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    The film locations of the East Village neighborhood in New York

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    The East Village takes a rectangular shape neatly defined by Houston Street to the south, the Bowery to the west, 14th Street to the north and the East River to the east. In the center the Tompkins Square Park, an authentic reference square for those who live in the area.

    After having lived through very difficult times, around the end of the nineties, the neighborhood has been completely renovated, reinvigorated and rehabilitated. Today it has become one of the most popular and authentic places in all of New York with a vibrant nightlife and an influential artistic bent.

    • Would you like to know more? Here is our guide with all the things to see in the East Village of NY

    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
    • Harry, meet Sally and Enough for it to work
    • At the origins of Punk Rock
    • The films shot at McSorley
    • Sleepers, Taxi Driver and Unfaithful Love
    • Desperately Seeking Susan, Ghostbusters 2 and Rent
    • Frances Ha and Paradise Lost
    • The Godfather, Mr. Crocodile Dundee and Everything can change

    Route map

    Harry, meet Sally and Enough for it to work

    The itinerary in the East Village starts from the southern border, and precisely from a New York institution since 1888, the restaurant (1) Katz’s Delicatessen, at 205 Houston Street. Its huge pastrami on rye sandwiches are the best in town: the taste of the meat, marinated and smoked on the spot using traditional methods, is truly superb.

    The history of the restaurant is told through the numerous photos hanging on the large wooden walls that infuse the environment with a popular and lived-in air. There is also a sign hanging from the ceiling right next to one of the many tables, with a sentence that reads:

    “Where Harry mets Sally… Hope you have what she had! Enjoy!”

    The reference is to the legendary scene in the film "Harry, this is Sally”(1989), in which she (Meg Ryan) simulates, in front of the whole room, a very long and likely orgasm only for being right about his (Billy Crystal) arrogant beliefs. Having carefully followed the curious episode, the Lady sitting next to them, when ordering, begs the waitress to bring her: "What the young lady took!"

    If you manage to sit down at that table, you will realize, despite more than thirty years having passed, how the diner has remained incredibly similar to the era in which those internal scenes were shot.

    After sampling some of Katz's Delicatessen delicacies, always on Houston Street, but at number 137, there is another institution of Jewish cuisine in the area, the old bakery (2) Yonah Shimmel. This venue features in one of Woody Allen's more recent films, "Just let it work”(2008), in which, in place of the smarter New York, he pays homage to the most intimate and popular places in the neighborhood.

    Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David), the film's protagonist, describes the house specialty, knish, to the beautiful Melody as follows:

    “I have eaten these things for years, they are delicious. I don't know what's inside, I don't want to know. I don't even want to talk about it. "

    In reality, the knish are delicious little bundles stuffed with various fillings, one tastier than the other and all to be savored.

    At the origins of Punk Rock

    When New York was still called New Amsterdam, the street that today takes the name of "Bowery”, It was an Indian path that was transformed into a wide roadway by the powerful Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant.

    Its decline began around the mid-1800s when thousands of poor immigrants and sailors settled. At the beginning of the twentieth century it became a bad street, full of stragglers, violent and outcasts. Between 1960 and 1980 along the Bowery and the surrounding area was the highest crime rate in all of southern Manhattan.

    This habitat, however, was perfect for those who, like a man named Hilly Kristal, were looking for a place where they could mess up without suffering complaints; that man chose the building at number 315 to inaugurate in 1973 the Country, BlueGrass and Blues, otherwise known by the acronym: (3) CBGB.

    In the 2013 film of the same name, Hilly (Alan Rickman), on his first foray into what would soon become his new club, realizes that: "No one would complain about the noise in this neighborhood"; Idaho, the vagabond just met on the outside, refutes: "They would complain, but nobody would care."

    In this disastrous and poorly attended street, the genre has spread Punk-rock, of which, Hilly Kristal, was the undisputed patron and highest priest. Ramones, Blondie, Talkin Heads, Iggy Pop, Television, Dead Boys, Lou Reed, The Police and many others, made their debut in the Bowery tavern.

    Hilly tested all the groups that proposed themselves to him by holding a short private audition during which, if things were going well, he confided to his closest collaborators: "There is something good here ..."; given the amount of phenomena his club has made, that phrase must have repeated it several times. Unfortunately, in 2006 the restaurant closed its doors due to a lawsuit with the owners of the property.

    Hilly promised to reopen in Las Vegas, but was beaten by an incurable disease. Patti Smith was the last to perform on that legendary stage. Today the spaces that housed the temple of punk-rock have been transformed into a clothing store, the John Varvatos. To mitigate the nostalgia of admirers and fanatics from all over the world, however, the owners have chosen to at least preserve the walls with the original posters of the previous venue.

    The films shot at McSorley

    At 15 7th Avenue, you will find the (4) McSorley’s Old Ale House, the oldest pub in all of New York still in business and founded way back in 1854. Hundreds of types of beers have been served here for more than 150 years. Irish owner John McSorley humbly served dark ale and cheese crackers to his fellow immigrants for pennies.

    In many years of service, presidents, thieves and artists have toasted in this historic saloon in compliance with the only strict rule of the place: "Be Good or Be Gone". This place, thanks to its authenticity, often appears in numerous cinematographic films; among the best known, "Player”(1998), in which the shrewd poker player Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) argues fiercely with his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), who, for his sake, presses him to move away from playing cards for good.

    The interiors of the restaurant are evident in the film "Together for strength"(1991), a detective comedy starring the good Michael J. Fox and James Woods respectively as Nick Lang, a film star who studies to be able to play the part of the cop more realistically, and Detective John Moss, the real cop, who, despite himself, is forced to play the role of teacher.

    After a daring evening, the two find themselves at McSorley's, where, in reversed roles, it is the actor this time to dispense some advice in terms of women clumsy and antisocial policeman.

    Sleepers, Taxi Driver and Unfaithful Love

    Who loved the film "Sleepers”(1996), will have no difficulty in recognizing the particular green structure of the subway of the (5) Astor Place Station, in the center of the square of the same name in Astor Place. Here, in fact, the event takes place which will prove to be crucial for the development of the exciting story of the four boys of Hell's Kitchen.

    On 13th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Street, many environmental shots were shot of the multi-named "Taxi Driver"(1976). However, much has changed along these roads. The territorial, social and moral degradation that is deliberately shown in Scorsese's drama no longer reflects the current and more pleasant reality of the area itself.

    However, the (6) stable by Iris Steensma (Jodie foster), at 226 13th Street, where the XNUMX-year-old prostitute lives and receives clients, hasn't changed drastically. In the film, the protagonist Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is completely disgusted by the reality in which the very young woman falls daily and does everything to try to redeem her and avenge her.

    At 181 2nd Avenue, stands the (7) Village East Cinema, appeared in "Unfaithful love"(2002) by Adrian Lyne. The protagonist, Diane Lane as Connie Sumner, seems to be the portrait of lightheartedness after spending an afternoon at the cinema with her lover Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez).

    As the title also suggests, the film tells of the case of infidelity in which the woman unexpectedly runs into. Wife of a loving and charming husband (Richard Gere) and seemingly content with her life as a wealthy mother and socially engaged woman, Connie can't help but bewitched by the irresistible young unknown book merchant. The two, unaware of all, spend entire afternoons permeated by art, sex and love.

    Desperately Seeking Susan, Ghostbusters 2 and Rent

    Continuing along 2nd Avenue, you can reach the fun street (8) St. Mark’s Place. It's easy to feel nostalgic for the never-ending string of thick characters, clothing stores, bookstores, flea markets, buildings, clubs and creatives who have left their mark on this East Village street.

    What is more important, however, is that its splendor does not seem to diminish over time and, at night, it always remains one of the busiest streets with packed pubs and cheap places to grab a bite at all hours. On this street, the houses at numbers 96 and 98 were immortalized on the album cover of the Led Zeppelin “Physical Graffiti” and the Rolling Stones also shot the video clip of their “Waiting on a Friend” here.

    Madonna, a musical phenomenon that exploded in the Eighties, also broke through the cinema with "Desperately Seeking Susan”(1985), along with co-star Rosanna Arquette. Some scenes of the film were shot right in St. Marks Place and faithfully represent the punk atmosphere of those years.

    Along St. Marks Place there are tattoo parlors, punk-rock shops and many other oddities, including, as seen in "Ghostbusters 2"(1989), the (9) Ray’s Occult Books, a book store at number 33 that specializes in the occult. The bookstore is opened by experienced paranormal professor Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), in an attempt to break free from the unprofitable ghost-catching business.

    Following this stimulating path in its entirety, we arrive at Alphabet City, an area so nicknamed because, once the numbers ran out, letters were assigned to the four remaining Avenues, after 1st Avenue and before the East River. As in the rest of the East Village, this part too has experienced years of extreme social difficulty with problems related to drug dealing and consumption.

    As a warning about its danger, for years New Yorkers have associated each of the four letters corresponding to Avenues ABCD with the adjectives "Adventurous", "Brave", "Crazy" and "Dead", ordered not only alphabetically, but also by level of increasing risk for their own safety.

    These streets have enjoyed great popularity thanks to the success of the Broadway rock musical "Rent". Winner of the Pulizer Prize and several Tony Awards, the show tells the difficulties of some young creatives who try to develop their art, before the popular neighborhood became prestigious. In 2005, a film adaptation was produced, but it did not guarantee the same successes. Many exterior sequences were shot particularly in the East Village.

    Frances Ha and Paradise Lost

    Il (10) Tompkins Square Park, enclosed between Avenue A and Avenue B, is the green lung of the neighborhood. Here Jimi Hendrix she performed outdoors in a concert that achieved great success and feminist champion Margaret Sanger cheered on the crowds. Today the park is appreciated for its abundant foliage trees that shade the many comfortable benches frequented by residents of all ages.

    In the opening scenes of the delicate comedy "Frances Ha”(2012), the protagonist Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) dances in one of the paths of the park to the notes of a mandolin strummed by her friend Sophie. Frances desires much more than she has, but lives her life with too much joy, lightness and irresponsibility.

    Reality soon collides with his dreams. The film, shot in black and white, was received with great interest by the critics and obtained an enviable approval by the general public.

    Based on a well-known coming-of-age novel, "Great Expectations", by Charles Dickens, the film "Lost paradise”(1998) was adapted to the present day and set in Manhattan. The plot follows the events of the protagonist Finn (Ethan Hawke) who intersect with the morbid passion for the cold and charming Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow).

    Years after their first meeting, Finn arrives in New York with the aim of making his dreams as an artist come true; here he meets Estella, who begins to pose for him. Among the many places where the two young people meet, there is also the (11) Temperance Fountain, installed in Tompkins Square Park in 1888 to provide free water to the locals during the 'temperance movement' period.

    The Godfather, Mr. Crocodile Dundee and Everything can change

    At number 132, along 7th Street, which runs along the south side of the park, is the famous (12) Joe Strummer Memorial, mural dedicated to Joe Strummer. Voice, guitar and soul of the The Clash, died prematurely in 2002 at the age of only 50. The commemorative inscription, “The future is unwritten”, painted on the graffiti, appears on the back of the album “Combat rock” and offers the title to the documentary film shot in 2007 on the artistic and private life of the talented British musician.

    Right on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue B is the famous venue (13) 7B Horseshoe Bar Vazacs, appeared in the scenes of many films. The bar, which provides patrons with cheap drinks until the wee hours of the night, was also the place where the Rosato brothers made an attempt on the life of Frank Pentangeli (Michael V. Gazzo).The Godfather - part II"(1974).

    The charming tavern, dimly lit and equipped with a vintage-looking jukebox and pinball machine, also appears in both "Mr. Crocodile Dundee"(1986) and in the sequel"Mr. Crocodile Dundee 2"(1988).

    Even more recently, in the musical comedy "Everything can change”(2013) some sequences were set inside the bar. Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a failed record producer, is fascinated by the musical talent of Gretta (Keira Knightley) after hearing her play in a club. He therefore decides to produce his record using the outdoor spaces of New York as a recording room.

    With its rough brick exterior and medieval-style red arched doors, it also served as a facade for the fictional Life Café in the aforementioned film "Rent"(2005).

    The complex and long name of the legendary pub, "7B Horseshoe Bar Vazacs", derives from the location ("7B" - corner of 7th street and Avenue B), the shape of the horseshoe bar ("Horseshoe") and the name original from when it opened as a dining room in 1935.

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