In terms of geography, there are a few shots out of order in the chase, like when Popeye bombs past the 25th Street stop…
…only to arrive at that very station several shots later, when he tries to board the train:
But for the most part, it’s a very accurate trip through south Brooklyn following the elevated tracks along Stillwell Ave, 86th Street, and New Utrecht. Sad to see that White Castle has become a PetCo…
Now heading northwest on 86th Street, Popeye passes the Loew’s Oriental Movie Theater on the left, which opened in 1927 with a showing of Beau Geste. It closed in 1995 and today is a Marshall’s.
Popeye nearly hits a woman with a baby carriage as he’s turning north onto New Utrecht Ave…
Finally, the runaway train collides into the next train ahead, and Popeye sees his chance. He pulls over by a service station, today out of business:
He then spots the assassin exiting the 62nd Street subway station:
The assassin attempts to flee, but Popeye shoots him…
…sending him tumbling down the steps.
Their case rejuvenated, Popeye and Cloudy tail the Bocas as they drive down Park Avenue…
Note the modern 101 Park Avenue on the right, which replaced several buildings:
Cloudy follows Boca down East 38th Street…
…and takes a turn into an underground garage, still in business today:
There, he sees Boca pick up a black Lincoln Continental:
Popeye and Cloudy follow the Lincoln to the South Street Seaport area. Man, has this changed…
They turn onto dilapidated Water Street, today lined with expensive residential buildings…
Here’s the reverse up Water Street. Wonder who was smart enough to buy that For Sale building on the left:
Boca leaves the car on Peck Slip around the corner. Note how the cinderblocked building on the right has been completely restored (though why remove the fire escapes?):
Apparently, this was a time when you just piled junked cars under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Not so much today:
Popeye and Cloudy stake out the car, waiting for the pick-up to be happen.
After finally taking the car in and dismantling it, they discover heroin packed into the door runners. In the interest of busting all involved, they return the car to Charnier to allow him to continue with his plan. He drives to Wards Island…
…and heads on an old road toward the Hell Gate Bridge.
This road has been replaced by an enormous playing field:
After making the sale, Charnier crosses the bridge to Randalls Island.
The river has since been completely filled in and the road leveled:
At the end of the bridge, Charnier finds the police waiting and quickly pulls a u-turn, heading back toward Wards Island.
At the time, there were a number of abandoned warehouses under Hell Gate Bridge:
Any traces are long gone today.
The same could be said about gritty New York.
Popeye runs into the abandoned building, but Charnier has disappeared…
Hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through the world of The French Connection. If you lived in New York during the early 1970s, I’d love to hear your recollections. Last but not least, if you made it all 230+ pictures down to this final sentence and enjoyed the article, donations to my film fund are always welcome!
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