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    The film locations of Meatpacking, Chelsea, Flatiron and Gramercy Park

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    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Today's film-themed itinerary moves in several neighboring areas: the Meatpacking district, the Chelsea district, the area called Flatiron District (due to the famous Flatiron Building skyscraper) and Gramercy Park. Let's see what films await us walking through the alleys of these areas.

    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
    • Meatpacking District
    • Highline
    • Chelsea
    • Flatiron District
    • Gramercy Park District
    • Union Square and surroundings

    Route map

    Meatpacking District



    The Meatpacking district covers a small trapezoidal portion that runs, from west to east, from the Hudson River to Hudson Street, and, from north to south, from West 14th Street to Gansevoort Street. This New York neighborhood has grown tremendously in recent years, from housing slaughterhouses and butchers to art galleries and trendy clubs. However, the legacy and authenticity of the past are preserved by blending harmoniously with new design fashions.

    Strolling in Gansevoort St among brick-colored buildings, food markets and clothing stores, look for the (1) Gansevoort Hotel. A scene from the film “The Wall Street girls”(2019), in which bursting strippers Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) and Destiny (Constance Wu) sip drinks by the heated pool. The B on Top, offers, in addition to cocktails and refined food, a strategic and exclusive vantage point.

    The film's protagonist is Destiny, whose private and professional life takes a sharp turn after her friend Ramona's invaluable advice on club dancing and the subtle arts to make her way among the wealthy Wall Street clientele.


    In the cult movie "Fatal Attraction"(1987), at number 17 of Little 12th Street is the(2) home of Alex Forrest, the female lead played by Glenn Close. Her apartment is where she meets Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), the fleeting lover with whom she falls morbidly. The entrance door and the building itself have undergone several changes over the years, but the profile of the buildings on the horizon that can be observed in the direction of the city center has remained almost identical and equally impressive. It is therefore not necessary to take a great effort to see Michael Douglas who at dawn, after having spent a restless night, walks away from his lover's loft.


    Returning to the main street of the neighborhood, at number 52 Gansevoort Street, is the restaurant (3) Pastis, which, after a sad closure in 2014, reopened by popular acclaim in the new location. The renovated restaurant, thanks to its burgers and French fries, has once again attracted endless lines of New Yorkers and tourists attracted by the charm of a French-style bistro among the skyscrapers and red brick facades of the Meatpacking District. The old bistro, located nearby, appears in the film "Melinda and Melinda”(2004) by Woody Allen.

    Highline

    The beginning of(4) High Line Park, a recent attraction that is increasingly popular over the years, is located exactly at 812 Washington Street. This elevated park (about ten meters above street level) is a perfect example of successful urban renewal.

    In the days of the meat industry and the run-down of this part of Midtown, the High Line was a dilapidated railway line that served as a transportation service for the industry only. Once decommissioned, the project for its transformation into a space for greenery and sociability began.


    This magnificent garden, up to now, has been little represented in the cinema; however, it can be glimpsed in the film "Effetti collaterali"(2013) by Steven Soderbergh. Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) and Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum), before the dramatic development of the plot, spend moments of extreme harmony in the romantic setting of New York, including a relaxing walk in this park.

    Even in the recent sentimental comedy "I'll start over with myself”(2018), the protagonist Maya (Jennifer Lopez), confesses her doubts and concerns to her best friend who accompanies her along the path that winds harmoniously between the greenery and the buildings.


    Following the authentic tracks, which have been preserved for long stretches, you can admire the spectacular view over the city. You can even glimpse the Statue of Liberty at 17th Street in the distance. Stop for a break on one of the many terraces, letting yourself be tempted by the various proposals of street food.

    • Read our guide to visiting High Line Park

    Chelsea

    The High Line Park, although starting from the Meatpacking district, then develops in length mainly in the Chelsea district. This district is dotted with numerous contemporary art galleries, which, for prestige and number, compete with nearby Soho. Over time, the port warehouses have been transformed into fascinating lofts, offices, shops and cafes.

    Follow the former railroad to approximately 23rd Street, where you will find stairs to descend to street level. On 10th Avenue, at number 210, on the corner of the intersection with 22nd Street, you can't help but notice, the(5) Empire Diner. This restaurant of classic American cuisine has often been represented in the cinema: it has appeared several times in the saga "Men in Black"And in the film"Cotton Club"(1984).


    More emblematic, however, is perhaps the image of little Macaulay Culkin who observes in amazement a Santa Claus on wooden stilts right outside the club in the cult movie "Mom I flew the plane: I got lost in New York"(1992).

    A small curiosity lies in the fact that, about ten years later, Macaulay's younger brother, Kieran Culkin, also an actor, starred in a scene inside the same venue in the little-known film "Igby goes down"(2002).


    At number 222 on 23rd Street, is the infamous building (6) Chelsea Hotel, entered the imagination of the beat generation through literary, photographic and musical arts. The hotel is in fact famous for having hosted numerous artists over many years of activity, true protagonists of the many and bizarre stories that happened in these rooms. Among the best known, here have stayed: Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, Dylan Thomas, Uma Thurman, Arthur Miller, Stanley Kubrick, Madonna, Jack Kerouac and Mark Twain. In the song "Chelsea Morning”, manifesto of the art that snaked in the neighborhood at the time, Joni Mitchell writes:

    "I woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing I heard was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the lyrics ..."

    Poets, musicians and directors have contributed to increasing the myth of the hotel through the verses and images dedicated to the refuge for artists. In Luc Besson's masterpiece film "Leon”(1994), the interiors of the hotel represent in fiction the building where the mafia killer (Jean Reno) and Mathilda's family (Nathalie Portman) initially reside.

    Although bullets, knives and violence are constantly present in the story, love is the element that more than any other moves the engine of the action; as little Mathilda says with no middle ground: “I want love… or death. Stop".

    Also in "Nine and ½ weeks”(1986) there is a sequence shot in a hotel room; in a relationship bordering on sex and perversion, the very blonde Elizabeth McGraw (Kim Basinger) is forced into a new and tantalizing erotic game by her charming lover John Gray (Mickey Rourke).

    Externally, the hotel has been immortalized both in the recent "American Hustle” (2013) both in the legendary "Sid & Nancy” (1986). The latter takes up a well-known crime story that took place on the morning of 12 October 1978 in room 100 of the hotel itself; the protagonists are the bassist of the Sex Pistols, Sid Viciuos (played in the film by Gary Oldman) and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb). Yet another example of tormented passion that took place in this historic building.

    At 152 7th Avenue stands the (7) Peter McManus Cafe, right on the corner of 19th Street. This family-run, classic Irish-style pub is one of the oldest in New York and boasts an offering of around a dozen beers on tap. The New York Times writes in a 1992 article:

    "The owner, Jim McManus, is a slow, arrogant Irishman with anecdotes stored in a 60 megabyte memory"

    Familiarity with the place is probably due to frequent appearances in classic New York sitcoms such as "Seinfeld"And"Law & Order". You have probably also seen it in "Highlander"(1986), where both the scene at the bar counter in the company of Brenda Wyatt (Roxanne Hart) and the one set on 7th Avenue, in which, the clear view of the sign consecrated the pub ... for eternity .

    Moving towards the center, the typical Chelsea buildings give way to increasingly slender structures. A line from Bob Dylan comes to mind in the song "Talkin’ New York”, In which he sings in one verse:“ People who disappear into the earth, buildings that climb into the sky ”.

    Flatiron District

    Conventionally, after crossing 6th Avenue, you enter the neighboring district of Flatiron District, which takes its name from one of the most famous buildings in the city, the (8) Flatiron Building. Being exactly on the crossroads between Broadway (one of the few streets in Manhattan that does not follow rigid orthogonal patterns) and 5th Avenue, the peculiarity of the skyscraper is its unusual triangular plan.

    Change your perspective by moving towards leafy Madison Square Park, from where you can distinctly observe the sharp corner of the building opposite. So take a stretch of the imagination and imagine the vertical writing on it Daily bugle. This fictitious name clearly refers to the newspaper often present in the comics of the Marvel universe and in the successful films of the “Spider-man"(2002).

    The headquarters of the newspaper is in fact located in this building and its gruff and stingy editor, J. Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons), is certainly not a fan of the masked hero; as he himself states: “Who is Spider-Man? He is a criminal! That's who he is! " However, he is constantly on the hunt for his photos to be featured on the front page and, the exclusive of the snapshots that most clearly depict Spider-man in action, only the young photographer Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) seems to have ...

    Il Madison Square Park it is a small green lung that can be used as an excellent base for a stopover. Walk along a stretch of elegant 21st Street, full of fine buildings, until you reach another green space, the (9) Gramercy Park, which also sanctions the entry into the district of the same name.

    Gramercy Park District

    This park is private and is accessible only to affluent residents of the surrounding area; despite being closed to the public, it's still worth peeking through the grates to imagine Woody Allen's historic muse, Diane Keaton, strolling through the driveways as in the 1993 film, "Mysterious murder in Manhattan”While discussing with his friend Ted (Alan Alda) about the mystery surrounding the neighbor, who mysteriously reappeared a few days earlier. Thanks to the ironic, delicate and sarcastic humor typical of the New York director, a classic intertwining of yellow hues has been successfully transformed into a sparkling comedy.

    On the corner of Irving Place and 18th Street is the (10) Pete’s Tavern, a historic venue that also appears in the 90s cult movie, "Player"(1998). The external appearance is characterized by curtains and black bricks with gold-colored sign and harness. Internally, the large nineteenth-century mirrors and the tin ceiling are striking in combination with the classic red brick walls.

    On the walls hang a myriad of photographs that tell the story of this restaurant and the characters who have been able to taste the dishes that have been served here since 1864. You can choose to stop directly on the bar stools in the room immediately at the entrance. , or in the adjacent rooms where some seats are positioned in intimate niches delimited by tall and lived-in wooden dividers.

    In the film, poker ace Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) walks into this venue to meet his Jewish-born professor Abe Petrovsky (Martin Landau), a regular visitor to the place. The protagonist, once again embroiled in the clandestine poker circle because of his friend Verme (Edward Norton), receives free valuable advice from the most experienced lawyer: "You can't escape who you are: fate decides for you" .

    Pete's Tavern has also appeared on numerous television programs, including: "Law & Order","Nurse Jackie","Sex and the City"And"The Blacklist". Not far from here, also on 18th Street, at number 45, is another legendary venue, the(11) Old Town Bar. Founded in 1892, this pub looks just like the classic smoky club for men only, except for Madonna who, in the music video of the song "Bad Girl”, He lights a cigarette at the counter.

    During Prohibition, the place changed its name while remaining active as a speakeasy (places where alcohol was illegally served). The place appeared in the film "The shadow of the Devil”(1997), the last signed by Alan J. Pakula. This venue is where IRA terrorist Frank McGuire / Rory Devaney (Brad Pitt) repeatedly meets the owner to supply some necessary goods for the Irish cause overseas.

    Union Square and surroundings

    (12) Union Square it is a square much loved by the citizens and hosts a small green lung to cheer up short regenerating breaks. You will find it pleasant to stop on one of the many benches watching the real New Yorkers enjoying this large and lively multi-ethnic meeting place. On the south side of the square there is an art installation called Metronome where you can observe the passage of time. Frankie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Johnny (Al Pacino) starring in the film “Fear of Love”(1991), they sit near the equestrian statue of George Washington to eat the delicious sandwiches prepared by the chef himself for lunch.

    Penultimate stage of this itinerary, the(13) Melvin Udall's apartment (Jack Nicholson), the moody killer of the sensationalSomething is changed"(1997). For his brilliant portrayal of him, the "old Jack" made him the second career Oscar for Best Actor. The luxurious building is located at 31-33 12th Street.

    Melvin Udall lives and works in this area of ​​Manhattan, formally already within Greenwich Village, as a successful novelist. Suffering from mental disorders, he prefers to be left alone and work in the comfort of his large and elegant apartment. The writer doesn't mince his words towards him cute neighbor Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear) to remind us that:

    “You must never, I mean never, interrupt me, okay? Not even if there is a fire; not even if she hears a thud coming from my house and a week later a stench comes out that can only be that of a decaying corpse, even if she has to keep a handkerchief over her face because the stench is so penetrating that she feels like fainting: even in that case don't come knocking at my house ”.

    The only diversion from her routine is lunch at the nearby restaurant where Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt) works, the only person who can tolerate her irreverent behavior aggravated by obsessive-compulsive disorder. Even Helen Hunt for her great performance in her performance won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

    The itinerary ends in front of the dance school (14) Joffrey Ballet School, on the corner of 6th Avenue and 10th Street. In addition to being recognized in the sector for quality and professionalism, this dance school is the one where Gail (penelope Ann Miller) studies in the glorious film "Carlito's Way”(1993) by Brian De Palma.

    Released from prison, Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) tries to regain contact with the woman he was madly in love with, before being sentenced to a long prison sentence. On a fascinating rainy evening, he goes to the school and, as if stunned, watches her dance from the roof of the building in front of her (today she is the First Republic Bank and you can hardly sneak inside and climb the stairs to the top like in the movie) sheltering from the water with the lid of a garbage can. At the end of the lesson, he waits for her to go out and, surprising her behind her, he comes back: “Hey, I know her; but yes, of course she was dating that guy, what's his name… that… that handsome boy… ah, yes yes: Carlito Brigante, right? ”.

    In the opposite corner, the Jefferson Market Library, a precious building of historical interest (called "Old Jeff") characterized by an octagonal lookout tower. It was built in 1877 to be used as a courthouse, but has been happily converted into a public library since 1967.

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