“We have one day, and not one more minute, to see all the famous sites!” they chanted. Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin at the start of One day in New York (1949). The next morning, the dancer, the crooner, and the histrionic comedian, seafarers by profession, would be leaving the Big Apple for the ocean, so they had better not waste a second.
Though the trio gave up their tourist curiosity at the first flare of a skirt, Stanley Donen’s musical draws a New York turned into a great stage of American cinema. Since 1901, when the short was filmed What Happened on Twenty-third Streetin which a woman is embarrassed by subway ventilation, New York has long been one of the holy places of the celluloid industry.
54 years after the capital of the world appeared, for the first time, on a cinema screen, marilyn monroe evoked, without any embarrassment, the embarrassed protagonist of What happened on Twenty-third Street in the most famous scene of Temptation lives above (1955).
New York is the largest film set ever built. Only in 2015, the city hosted the filming of 336 movies. And, between 2011 and 2013, the film commission Major’s Office of Film calculates that the map of New York was decomposed in a number greater than seventeen thousand locations for movies and series.
Of course, certain corners are more mischievous than others, to the point where they seem to belong entirely to the world of fiction, and only in a secondary way to the urban layout. These are some of the most iconic.
Central Park: a movie love
Although Simon and Garfunkel recommended not going near it at nightfall, few directors have deprived themselves of shooting a scene under its trees. In Central Park, Orson Welles helped a lady in distress who turned out to be the lady from shanghai (1947), called Rita Hayworth.
The green lung of New York has been a favorite meeting point for lovers throughout the history of cinema: here Joseph Cotten saw, for the first time, the woman he would end up falling in love with in Jennie’s portrait (1949); and along its paths John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale walked in Serendipity (2001) or George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast with diamonds (1961).
Bridges between reality and fiction
New York City is the work of countless nameless architects, but New York itself was created by Woody Allen. Although in most of his filmography there is a place for this city, the queensboro bridgeon the East River, is one of the most recognizable landmarks, since it appears on the cover of Manhattan (1979).
The one in Queensboro is not the only cinematic bridge in the city: the imposing manhattan bridgecut between red brick buildings, transports the visitor to the turbulent New York of Once upon a Time in America (1984).
For his part, the verrazano bridgesouth of Brooklyn, is a must-see pilgrimage for those who spent their youth with a comb in the back pocket of their jeans, as the most tragic scene in Saturday night Fever (1977) occurs here.
New York Stock Exchange: celluloid banknotes
The financial district is one of the most filmed areas of New York. In addition to the Jordan Belford hunting ground, The wolf of Wall Street (2014) played by DiCaprio, the financial district has been home to other major brand speculators, such as Gordon Gekko (Wall Street1987), whose performance earned him an Oscar for michael douglasbrand new Honorary Palme d’Or in Cannes.
Empire State Building, King Kong’s climbing wall
Although it has already lost the title of tallest building in the world, the Empire State Building remains the architectural pinnacle of American cinema. The most famous giant ape in the world has climbed this Everest of glass and steel, both in the kingkong original (1933) as in the version of Peter Jackson (2005).
Like all self-respecting popular monuments, the Empire State Building has been buried in snow in Tomorrow (2004), struck down by aliens in Oblivion (2013) and devastated by a hurricane pregnant with sharks in Sharknado 2: The Return (2014), which is practically the second worst thing that can happen to a building after appearing in the credits of Sharknado 2: The Return.
The Dakota Building: The Cursed Location
An ominous shadow has been cast over the Dakota since the day it was built nearly 140 years ago. From their windows, they have watched New York witches like gerald gardner and scary characters like Aleister Crowley. And at the entrance of it, the one who, perhaps, has been the most famous resident of it was assassinated: John Lennon.
Twelve years before the latter occurred, Polanski opened the doors of the Dakota to the devil in The seed of the devil (1968). Decades later, Tom Cruise I would sleep on one of the floors in the movie Vanilla Sky (2001), the American remake of Open your eyes (1997).
The Statue of Liberty, at the mercy of catastrophes
“The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty,” Woody Allen joked in Crimes and misdemeanors (1989). The colossal sculpture that rests at the mouth of the Hudson, next to Ellis Island, was for years the first view that newcomers had of New York, after a long journey across the Atlantic.
In The godfather II (1974), a young Vito Corleone, before taking the name Corleone, contemplates the statue with a smile; and with empty melancholy Kate Winslet watches her at the end of her journey in the titanic (1997).
Like the Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty has been the punching bag of science fiction cinema: beheaded in cloverfield (2008), disfigured by a helicopter in Batman Foreverr (1995), knocked down by a tsunami in Deep Impact (1998) and… half buried in the last scene of a certain simian classic.
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