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    Greenwich Village film locations

    Who I am
    Martí Micolau
    @martímicolau
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Much has changed in Greenwich Village from the XNUMXs to today. During those glorious years, in this neighborhood of the West side di Manhattan, all the greatest artists that that generation could produce lived or performed. In those years the district benefited from relatively low prices for the rent of houses and therefore there was an abundance of penniless students and artists who returned to the area a typically bohemian charm.

    Over the years, the Village has not only been the fascinating cradle of art but also a place of aggregation, clashes and protests. Here, there has always been a struggle to welcome rather than reject any form of non-conformism. It is no coincidence that it has become the most representative center of the gay community in the city after the bitter clashes that took place in June 1969 generated by the police raid on the Stonewall Inn. The heart of the Village it is formed by the open spaces between Sheridan Square and Christopher Park where numerous streets converge creating a somewhat disorienting labyrinth.



    • Do you want to know more about this historic neighborhood? Read also the article Greenwich Village NY: an itinerary between rock music and counterculture.

    PS: We have made a free ebook dedicated to the most famous film locations in New York. You can find it at This Page.

    Index

    • Route map
    • About Davis
    • Sex and the city, Friends e I Robinson
    • Raging Bull and Serpico
    • From Woody Allen to the “scenes” of MacDougal Street
    • Harry ti presento Sally, Manhattan e The Family Man

    Route map

    About Davis


    The underground station of (1) Christopher Street Station, as well as being the most convenient stop to visit the district, it has also been filmed several times on the big screen. In the movie "About Davis" (2013), the protagonist, exiting the metro, frantically crosses the square in front with a tawny cat in his right hand and his inseparable guitar in the left one. He clearly perceives the vitality and energy released by the intense coming and going of the people.



    The Cohen brothers' film appropriately portrays the era of the Village before the explosion of the Dylan phenomenon, and describes, as Ethan Cohen himself states: “that folk scenario that he has irremediably changed forever”. Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a taciturn and precarious singer-songwriter struggling to make his way into the world of music.

    It is a story that is described over the course of a week, during which all the suggestion, power and charm of the neighborhood clearly emerges and gloriously frames the events on display. Usually the protagonist performs at the Gaslight Coffee, a place that really existed between 1958 and 1971 al 116 on MacDougal Street. This place was the outpost of the spread of the folk genre.

    After performing one of his songs, Llewyn, he jokes with the audience:

    “You've probably heard it before; if it's never been new and never gets old, it's a folk song! ”.

    Among the sources that inspired the Cohen brothers for the writing of the script, there is the biography of the outgoing and sociable musician Dave Van Ronk nicknamed "The Mayor of MacDougal Street" and close friend of Bob Dylan. Although very different in character, there are many similarities between Van Ronk and the character invented by the Cohens.

    Sex and the city, Friends e I Robinson

    Walking in the area between the red brick houses equipped with the classic black external fire escape stairs, you will see cafes, restaurants and clubs at every corner. To the number 66 Perry Street the famous site is (2) Carrie Bradshaw's apartment (Sarah Jessica Parker), a place where the girls Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda combine it all in both the television series and the films of the “Sex and the City"(1998/2010). The three-storey building (cover photo of the article) combined with the graceful entrance stairways has become a cult destination for fans; this forced the current owners to underline the private nature of the entire building with a sign.



    In this district, more than in others of the city, the skyscrapers leave room for a high concentration of terraced houses that allow the passage of a lot of light and are characterized by smaller dimensions and on a human scale. Bleecker Street it is one of the most popular streets because it is dotted with nightclubs that offer lots of live music, trendy shops and renowned patisseries.

    Robert De Niro grew up in this splendid street, also celebrated by the homonymous song by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel. At the intersection of Grove Street and Bedford Street you will find familiarity with the sight of(3) building di “Friends”, an incredibly successful TV series that aired for ten consecutive years between 1994 and 2004. In the five-story building used for external filming, the stories that intertwine the lives of the protagonists, the boys, Ross, Chandler, ideally take place and Joey, and, the girls Rachel, Monica and Phoebe.

    The small room at the base of the building, the renowned (4) Little Owl, is a restaurant where the quality, refinement and delicacy of the dishes prepared by chef Joey Campanaro reign. This space was also lent to the cinema to represent Kate, Nick and Zoe's Bistro in the comedy “Tastes and disagreements”(2007), in which the two successful chefs Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta Jones) and Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart) work side by side, assisted by little Zoe (Abigail Breslin).

    Continue on the quiet walk in Greenwich Village where life seems to be decidedly less hectic than in other areas of Manhattan and the streets, instead of being formed by rigid orthogonal plans, wind in a more irregular and creative way. In St. Luke Place, at number 10 you can find the(5) "The Robinsons" apartment (1984 - 1992), placed in a three-story context that often appears in the sitcom's exteriors. This TV show has enjoyed tremendous success and chronicles the life of a normal African-American family led by the likeable Dr. Heathcliff Robinson (Bill Cosby).



    Raging Bull and Serpico


    Just across the street from the Robinson family townhouse, you will see the outdoor swimming pool where some sequences of Martin Scorsese's masterpiece were filmed "Wild bull”(1980), written in collaboration with Robert De Niro. The swimming pool is part of the leisure complex (6) Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, whose entrance is at 1 Clarkson Street.

    The interpretation of De Niro, in the part of the Italian-American boxer Jack La Motta, is considered one of his most intense of his career, and, for this, it earned him the victory of Oscar e Golden Globe as best leading actor. The film is also enhanced by the talent of Joe Pesci, in the role of his brother Joey La Motta. Despite some initial skepticisms due to the choice of black and white and the violence expressed in some scenes, today “Raging Bull” is considered one of the greatest American films of all time.

    At number 5-7 of the pretty Minetta Street, a small road not very busy and not very touristy, there is the (7) house of Frank Serpico (Al Pacino), Italian-American cop starring in the film of the same name, "Serpico"(1973). The policeman is portrayed as a diligent, devoted and courageous worker who finds himself struggling against the internal system of corruption that is rampant and reigns in all five police districts of the city, forcing the few honest officers into marginalization. Receiving an honor, the policeman blurts out, provocatively asking: “And who does this go to? To the honest cop? Or the poor fool who got shot in the face? If they put it in their asses, tell them! "

    During the exposition of the story, the balanced character of the protagonist clearly emerges, consisting of both deep indignation and anger and incurable vitality and latent kindness of soul. In fact, he does not hesitate to take care of a little dog when he meets a couple of boys intent on selling an entire litter right in front of the entrance to his new home.

    From Woody Allen to the “scenes” of MacDougal Street

    Also in Minetta Street, just before the Panchitos Mexican restaurant, is the fictional (8) film set of the movie "A Rainy Day in New York" (2019), by Woody Allen. Right here, the protagonist Gatsby Welles (Timothée Chalamet), temporarily alone for a walk, meets old friends who do their utmost to create a "modern classic noir". Gatsby, invited by the self-styled director friend, lends himself to playing a small extra role in a romantic scene.

    Gatsby, after leaving the set, walks along Minetta Street to the end, then taking Minetta Lane to go to visit his older brother. The intersection of Minetta Lane and MacDougal street is very famous because it hosts two historical places of the Village: the club (9) Cafe Wha? and the restaurant Minetta Tavern, respectively at numbers 124 and 113 of MacDougal street.

    If there is one thing that has incredibly remained unchanged over the years, is it the legendary Cafe Wha? in which folk singers, artists, poets and anarchists performed. In addition to promoting a certain Bob Dylan in his first appearances in New York, many other young performers such as Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor have had the chance to hone their talents here.

    Today certainly there is no longer the same atmosphere that created folk music characterized by mouth accordion and gazed voices, but every evening spent in this temple of art is always synonymous with genuine emotions and impromptu surprises.

    Il (10) Minetta Tavern he has appeared in many famous Hollywood films. In "Mickey Blue eyes”(1999), the restaurant of Gina's Italian-American father (Jeanne Tripplehorn)“ The La Trattoria ”, is actually the Minetta Tavern, lent to the role of an Italian tavern. As Michael “Mickey” Felgate (Hugh Grant) points out to his partner, the name literally means “La la trattoria”, with the pointless repetition of the article.

    In the film the elegant interiors of the restaurant are very well taken up in which Mickey, on the occasion of the first meeting with Frank Vitale (James Caan), father of Gina, is entertained by some members of the family of the boss Vito Graziosi (Burt Young).

    The tavern, founded in 1937, has also been frequented, among others, by Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Eugene O'Neill, Dylan Thomas and Joe Gould. After the recent renovation, the restaurant has been described as "The Parisian steakhouse that meets the classic New York City tavern".

    This famous venue also appears at the end of the timeless "Sleepers”(1996), in which the inseparable Shakes (Jason Patric), Michael (Brad Pitt), John (Ron Eldard), Tommy (Billy Crudup) and Carol (Minnie Driver) meet again after years having dinner in a room reserved for them.

    MacDougal Street it is the hub of the Village, the hub of constantly changing venues, where however you continue to breathe deeply a European air with a vintage aroma. A place that instead of transforming itself remains firmly faithful to its centenary tradition is the (11) Coffee Reggio, at number 119. In this splendid Italian café, where the furnishings are at least as old as the espresso machine that stands out in the heart of the room, the first cappuccino prepared in the United States.

    The bar was founded by Mr. Parisi, a genuine Spanish native of Reggio Calabria. On one of the tables near the window, another scene from the aforementioned "About Davis" (2013). Llewyn Davis meets with the girl with whom he had a clandestinely affair, to face a matter that binds them with patience and responsibility, over a short coffee.

    In the vicinity of the Blue Note, New York and world temple of jazz music, there is a small playground in which, a wall of about six meters, testifies to the presence of a (12) handball field. This typically American sport involves very simple equipment consisting only of tennis shoes and a rubber ball.

    Being very popular, it is not unusual to find many spaces dedicated to the game around the city. Frankie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Johnny (Al Pacino), protagonists of the film “Fear of Love”(1991), undertake to try, by hitting the ball against the wall, to prevail over each other in an exciting match played on the field at the corner of 3rd Street and 6th Avenue.

    Harry ti presento Sally, Manhattan e The Family Man

    The only true green lung of Greenwich Village is represented by the (13) Washington Square Park. In one of the many benches available, we find again Llewyn Davis who sits in the company of Jean Berkey (Carey Mulligan) who, in a state of anguish, insults him deeply and incessantly showing him total contempt.

    The Washington Square Park enjoys the presence of a notable (14) marble arch erected in 1892. More than in any other scene shot near the arch, in "Harry, this is Sally”(1989), the monument is emblematic. When the still young protagonists arrive in New York in a ramshackle canary yellow Station Wagon, Sally (Meg Ryan) takes leave of Harry (Billy Crystal) and dumps him right under the famous arch. Sally, while agreeing with Harry that they could never be friends, says: “It's a shame. You were the only person I knew in New York! "

    Last stop on the itinerary, (15) Washington Mews, a private street a stone's throw from the park. The historic street was conceived as a place used for the rental of stables to house the horses of the wealthy lords of the area. From the XNUMXs, however, the stables were reinvented as well-made accommodation. Woody Allen, with his "Manhattan”(1979) was the first to immortalize the street, in a scene in which the actor himself is portrayed walking among the delightful terraced houses where Jill Davis (Meryl Streep), his ex-wife lives.

    Also in "The Family Man”(2000), Washington Mews is shot because, in the colorful apartment at number 14, lives Kate Reynolds (Tèa Leoni), who was surprised by Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage).

    The story centers on the sliding door of the protagonist Jack, who is given the opportunity to live, for only a short time, the life he would have been if he had made other decisions in the past.

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