Now, we've made a lot of fun of things like the forthcoming Sex and the City-style bus tour of Brooklyn, designed to point out Girls shooting locations (and presumably places to consume on-trend pastries) to the eager and uninitiated. We're not taking any of that back. But, even if we exclude the explosion of projects being shot here over the past few years, there really is a lot to be said for Brooklyn as a hub of classic movie and TV locations. And there's also a lot to be said for pictures of yourself in front of classic locations as a cheap, impressive travel souvenir.
Especially if they're places where you can also eat, or (spoiler) ride the Cyclone. As such, we've compiled ten of the borough's most immediately recognizable locations, whether your thing is bottomless vodka and Bored To Death, violent car chases, or stacking pizza on top of other pizza.
Chase Manhattan Bank, Dog Day Afternoon
- Larry C. Morris / The New York Times
So, you'll have to use your imagination a little on this one. The Chase Manhattan branch in Gravesend at Avenue P between Ocean Parkway and McDonald Avenue where Brooklyn's most famous hostage situation actually took place has since been shuttered
, and the stretch of Prospect Park West (between 17th and 18th)
where Sidney Lumet filmed his iconic version is also unrecognizable these days. Still, no reason not to stop by and take a picture of yourself screaming "ATTICAAAAAA," or something. Surely you'll be the first person to have thought of it.
Tatiana Restaurant and Nightclub, Bored to Death
Granted, as one of the more Brooklyn-centric shows ever to air on TV, Bored to Death
has countless shooting locations scattered around the borough. We've written whole list-icles about it
! But one of the show's best-ever episodes (and one of the more fun places you could possibly visit, incidentally) was filmed in Brighton Beach's Tatiana Restaurant & Nightclub, a place where you can still order a prix fixe dinner of Russian food accompanied by a chilled bottle of vodka, take in a floor show, and probably
not get thrown out by local thugs. Unless you're trying to pull some sort of "amateur investigator" stunt, in which case, you deserve to be.
3152 Brighton 6th St.
Coney Island, The Warriors
Another option ripe with recognizable locations all over the city—it's sort of the premise of the whole movie, after all, and Scouting NY has an excellent, comprehensive rundown
—but it still seems fair to say that if there's a quintessential Warriors
location, it's Coney Island. It's their home base, the backdrop for the movie's climatic scene ("I just like doing things like that!"), and anyway, far more fun to visit than, say, the Nostrand Avenue Subway station. Get off at the Coney Island Stillwell station and stagger around as if you've just had the longest, bloodiest day of your life. Or at least ride a couple of rides.
The Humphrey Loft and the Brooklyn Inn, Gossip Girl
One of the more notoriously inaccurate—and thus, fun to be smug about—depictions of Brooklyn, Gossip Girl famously told everyone the "artsy" Humphrey clan lived in Williamsburg, then proceeded to shoot any and all Brooklyn scenes around DUMBO. The interior of Rufus' too-good-to-be-true-for-an-aging-90's-rockstar loft was actually shot in Long Island City, but for the exteriors, the crew used a building 455 Water St. You could also hop on the F and head over to The Brooklyn Inn, which featured heavily as the "struggling former speakeasy" Vanessa and Chuck tried to save, in one of the show's more convoluted plot lines. In reality, it's just a bar, but it's a very good one.
455 Water St., DUMBOStillwell Ave, The French Connection
148 Hoyt St., Boerum Hill
This one was a tough call. The French Connection makes excellent use of the Brooklyn Bridge (reportedly they shot there without permits or permission), and hey, we're always up for telling people to go visit the Brooklyn Bridge. But if you want to poke around the place where they shot maybe the greatest car chase ever captured on film
, head down to Stillwell Ave, between Bay 50th and 86th, then head onto Utrecht Ave toward the 62nd St. Station. Just please, please don't be the person who tries to re-create it.
Fort Greene Park, She's Gotta Have ItDo The Right Thing
may be arguably Spike Lee's most iconic Brooklyn movie, but the locations can be a little tough to track down (Sal's Pizzeria never even existed, for one). And really, there aren't a lot of movies that make better use of New York locations than She's Gotta Have It
does with Fort Greene Park, which plays a role in nearly all of the movie's pivotal scenes (and since earned the nickname "She's Gotta Have It Park" for its close association with the film). The Prison Ship Martyr's monument has long since been scrubbed of its graffiti, but go on a hot, muggy day and you'll still get the idea.
Cammareri Brothers, Moonstruck
If there's any place that's ever been prouder of its short brush with fame than Cammareri Bros—more commonly known as "the bakery from Moonstruck
"—we have yet to see it. Sadly, the original Cammareri Bros location on Sackett and Henry shuttered a while ago (the building now houses Maybelle's
), but they've since re-opened a cafe in Fort Greene, and continued making the same, unparalleled bread they've been baking since 1921, all while gleefully touting their association with the movie; their website has an entire section devoted solely to quotes from Moonstruck
. It seems to us that this level of resilience and oddly charming self-promotion should be rewarded.
1 S. Elliott Place
Lenny's Pizza, Saturday Night Fever
I get that the dancing, the wall-to-wall Bee Gees, and the intense violence and drug use are supposed to be the iconic parts of Saturday Night Fever.
And they are. But as a kid, not a lot of things blew my mind more than the first time I saw John Travolta strutting down 86th eating a slice of pizza stacked on top of another slice of pizza
. An image like that opens a lot of doors in the mind of a young, fat child. And you can still re-create the experience at Lenny's, which still stands just as it was down in Bensonhurst. If you feel like going a little off-script, though, it's worth noting that they also have pepperoni-stuffed garlic knots.
1969 86th St., Bensonhurst
Ferdinando's Focacceria, The Departed
There aren't a lot of things as satisfying as the small moral victory of a movie that's supposed to be sooo
Boston-y using one of Brooklyn's most iconic restaurants as a shooting location. Except possibly the feeling of shoveling down one of Ferdinando's famous, sauce-smothered rice balls, washing it down with a glass of Manhattan Special (they have it on tap here), and gazing up at the framed picture they now have of the owners hanging out with Leonardo DiCaprio.
151 Union St., Carroll Gardens
Coming Soon: The Thunderbolt, Annie Hall
Alright, so this one technically isn't around yet. As of now, if you try to visit the Thunderbolt (and the little house underneath) that were so memorably featured in Annie Hall, you'll find an empty lot, courtesy of Rudy Giuliani, who tore the whole thing down in 2000
. Terrible. But also, fixable, thanks to roller coaster tycoon Valerio Ferrari, who last month announced plans for a $10 million reboot of the classic roller coaster. Not quite the same as the original, but definitely an improvement on a vacant lot. It'll be a little while before the whole thing gets off the ground, but in the meantime, we can all rest easy in the knowledge that another classic Woody Allen location, the Radio Days house, is still standing as-is down in Rockaway Park
. Not everything
gets paved over.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.