This week, Scouting NY is taking a frame-by-frame, then-and-now look at The Naked City. Shot on location in 1948, The Naked City provides an incredible, documentary-style look at the streets of New York. Let’s see how the city has changed over 65 years later. Be sure to check out Part 1 here!
Continuing from yesterday’s article covering the Lower East Side and the Williamsburg Bridge, we resume our Naked City tour through 1940s New York City in…
Location: 240 Centre Street btw. Broome & Grand
Largely a police procedural, The Naked City takes place at several actual police buildings around Manhattan. The first: the original New York City Police Headquarters on Centre Street…
In use by the police from 1903 – 1973, 240 Centre was converted into luxury condos in 1988. The penthouse was last listed at around $31 million.
Location: West 20th Street btw. 7th / 8th Aves.
In the film, the detectives work out of the 10th Precinct, shot on location at 230 West 20th Street:
Filming an exterior at an actual precinct is pretty unthinkable these days…
…but The Naked City went the distance and actually shot inside the precinct, which is absolutely insane by modern standards. The interior has changed somewhat, but the desk and guardrail are still there!
Finally, a reverse up West 20th reveals the north side of the street looking toward 7th Ave:
Location: West 15th Street at Ninth Avenue
That is indeed the Chelsea Market building on the right, with the former Nabisco skybridge in the distance:
Location: West 18th Street and Park Avenue
Moving east, we find a news vendor selling papers at the entrance to the now defunct 18th Street subway stop. Though the entrance is gone, the station itself still exists underground in a state of abandonment.
Location: Sixth Avenue and 34th Street
I love this shot of an old lunch counter, with the Bennett monument visible in the background.
Today, that lunch counter is a Sunglass Hut:
Location: Seventh Avenue and West 40th Street
While I like the shot of commuters entering this Times Square subway entrance, I love the deli sign on the left, with pastrami and frankfurters for just a dime or two.
Location: West 33rd Street btw. 8th/9th Aves
Below, a mail truck zoom out of the Farley Post office toward Ninth Ave:
Location: East 29th Street and First Avenue
Heading far over to the east side, we find the original City Mortuary at Bellevue…
Location: Times Square looking north
So many great landmarks of yore visible in the below shot, including the Hotel Astor on the left, and part of the Bond store on the right. Note Pepsi hogging Coke’s now ubiquitous advertising space. The statue of playwright George M. Cohan can just be seen in silhouette:
Location: Times Square looking south
Looking the opposite direction, note the Loew’s State Theatre marquee in the center of the frame:
Demolished in the 1990s, the Loew’s entrance was located about where the Disney store is:
A great shot of a Loew’s clerk looking a bit sheepish at appearing in a movie:
Location: Times Square looking north
One final shot of Times Square looking north at what is now Aeropostale.
The East River
Location: East River somewhere in the 40s
The East River is featured prominently in The Naked City from three different angles. First, this amazing shot of kids jumping off the piers…
Location: The East River somewhere near Houston
Next, a view of the Williamsburg Bridge from somewhere near Houston. The Domino Sugar Refinery complex is visible on the left:
Location: The East River somewhere in DUMBO
Finally, a shot of the Manhattan Bridge taken near John Street in DUMBO:
Heading south, the movie features a fantastic shot of Wall Street in the early morning. Very little has changed here…
Location: Wall Street and Broadway
Location: Coenties Slip at Water Street
There’s also a great pair of shots of the old Third Avenue elevated train, taken at the Coenties Slip S-curve off of Water Street:
The Third Avenue El was phased out in the 1950s, and was the last elevated line to run in Manhattan.
Location: Battery Maritime Building
Last, we get this shot of commuters heading to the Staten Island ferry, which originally left from what was called the Municipal Ferry Pier. Renamed the Battery Maritime Building, it now offers ferry service to Governors Island.
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