by the current owner, an investment banker embroiled in the Martha Stewart insider trading scandal.

For a measly $5.850 million, the brownstone could be yours as well as owning a piece of iconic and cinematic history (little black cocktail dress not included).
'Walk on By' by Burt Bacharach
Moon River performed by Morrissey.
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2. The Ansonia: 2109 Broadway between 73rd and 74th Streets

2109 Broadway

2109 Broadway New York, NY, 10023

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Upon completion in 1904, the Ansonia was billed as the world's largest and most luxurious residential hotel. Amenities included: multiple room apartments, libraries, a grand ballroom, parlors and tearooms. The more unusual and "exotic" offerings included: a Turkish bath, a lobby fountain with live seals and even its own working rooftop farm. The latter housed chickens, ducks, goats and cattle until it was later shut down by the New York City Board of Health. The goal of the Ansonia was to provide a sustainable utopia for its dwellers. The Ansonia's Upper West Side residents received fresh milk and eggs daily and were provided meals by in-house chefs. Resident luminaries over the decades included: Babe Ruth, Theodore Dreiser, Arturo Toscanini and, most recently, Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman.

In Barbet Schoeder's 1992 film, Single White Female, Bridget Fonda opens her apartment in the Ansonia to psychotic Jennifer Jason Leigh thus creating the roommate-from-hell Hollywood formula (Jennifer Jason Leigh's Hedy murders Bridget Fonda's boyfriend with a stiletto and drops a puppy from an open window). Like Breakfast at Tiffany's, interiors were shot in a studio, but many exteriors were shot in or around the Ansonia grounds. Re-created interiors such as the dim, moody hallways and the cavernous apartments nod to the Ansonia's real-life interiors adding to gloomy look-and-feel of this psychological thriller.
'State of Independence (DMC Remix)' by Donna Summer
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3. The Ghostbusters Firehouse: 14 N. Moore Street

14 N Moore St

14 N Moore St New York, NY, 10013

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If there's something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?! Well, it better be the Ghostbusters, but you could also call Hook & Ladder 8, the fire department currently operating out of the Ghostbusters firehouse location. In the 1984 film, the Ghostbusters fielded paranormal-based distress calls from their Tribeca headquarters, a derelict firehouse in lower Manhattan.
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4. The Dakota Apartments: 1 West 72nd Street

1 W 72nd St

1 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023, USA

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The perfect modern gothic horror story, for me, also happens to be the quintessential New York City film --- Roman Polanski's 1968 horror classic, Rosemary's Baby. Called the Bramford Apartments in the film, but in reality shot in the Dakota Apartments, the film cleverly juxtaposes a young modern couple of the late 1960's against the backdrop of a foreboding late 1800's French Revival historic NYC building. Surrounded by a host of quirky (and sinister) Upper West Side locals and neighbors, pregnant Rosemary, played by Mia Farrow, slowly discovers that things are not what they seem and uncovers a diabolical plot against her organized by the resident coven of witches in her apartment building. What makes the Dakota the perfect setting for a movie like Rosemary's Baby is the imposing nature of the building itself.

Opened in 1884, the building is a perfect square box of gabled luxury apartments, cobblestoned courtyards and dim hallways that retain all of its original period details and fixtures. Throughout the decades, the Dakota served as home to many notable residents that include: Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Roberta Flack, Madonna and Yoko Ono, whose husband, John Lennon, was famously murdered outside the main gates of the Dakota in 1980.
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