“New York, You’ve Changed” is a new Scouting NY site feature in which the New York depicted in movies is compared with the city of today. This is not the usual list of shooting locations and addresses to visit next time you tour the city. Instead, it is a full shot-by-shot dissection to see what New York once was and what it has become, for better or worse. Today, we finish our look at Taxi Driver (if you missed the previous articles: Part 1/Part 2; for those who missed our look at Ghostbusters: Part 1 & Part 2!). Enjoy!
Just finding us? Start with Part 1 of our Taxi Driver examination to avoid confusion!
Continuing along where we last left off, Travis takes Betsy to Times Square for their ill-fated movie date. Exactly where they are is tough to place as they walk along Broadway/7th Ave, but based on the median, I believe they’re at the corner of 45th & Broadway (note that this section of Broadway is now closed off to traffic as a pedestrian walkway):
Travis takes Betsy to the Lyric, a former 42nd Street playhouse and movie theater.
The actual show Travis brings Betsy to see is not the above-advertised Sometime Sweet Susan, but actually, a 1969 Swedish sex educational film called Language of Love. Currently, the Hilton Theatre is gearing up for the 2010 release of the Spider-man musical.
In this photo, you can see the full Lyric facade. Originally designed as an opera school, the Lyric opened as a theater in 1903, with 1,350 seats, 2 balconies, and 18 box seats. In 1934, it was converted into a movie theater to survive the Depression. At some point along the way, it became a porno theater. In 1994, the Lyric and neighboring Apollo theater (on the left) were demolished to make way for a theater combining the two. Major architectural elements were carefully removed and re-installed in the new building, which currently is known as the Hilton Theatre.
Shortly after the film begins, Betsy storms out of the Lyric (would she have the same problem with Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark?).
Travis desperately tries to talk with Betsy, offering us a glimpse across the street of what I believe is the New Amsterdam theater (like the Lyric, it had been converted from a theatrical stage to a movie house during the Depression and was in shambles by the time Disney leased it in 1993).
If you look closely, the theater across the street is playing Clint Eastwood’s The Eiger Sanction:
Travis later stops at McAnn’s Bar, a location I cannot find anywhere. There are several McAnn’s in the city, but none of them have addresses that match the building numbering (McAnn’s should be 692 or 694…). Any ideas?
Travis makes a call to Betsy to apologize, and amazingly, this scene was shot in a place where I spend a good amount of time when working on films: the lobby of the Ed Sullivan Theater building which, in addition to the Letterman studio, also houses the Mayor’s Office of Film. It’s looking quite a bit different these days, but I like that they left the metal phone book holder:
>>>Continue reading “The Film Locations of Taxi Driver (Part 1) (NY, You’ve Changed)”