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    Harlem film locations

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    Stopping in Harlem means absorbing and enjoying, albeit fleetingly, the tradition and history of a dark-hued New York that has always been used to fighting and believing in order to emerge. In this neighborhood, which starts from 110th Street and covers the entire northern portion of the island of Manhattan, you can benefit from a popular and straightforward art but, at the same time, with an exclusive charm.

    I gospel choirs they vibrate mightily in the air of the rhythmic Sunday mornings, when the masses are transformed into real concerts in which all the strength, skill and warmth of the singing masters sublimate, lashing the soul of the listeners.

    • Read our guide to attending a gospel mass in New York

    Having the privilege of attending a sermon delivered by a Reverend is an experience as curious as it is mystical; with a solemn oratory technique, the religious fathers skillfully involve the numerous faithful who actively respond to the celebration with incessant songs and prayers with increasing energy. About figurative art, this is the place where the eclectic Romare bearden he began to create his first masterpieces focusing on collage.

    The main streets of Harlem are dedicated to the heroes who most of all represented and waged the most important battles in favor of the civil rights of the African-American population: Dr. Martin Luther King (Road) e Malcom X (boulevard). The intersection of the two great arteries gives rise to what is commonly considered the center of the district.

    • Do you want to get to know this neighborhood better? Read our guide to Harlem

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


    • Route map
    • Jungle Forever e Malcolm X: i film di Spike Lee
    • Walter Mitty and Basta that it works
    • Ghostbusters e Spiderman

    Route map

    Jungle Forever e Malcolm X: i film di Spike Lee

    At 328 Malcolm X Blvd, there is an institution among the restaurants of North Manhattan: (1) Sylvia’s. The restaurant, managed directly by the founding and owner family, is famous for its Sunday brunches accompanied by gospel music. Nicknamed “The Queen of Soul Food", Sylvia's appears in Spike Lee's film"Jungle Fever”(1991) set entirely between Harlem and Bensonhurst (Brooklyn).

    The choice of settings is the background to the opposing origins of the two protagonists: the black architect Flipper Purify (Wesley Snipes) and the Caucasian Angela “Angie” Tucci (Annabella Sciorra), daughter of Italian immigrants. Angie is hired as Flipper's secretary and, after a first initial distrust, an excellent complicity arises between the two. To introduce your colleague to your neighborhood, lunch in the renowned restaurant is a must.

    THE(2) Apollo Theatre it is the spectacle temple of this part of New York. A theater in which performers of the caliber of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Gladys Knight, the Jackson 5 or Lauryn Hill have blossomed. Very sparkling and loved by New Yorkers are the popular “Amateur Night at the Apollo”; it is an elimination singing contest in which a wild audience has to decide who should leave the scene or who should stay (“be good or be gone”).

    More recently this event launched the careers of Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett and The Strokes. On the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the arena, the plaques bearing the many names that have performed on that stage are set. Spike Lee again, director of the biopic "Malcom X"(1991), sets a sequence of the film along commercial 125th Street (Dr. Martin Luther King Road): the march from the police station to the hospital, after the release of his brother Johnson and led by the protagonist Malcolm" X "Shabazz ( Danzel Washington), runs along the stretch of road right in front of the Apollo Theater, located at number 253.

    Walter Mitty and Basta that it works

    Walking through the main streets of the neighborhood, you will find, in addition to an infinity of churches of the most disparate architectural styles and belonging to different religious communities, also countless stalls selling food, gadgets for tourists and, curiously, copious ampoules of perfumed essences handcrafted. Some scenes from "The secret life of Walter Mitty”(2013) are set in the Harlem neighborhood.

    Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) usually fantasizes while waiting for his train to pass by (3) 125 Street Station (West), sitting on the comfortable and long wooden benches. In one of the countless and repeated daydreams, the employee of the magazine "Life"Saves the dog of his colleague Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) from a violent explosion right under the arch of the elevated underground line, precisely between (4) Broadway e Tiemann Place. The building in red bricks and black frames behind the protagonist as he escapes from the explosion is located at number 3167 Broadway.

    In the hilarious comedy directed, but not performed, by Woody Allen "Just let it work”(2009), protagonist Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) finds himself reluctantly entering the (5) General Grant National Memorial to be able to show the beautiful Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood) the less popular monuments of her city. This monument is a mausoleum dedicated to the memory of General Ulysses S. Grant, the eighteenth president of the United States of America. Boris shows all his reluctance by stating: “I don't want to go to any grave. Never!".

    Ghostbusters e Spiderman

    Here we are near the Riverside park, a green area on the west bank of the island of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River, precisely in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. A large area of ​​this point in Manhattan is occupied by the (6) Columbia University, the most prestigious college in New York. Thanks to the classic style of its architectural structure, as well as to its prestige, this university has often been portrayed in many films.

    In "Ghostbusters"(1984), before officially becoming Ghostbusters, the three parapsychology researchers, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond" Ray "Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), are badly thrown out of the faculty for not having obtained no concrete results as researchers. If on the one hand, the positive Peter, sees a possibility of redemption and a new beginning, on the other, Ray, is terrified of no longer having a guaranteed salary and an office in which to carry out non-repayable research:

    “But do you know how much an employee earns? Frankly, I preferred the university: they gave us money and equipment without having to produce anything. You haven't tried to stay out of it… you don't know what it means… I worked in the private sector… they expect results! ”.

    In the movie "Spiderman”(2002), high school graduates also attended by a certain Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) go to Columbia on a school trip, guests of the science department. On the large square in front of the entrance, the future superhero meets Norman Osborn (William Defoe), father of his best friend Harry (James Franco) for the first time.

    The natural end of this itinerary can be to continue on Riverside Park and Upper West Side, also to this area we have dedicated a film itinerary.

    Read all the other cinematic itineraries
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