Our cinema-themed itinerary moves today to the heart of American finance, that Financial District which turns out to be among the districts of New York most represented by cinema films. We will also allow ourselves a small digression in Brooklyn, because crossing the bridge of the same name is one of the unmissable experiences that the Big Apple can offer.
- Would you like to know more? Read our guide on what to see in New York's Financial District.
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
- Films shot at the World Trade Center
- Films shot on and around Wall Street
- Films shot in Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry
- John Wick and The Devil's Advocate
- Film girati a City Hall Park
- Films shot on the Brooklyn Bridge
Films shot at the World Trade Center
About the terrifying moments of what happened on the morning of that famous Tuesday 11 September 2001, Oriana Fallaci wrote: “I was at home, my house is in the center of Manhattan, and around 9 am I had the feeling of a danger that perhaps it wouldn't have touched me but it certainly concerned me. (…) The sensation continued to possess me, inexplicable, and then I did what I never do in the morning. I turned on the TV. The audio was not working. The screen, yes. And on each canal, here there are almost a hundred canals, you saw a World Trade Center tower that burned like a giant matchstick ".
Il (1) World Trade Center originally it was a financial complex consisting of seven buildings among which the Twin Towers, the skyscrapers symbol of the Big Apple shot down during the terrorist attack. Every day around 70.000 workers engaged mainly in economic activities gravitated around that urban agglomeration. Among the many consumer goods stocks that are actually listed, in the cult movie "An armchair for two”(1983), that of orange juice is central to the development of comedy.
Upon entering the stock exchange building, Louis Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) explains very clearly to makeshift business partner Billie Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) that:
“This is the last bastion of capitalism left on earth. Here in New York everything is sold and bought: gold, silver, platinum, diesel, propane, various fuels, sugar and cocoa; and, of course, concentrated and frozen orange juice ".
The two brokers travel to New York with the aim of making poor the greedy brothers Duke, Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche), guilty of having plotted the exchange of armchairs between the two and of having illegally obtained financial information on the orange juice to profit from it.
The Twin Towers were also chosen for the setting of many other numerous films, including: "The three days of the Condor"(1976),"King Kong"(1976),"1997: Escape from New York"(1981),"Mom, I flew the plane: I got lost in New York"(1992) and"Spider-Man"(2002).
The term Ground Zero identifies today the bare site where the buildings of the Twin Towers themselves stood. The first director to include the sad and desolate images of the rubble after the collapse in a feature film was Spike Lee in "The Twenty-fifth hour"(2002). Frank Slaughtery (Barry Pepper) invites his friend Jacob Elinsky (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to his home and, having a beer before going out for the evening, they look together at the depressed area from the top of the apartment window.
In addition, in the opening sequences, the African-American director offers spectacular and moving backgrounds of the skyline of the Financial District of Manhattan, now devoid of the famous towers. The images taken at night clearly show the Tribute in Light, the powerful beams of blue light projected vertically towards the sky in memory of what happened. Initially approved by Mayor Mike Bloomberg as a temporary installation, since the inaugural night of March 2002, they are lit every year on the night of September 11th.
Today, the surface left empty by the previous World Trade Center has obviously changed its face. The reconstruction began immediately and the idea was to recreate various buildings leaving the same name to the complex. Two striking fountains (9/11 Memorial) have been built on the Ground Zero area, with a square plan, which occupy exactly the area of the chasms left by the foundations of the Twin Towers.
The main building of the New World Trade Center is the Freedom Tower, officially known as One World Trade Center. The first film to be shot in the sixth highest skyscraper in the world is the romantic comedy "I'll start over with myself”(2018), with Jennifer Lopez in the role of Maya Vargas, 40 and struggling with a great desire for professional redemption. Although without a degree, she manages to join the marketing team of an important company based in the majestic and elegant building.
Films shot on and around Wall Street
The area described above is located in the larger neighborhood of the Financial District, the southernmost part of the island. In this area gravitates the highest concentration of goods and wealth on the planet. In "The Wolf of Wall Street”(2016), Jordan Belford (Leonardo Dicaprio), explains:“ Do you want to know what the noise of money is like? You go to an operations room on Wall Street: "fuck here", "shit there", "pussy", "fuck", "asshole" ... I couldn't believe those guys were talking to each other like that. I was won over in seconds. It was as if I was getting adrenaline pumping! "
The protagonist begins his career as a broker in the area near the stock exchange; the offices of his company are ideally set inside the(2) Equitable Building, at 120 Broadway. A stone's throw from the skyscraper built in the early 900s, and for this reason recognized as National Historic Landmark, rises the area of the New York Stock Exchange, the renowned Wall Street.
The main building of the international stock exchange is the (3) New York Stock Exchange, of which the cinema often shows the images of the interior, while zealous and roaring agents undertake to sell and buy titles at the most convenient price. Among all the films that have immortalized the interior of the building, we can mention "Wall Street”(1987), Oliver Stone's masterpiece starring Charlie Sheen as starving buddy Fox, a novice broker.
While the latter building is located at the number 11 on Wall Street, the popular (4) Federal Hall it is located at 26 of the same street. Built in 1842 as the headquarters of customs, the historic building was first transformed into a detachment of the treasury department, then, from 1925, into a memorial.
The colonnade at the entrance clearly shows the neoclassical style and the statue of George Washington recalls the place where he himself was sworn in as the first president of the United States of America. Of all the films in which he appeared, probably in "Money Monster - The other side of money”(2016), the building takes on greater relevance in the plot.
In the action movie, financial adviser Lee Gates (George Clooney) finds himself involved in a kidnapping by a citizen who loses all his savings for following a promotion of a stock market supported by the same protagonist during his TV show. "Money Monster".
Il (5) Toro di Wall Street (Charging bull), near the garden called Bowling green, is one of the most photographed symbols of the whole area. The installation appears emblematically in the sentimental comedy "Hitch - He does understand women"(2005): to defend her best friend, the female protagonist Sara Melas (Eva Mendes) takes revenge on a slimy, cowardly and male chauvinist man by hitting him violently with a kick in the private parts, just" behind "the bronze statue symbol of financial prosperity and aggression.
Films shot in Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry
Proceeding south you can easily reach the (6) Battery Park. From this park you can enjoy an exceptional view of the Statue of Liberty, located exactly opposite, on the homonymous island. The park takes its name from the cannon battery that served as the first defense weapon when the city was a colony.
This area has also been a location for several films. Here, in the comedy "Desperately Seeking Susan”(1985), to escape from a man at his heels, Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) falls, hitting her head. After recovering from fainting she realizes she doesn't remember anything and convinces herself that she is Susan (Madonna).
In the Wall Street sequel, "Wall Street - Money never sleeps"(2010), Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf) secretly meets with his future father-in-law Gordon Gekko (Micheal Douglas), having a conversation right on the lower limit of the park, where, until a few years ago, coin-operated binoculars were installed for take a closer look at the most allegorical monument of the Big Apple.
A clever way to see the Statue of Liberty up close, avoiding the classic organized tours, is to use the ferry that connects Staten Island to Manhattan. The boats leave approximately every hour from the pier of (7) Whitehall Terminal, the southernmost tip of Manhattan, and the route is completely free.
Lo Staten island ferry, one of the many icons of the city, often appears on television programs such as "Sex and the City"Or in the initials of the"Late Show by David Letterman". It is also highly recommended to enjoy the skyline of the Financial District along the way.
The maritime connection also went down in history because it is used daily by the brilliant, witty and honest Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) in Mike Nichols' comedy "A career woman"(1988). The film depopulated and was enormously appreciated by audiences and critics also because it tells, in an original way, the professional and personal victory of all women workers with: “… a brain for business, and a body for sin”. It also won the Oscar for best song (“Let the River Run”), and was also in the running for other more coveted statuettes.
John Wick and The Devil's Advocate
Lovers of the "John Wick", Controversial hero played by the always excellent Keanu Reeves, will have no difficulty in recognizing the infamous (8) Continental Hotel, on the intersection of Beaver Street & Pearl Street. The hotel is represented in the Beaver building, a residential building built on an acute angle like the more famous Flatiron Building.
In the action movie, this sinister luxury inn with a highly select clientele is home to the most dangerous hit men working on an international scale. Inside, there are strict rules, curated and maintained by the owner Winston (Ian McShane), who, as in the case of the tough Mrs. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), nail and punish offenders without appeal: “Mrs. Perkins, your Continental membership has been, due to your actions, revoked ”.
Coincidentally, we still find Keanu Reeves, this time in the role of lawyer Kevin Lomax in "The Devil's Advocate"(1997), on (9) Penta Plaza Rooftop, building located at 133 Front Street. The rooftop scene, where John Milton (Al Pacino) offers Kevin a job in his law firm, was actually shot on the XNUMXth floor of the building; however, the water garden was digitally added in post production.
Contemplating that high-flying spectacle, the powerful lawyer confides in Kevin that the only uncertainty surrounding his hiring is the unpredictable human reaction to working under great pressure:
“Everything changes to live under pressure. Some people squeeze them, and they wake up; others collapse. Can he manage his talent? Can you meet a deadline? Can you sleep? ".
Film girati a City Hall Park
After the trip on the Staten Island Ferry and the walk through the shady glass and steel canyons of the Financial District, the recommendation is to continue the itinerary on two wheels: Bike rentals around the Brooklyn Bridge area are plentiful and you won't have difficulty renting a bike for a few hours.
Rent a bike near the Brooklyn Bridge
Before crossing theEast River however, take a moment to visit the most institutional area of New York, just north of the Financial District. The intimate and not very extensive green corner of the (10) City Hall Park houses the headquarters of the City of New York (NY City Hall) and represents an optimal option for a refreshing break.
As soon as you pass the entrance you will notice the Jacob Mould Fountain, the monument that adorns, together with the four gas lamps around the edges, the southern part of the park. In a scene from "Hitch - He does understand women”(2005), Alex Hitchens (Will Smith), walks towards the park exit with the lovely Victorian-style fountain behind.
He is painstakingly supported by the complicated Sara Melas (Eva Mendes) due to a drug intoxication (evidently alcohol-based) quaffed to alleviate a powerful allergic reaction due to an abnormal swelling of the face and ears.
At number 1 of Center Street the gigantic rises (11) Manhattan Municipal Building which houses numerous public offices inside. The elegant building appears in several films; in "Leon”(1994), for example, the corrupt and psychopathic antagonist of the Italian underworld killer, Norman Stansfield, played by Gary Oldman, occupies a desk in one of the DEA offices inside the building.
In "Sleepers"(1996), many sequences are shot on the (stage) benches placed under the arches of the entrance of the structure on which Michael Sullivan (Brad Pitt) and Lorenzo" Shakes "Carcaterra (Jason Patric) agree in detail about the decisive plan for take revenge on their tragic past.
At the service of the approximately 20.000 municipal employees, the (12) Chambers Street Station comes out a few meters from the main entrance of the municipal building. The old subway station is dominated by arches covered with “Guastavino” tiles, widely used in New York's Beaux Arts architecture.
The particular coatings appear clearly behind Al Pacino, in "The Devil's Advocate”(1997), while observing from afar his new protege emerge victorious from the first battle in court. Also in "Mr. Crocodile Dundee”(1986), near the same entrance to the subway, some robbers attack the gruff protagonist (Paul Hogan) with a blade in the company of his girlfriend Sue (Linda Kozlowski).
At 60 Center Street, you will find the famous staircase of the (13) New York County Supreme Court. The neoclassical style building will be really familiar to those who have followed the television series over the years "Law & Order".
And it won't be complicated to see Al Pacino again who, in the role of Carlito Brigante in the legendary gangster movie "Carlito's Way"(1993), triumphantly descends the marble steps together with his lawyer David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn), after being released from prison on appeal:
“I am a free man; and I don't mean just one who got out of jail… I'm finally free… finally liberooo! ”.
Al contrario, Buddy Fox (Charlie Sheen), in “Wall Street”(1987), sadly moves towards the interior of the courthouse facing his future with responsibility.
Films shot on the Brooklyn Bridge
Go back to the City Hall Park, because, right there in front, the cycle (and pedestrian) path that rides on the (14) Brooklyn Bridge. Walking the wooden walkway that travels over the lanes reserved for cars is certainly one of the most pleasant walks in Manhattan and one of the most exciting experiences that the journey can offer.
Aesthetically, the world's first steel suspension bridge is already incredibly fascinating in itself; the city setting that opens up on both banks of the East River completes the incredible context that has inspired photographers, painters, poets and writers since 1883. The Brooklyn Bridge somehow brings back to the American dream and it is as if only from up there did you really realize that you are in the Big Apple.
Obviously, this imposing structure appears in an extensive list of film sequences; you can remember: "Limitless"(2011),"S"(1999),"John Wick 2"(2017),"Sex and the City"(2008),"The Fantastic 4” (2005) or “Kate And Leopold"(2001).
Once you have completed the walk from Manhattan to the borough of Brooklyn, you will discover one of New York's most beloved jewels by heading to (15) Brooklyn Bridge Park, a green space of 34 hectares.
From Pier 1, in particular, you can enjoy hypnotic views of the city, and using the scene of the comedy as a reference "Splash – Una Sirena a Manhattan”(1984), you will be able to take enchanting snapshots with the bridge in the foreground and, in the background, the unrivaled skyline of New York.
Under the Brooklyn Bridge and right on the edge of the river ("Across a bridge, over a river and into a dream"), stands the (16) The River Cafè, elegant and suggestive restaurant born in 1977 and also appeared in an episode of the famous series "And Soprano"(1999-2007).
The romantic atmosphere of the starred venue is enriched by wonderful floral compositions, impeccable service and, above all, by the music played live by the legendary Dom Salvador, hall pianist and inventor of the "Samba Funk”, Musical fusion with Afro-Brazilian roots.
If you are not yet satisfied with film locations you can continue this itinerary with the next one, which starts right from where we ended our journey: itinerary of the films in DUMBO. Otherwise you can go back to Manhattan.
At sunset, walking backwards along the walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, the frame of Manhattan in front of you will take on the appearance of an approaching finish line and the warm-colored sky will appear immense. The distance traveled will lose its importance, because, on that same bridge, one would want to walk endlessly without ever getting tired.Read all the other cinematic itineraries