Weekend Homework: Help Me Find These Locations!!

After way too long, I’m finally getting ready to do a new installment of New York, You’ve Changed, in which I compare shooting locations in an older NY movie to the NYC of today (Ghostbusters, Taxi Driver, Rosemary’s Baby). This is one of my favorite features for the site, but unfortunately, researching the locations, taking the pictures and writing the posts takes a LOT of time, and I’ve been really busy lately.

But maybe you can help! These locations are currently giving me some trouble, and maybe someone out there will recognize them, or catch a clue I missed. No prizes this week, but I’ll definitely credit you in the final post. The movie was probably shot around 1946 or 1947.

Location 1: Character enters corner drug store

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The Clues!

The biggest clue is the name of the drug store (seen in interior shots): Larimore Chemists (Since 1899). I can find the listing in Google Book searches, but no mention of an address. Note also the number 40 on the awning in the first picture, and 45 in the second. If he’s on the numbered streets, that probably means he’s on the north side, and traffic is one way going east. Finally, there are a lot of pretty unique buildings, including that one with the columns, and I’m pretty sure most must still be there.

Location 2: New Yorkers board a subway train

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06

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The Clues!

The biggest clue is in the subway entrance – an IRT line – and that street. Where the heck do you find a slant like that?? East Harlem?

A few other scant clues to work off of. The subway station is small - you can see the characters coming through the turnstiles in the first picture and immediately coming to the platform in the next two. Also, note the men’s room doorway – I’d bet the door is certainly still there, and maybe even the tilework sign.

Location 3: Guy makes deliveries

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The Clues!

So clearly we’re looking for a run down, unpaved street with regular horse and buggy service…

Obviously VERY little go on here, except for the hope that few of these buildings have changed. Lower East Side maybe? East Village? Then again, is that a double staircase toward the right of the picture? Reminds me of a place on the Upper West Side…

Location 4: Arrival at the City Mortuary

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The Clues!

In the film, I think it’s referred to as the “City Mortuary,” as if it’s the central city mortuary…But I know very little about mortuaries. Any ideas?

Good luck, and thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

-SCOUT

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60 comments

  1. The first photo is at the corner of Madison and 66th Street. They would be walking into Fred Leighton Jewelery Store. I pass it quite often while I’m walking home from work!

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=madison+avenue+jewelry+store&fb=1&gl=us&hq=madison+avenue+jewelry+store&hnear=New+York,+NY&ei=zWSLTav3F4Xj0gGAntziCA&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=image&resnum=4&ved=0CAQQtgMwAw

  2. #2 is definitely 103 and Lex.

  3. Larimore Chemists was at 733 Madison Ave. If you search the NYT archives there is a police blotter from May 2, 1955 when a cab ran into it.

  4. The current address listed for Fred Leighton is 773 Madison Ave, not 733 – so maybe they used an actual drugstore name but moved the shot down the street a bit for the corner…

  5. Isn’t No. 4 somewhere around the Bellvue hospital building you posted about previously? The fence, columns (with their distinctive stripes and urns on tope) look about the same?

  6. On #3, this is more a guess than anything, maybe part of Gashouse district that were torn down and replaced by Stuytown and Peter-Cooper? Reminds me of some of the photos I’ve seen of that area before the teardown. Looks abandoned, which I think would correspond to 45-46, maybe 47 there, as people were finishing moving out. But again, mostly a guess. I can’t find any photos that actually match up to the film still.

    • It looks as if the street is undergoing some fairly significant repairs. There’s an open excavation on the right side of the picture and a pile of dirt in the foreground. I wouldn’t imagine that the city would be doing street repairs if the entire area is scheduled to be demolished in the very near future.

  7. I think this kind of looks like the Fresh Pond Crematorium in Maspeth, Queens. If you think so too, I’ll look further into pictures my husband has of it.

  8. #4 appears to be E. 29th Street, at the back of Bellevue. Looking at the spot in googlemaps shows http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=city+mortuary+nyc&fb=1&gl=us&hq=city+mortuary&hnear=New+York,+NY&cid=0,0,12183388461984946134&ll=40.740673,-73.975794&spn=0.001315,0.003484&z=19&layer=c&cbll=40.740673,-73.975794&panoid=zXtQsmZocnl5itKe7RdD2A&cbp=12,119.8,,1,3.63

    There’s some heavy construction in the photo so it’s hard to be sure, but the buildings in the left of location #4 match up, as well as the street corner near the center of the picture. The building style in the right of the photo also looks like a match. I can’t match up the steps in the photo though, because in google maps they’re concealed by construction.

  9. “corner of Madison and 66th Street” (Looking SE) is positively right! I went to google earth on street view and scrolled down the street a bit to get some close ups and the awnings still say “40” and “45”. Also, the trees are blocking the view from the corner but if you scroll even farther down past the trees… you can see the architecture of the second to the last building across the street (3 ledges) is an exact match… in fact most all of the buildings across the street have not changed at all (including the one with the columns). The street light pole is still there and the waste basket is in almost the exact same position as well lol. Key note.. the street is still one way but now flows in the opposite direction.

    Helping from way over in Detroit MI…. I love your blog… it is so very interesting… I would love to do something similar here in Detroit.

  10. Location #2 looks like 103rd and Lexington.

  11. No guesses to speak of, but I thought it funny that I JUST watched The Naked City for the first time two days ago, and in my review mentioned how fantastic New York looks in it. That’s the best part about the film. A perfect choice for your New York, You’ve Changed segment.

    Along those noir lines, I’d also recommend Kubrick’s second feature Killer’s Kiss. It’s not particularly a good movie, but some fantastic location shots of the beautiful old Penn Station, and of Times Square.

    • Looking at pictures / video of old Penn Station is one of the most depressing things you can do as a NY local. It’s unbelieveable they tore it down. I get angry every time I see a picture of it, and I wasn’t anywhere close to being alive back then.

  12. @markscottmusic

    I think you’re right about the column for #4 and this write-up lists Bellvue as the official mortuary for New York County. http://madeinatlantis.com/new_york/bellevue_hospital.htm. The Chief Medical Examiner’s office is just across the street on the north side of 30th.

    When you poke around Google street view there two things stand out though. The brick walls between the columns are different and I can’t find any instance of four columns close together like that, but there’s a fair amount of construction around the building as well that could have demolished the site we see in the picture.

    Is this the view after various construction and renovation? http://maps.google.com/maps?q=30th+and+1st&layer=c&sll=40.741277,-73.975332&cbp=12,310.23,,0,1.36&cbll=40.740813,-73.974294&hl=en&sspn=0.006295,0.006295&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=1st+Ave+%26+E+30th+St,+New+York,+10016&ll=40.74072,-73.974085&spn=0.001335,0.002411&t=h&z=19&panoid=aHPT-FqzkxxNpap8SETjyw

  13. Yay, Scout picked my movie suggestion! I think the thing I didn’t expect in the movie was to still see the horse-drawn carriages in the 40’s.

    • Believe it or not, there were still horses and wagons in the city in the 50s and even the early 60’s, when I was little. The rag man had a horse and wagon and so did the scissor sharpener and the fruit and vegetable man.

  14. It’s funny #4 was the subject of SNY most recent post!. Looking forward to NYYHC ‘Naked City’ edition…

  15. I actually think #3 is taken crack of dawn. That’s a milkman making a delivery. He’s got something white in his hand, but more telling is the bottle of milk logo thing on the delivery wagon. It’s probably from the mid to late 30s since the major milk companies started switching to trucks in 1938.

    • No, wait. I see. These are all from the same film…duh. Then it has to be a very small dairy still delivering or artistic license. Still looking.

  16. AAgh.. I can’t kill my earlier posts. Pretty sure it’s a Sheffield Farms Company.(http://wirednewyork.com/images/nycbw/073.jpg. Location is still stumping me.

    • Sheffield Farms was a large dairy company in the early to middle part of the 20th Century. They had a large milk depot on West 57th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues … the building is incorporated into what is now the CBS Broadcast Center.

  17. The biggest clues in number 3 are what appear to be two Dutch-influenced buildings down the street. This will keep me up tonight. LOL

  18. The only one I can vaguely guess at is #2. I’m thinking it’s Lexington and 96th, mainly because of the slope of the street.

  19. This vista, with the height of buildings and spires in the background, reminds me of Tribeca, so I’m thinking maybe North Moore, looking east, between Greenwich and Hudson. On Google Maps, you can see that the farthest building looks the same, but all of the foreground buildings are different. Is it possible that all of the near residential buildings in the old photo have since become industrial? http://tinyurl.com/4lpknzd

  20. I was referring above to Location #3.

  21. City Mortuary may be near Bellevue Hospital in the East 20s near what is now the dorms of CUNY Hunter

  22. While the exterior shot of the subway station is clearly Lexington/103, it is possible that the interior shots are not. It is reasonable to assume that back in those days the Department of Transportation took a very dim view of closing down subway stations for commercial filming. Its modern successor, the Transit Authority, certainly does. Now, the movie crew might have taken advantage of a maintenance closing of Lex/103. If a late 1948 filming date is possible, however, the inside shots could have been at the just-closed 18th Street station on the Lexington line, a small IRT local station similar in appearance to Lex/103.

    • Normally you’d be right – but it’s insane how much this movie went out of the way to shoot interiors and exteriors at the same location. In fact, I was having trouble figuring out the guy’s house. The door says 18-57…but what street? Then, later, the couple is in their living room, and there’s a street sign visible out the window…and that’s their address! Fingers crossed on this one…

  23. This is a movie, right? Who’s to say the prop department didn’t hang a shingle on an interesting building and call it a mortuary? I could have sworn the girl in the first two shots was Betty Bacall but google says she wasn’t in the flick. Still I would be willing to bet that there were lots of girls who looked like Bogie’s squeeze in 1948. Nice do doll face. On the subway in 1948 was that a 4 train stop?

    • 99% of the time, this is the case – But one of the reasons I was so fascinated by this movie is the director went out of his way to shoot actual locations – literally both inside and out. They even got permission to shoot INSIDE a working precinct, which is insane nowadays.

      • Actually, they didn’t film inside the precinct, at least Barry Fitzgerald’s office was a set in Hollywood made to look like the real thing (some of the apartments were also sets). They kept it quiet to keep the “entirely shot on location” promo going — and most of it WAS — but there are a couple of cheats here and there.

    • That 4 sign had to do with the stop location of a 4-car train. 103 St was and is a local subway stop, primarily serviced by the number 6. Nowadays, the number 4 also makes late night stops there.

  24. Boy, these pictures bring back such memories. The city still looked a lot like that in the 50’s when I was growing up. The Naked City is a great movie, but I cannot imagine leaning against a column in the subway like that. Eeeeeewww. Even in ‘the old days’ the subway was pretty filthy. There were vending machines in the subway that dispensed gum and candy and I wasn’t allowed to even look at them never mind get something from them. lol

    The buildings in picture number 3 remind me of Washington Heights, around the West 180’s, but the neighborhood wasn’t run down like it is in the picture. So maybe the East Village?

    Great project, Scout. Thanks, I know it takes a ton of work. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  25. No clue as to the locals but I think you should do a “Breakfast at Tiffanys” NY How You’ve Changed. Just a suggestion ;)

  26. The Naked City was a great movie, but the all-time Bellevue film is The Sleeping City, starring Richard Conte https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/The_Sleeping_City

    Sure looks like Bellevue, East 29th Street, but that building looks as though it was demolished to make room for Alexandria, the new bio-tech center. Surely not the Gas House district, which was down the avenue, south of 23rd Street, a much grimier, tougher grid of tenements.

  27. If you watch the old Hitchcock movie ‘Strangers on a Train’ you will see some great shots of the old Penn Station.

    Tearing it down was one of the greatest mistakes ever, in my opinion.

  28. Location #4 is definitely across from Bellevue Hospital, the fence columns with urns are still there. Maybe 30 st. and 1 ave. where the modern medical examiner bldg. is?
    I’m still looking at historic archives & photos to confirm exact location, stay tuned……

  29. ooops, meant 29th street

  30. For a complete look at “The Naked City” see my website – http://onthesetofnewyork.com/thenakedcity.html

  31. No. 2 is 96th st. as you come out on Lex looking up the hill to Park (looking West) It’s a on the 6 train.

  32. Sorry I’m late to the party. Just here to confirm #1 as NE corner of Madison and 66th. I recognized the curved displays as the building that houses Leighton. Luckily, not much has changed on the block, including all the cornices and facades on the south side of the street. I’ve just uploaded the google street views for comparison and willmshare the screen grabsin a minute.

  33. #4 — The urns look like old Bellevue on first and 29-30 Streets. (My original thought was Columbia on Amsterdam but I know there are not as many urns there.) The walls don’t look as high as in the old photo but they may have changes over the years, ot this could be on the east side, where I think the brickwork is a little higher. I would guess the mortuary is on 29th Street off of first, but it looks as if the buildingbis no more, or under a lot of construction. http://www.flickr.com/photos/34459085@N03/5570324344/in/photostream/

  34. Ok, #3 is killing me. The large buildings off to the right suggest something more central on Manhattan (if it is Manhattan), of which my gut is telling me to look near Broadway or downtown. (The building looks right for the LES and EV but they just do not have buildings that high, even now.) Due to the position of the larger buildings in the back and the newer block on the far right, I’m thinking it is a cross street showing, maybe, the south side o f the block. The small-scale buildings with the peaked roof may be a community church which would fit in nicely with a poorer neighborhood. I wish I could see more detail on the sign on the building or the carriage. I’ve Google map searched downtown, off of Broadway in the 100s and various other places where tenement blocks would abut buildings over 15 stories and (possibly) on the same block as a small church but haven’t cracked it yet. :(

  35. Something about the concrete stairway sides in #3 reminds me of Hells Kitchen.

  36. I don’t know why but I love looking at old black & white pictures of manhattan. That horse carriage blew me away It looks like work was being done in the street. Looks like the delivery man is a milkman because of what looks like a bottle on the side of the carriage.

    Thank YOU! for posting the pictures.

    I don’t know what part of manhattan that is :(

  37. I’m almost certain the subway shots are from 103rd and Lex.

    First, look at the outside shot. Uptown goes to Bronx Park, Jerome Ave, White Plains Rd, and Pelham Lines. That’s consistent with how the current 4/5/6 were referred to during that time:
    http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/caption.pl?/img/maps/system_1948.gif

    Second, the interior shots seem consistent with that station:
    http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/stations?5:3110

  38. I think the mortuary might be the back side of the cemetery in Ridgewood queens
    I will look up the exact spot on google maps

    J

  39. I finally took the time to re-watch The Naked City last night, I hadn’t seen it in years. What a treat! It literally was like going back in time for me, it brought back such vivid memories of growing up in the city.

    Berry Fitzgerald is wonderful, very funny. Some of the acting is cheezy, some doesn’t seem like acting at all, but on the whole it’s a great piece of nostalgia and film history.

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