Streams

Scouting NY

Friday, February 20, 2009

NYC Scout is a film scout who spends his days traveling around New York City checking out locations. He recently started a blog in which he highlights some of the more interesting parts of the city he's discovered. What are your favorite NYC quirks and oddities? What little-known spots deserve to be in the movies? Comment below!

Guests:

NYC Scout

Comments [28]

Linda from East Village

1) To locate New York's growing number of rooftop bungalows, as well as backyard gardens and courtyards ensconced behind apartment buildings, go to Googlemaps. All is revealed in one fell swoop in Satellite mode.

2) Block Pharmacy on Second Ave. & Sixth St. in the East Village looks to be--in fact it IS--a time-warp from the mid-20th century. Last time I was there (I admit, more than a few years ago), they still stocked greeting cards whose display samples were wrapped in cellophane.

3) In and among the bargain marts on Canal Street are long indoor alleyways filled with dozens of stalls selling all manner of small-goods, not-so-small electronics, and food. These places look like scenes from Hong Kong.

Feb. 25 2009 11:58 AM
carter frank from hoboken,NJ

check out http://canopycanopycanopy.com. issue #4.There is an article in this great on-line magazine(Triple Canopy) called Homemade Memorials by artist Sonya Blesofsky. She encourages viewers to contribute images of buildings considered to be in danger of being demolished or forgotten. She then creates sculptures of these submissions from materials found around her home. So much of the sites you referred to seem to be endangered.

Feb. 20 2009 01:18 PM
Scout from NYC

"Maybe I don't get it. As much as I appreciate NYC's architectural and public art gems, I'd think that a neighborhood's entire look & feel would be of more interest to film producers. "

Hi Mike -

It's a bit confusing - To explain, my job is as a location scout, and when I do that, I'm absolutely looking for a neighborhood's entire look. My website, scoutingny.com, is about the interesting architectural and art gems that I see along the way. Hope that clears it up!

Feb. 20 2009 01:01 PM
Jen Geddes from West Harlem

Check out the beautiful blocks in the area of West 141-West 144th, from Hamilton Terrace to Convent Ave. - all lovely brownstones, churches and leafy streets, in the shadow of the majestic purple towers of City College. The neighborhood is similar to Brooklyn, but much better - b/c it's right in Manhattan!

Feb. 20 2009 01:00 PM
Scout from NYC

"Because of all of these shoots DUMBO became a very desirable place to move for people looking for a very NYC place to live. Since then many of those buildings (including the one I lived in) have been demolished to build up generic looking "modern" condos. There are not so many movie shoot anymore because it doesn't look quite so NYC anymore."

Sadly, movies were not the cause of the horrible condoization of DUMBO. ANYTHING along the water is getting killed in this manner, from Williamsburg to Greenpoint to LIC, and it didn't take the movies to get developers to notice this property.

Feb. 20 2009 12:59 PM
Scout from NYC

Hi -

This is Scout, the guy who was interviewed today for my blog, scoutingny.com.

There were two comments I'd like to address -

"Have you ever had a large scale film production in your neighborhood? It is a nightmare including: loud people, generators and trucks at all hours, bright lights at night, and limited access to your own front door. There is nothing like some production assistant telling you can't walk down your own street."

I generally have two responses to this. One, when we shoot in a neighborhood, it's a big influx of cash to the area. We give money not only to the shooting location, but also to neighbors, stores, and churches or halls that we rent out for catering. It's absolutely an inconvenience - I hate not being able to find a parking space myself when they shoot on my block (which they do a LOT). But there is an upside to it to may indirectly benefit you.

The second I tell people is: think of your favorite movie shot in NY. What is it? Godfather? Annie Hall? Ghostbusters? Let me tell you something, a LOT of people were inconvenienced on all those movies. Godfather shut down the 59th Street bridge, Ghostbusters shut down Columbus Circle, etc. But long after the annoyance of having to slightly adjust your route home is forgotten, I think we can agree that they were worth it. I'm not saying every movie shot is of that caliber, but I personally think it's worth the inconvenience to have films shot in NY. We WANT to be that city. There's a reason people are desperate to shoot in Philly, Chicago, or Boston. You will notice the day when people no longer care to shoot in the city.

And hey, if you're really, really don't feel like helping out the production, just tell the PA to go to hell and push past him...Legally, he can't touch you.

-SCOUT

Feb. 20 2009 12:57 PM
Susan from Astoria, NY

Fort Totten in Bayside Queens. Originally constructed in 1862 to defend NYC from potential East River approach attacks (in conjunction w/ Fort Shuyler directly across the river). Amazing, and worth the trip. They also offer guided tours by very knowledgeable park rangers.

Feb. 20 2009 12:21 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn, NY

Broken Angel in Clinton Hill indeed got condemned. The parts of it the caller mentioned have been torn off/removed....pre the economic downturn, a developer was slated to turn it into WHAT ELSE luxury condos!

Feb. 20 2009 11:40 AM
Richie Lokay from Bushwick Brooklyn

The link to Quincy St house memntioned by listener on the air: http://tinyurl.com/afdcxq

Feb. 20 2009 11:29 AM
peter in Brooklyn from brooklyn

The Seaview Hosspital is NOT the Farm Colony -- it is across the road from it. The Farm Colony was a city-operated poor farm (an actual working farm) where indigent people were sent to raise fresh vegetables for their own keep and for other city institutions (like Seaview). It is an incredible community of wll laid out, Dutch-style buildings that served as dormitories, infirmary, etc. Pretty enlightened no?
About 20 years ago I worked on a marketing campaign for the city to try to sell the entire parcel as a development site, which seems to have fallen through, probably because the whole site is landmarked.

Feb. 20 2009 11:27 AM
Lance from Manhattan

The Kingsbridge Armory on W Kingsbridge Rd, just west of the 4 train, in the Bronx.
Looks like a medieval castle.

www.flickr.com/photos/93152563@N00/322083625/

Feb. 20 2009 11:26 AM
Bill from New York

Broken Angel's been torn down, as far as I know. It's certainly not what it was, and I think it's no more. Condemned?

Feb. 20 2009 11:24 AM
Ethan from Inwood

I bet most NYers have never noticed that the exterior of Grand Central Terminal is decorated with iron rats... There's several of them scampering up an overhang's support rod.

Feb. 20 2009 11:15 AM
adam from east village

I hate to put the only negative comment up here but...
Have you ever had a large scale film production in your neighborhood? It is a nightmare including: loud people, generators and trucks at all hours, bright lights at night, and limited access to your own front door. There is nothing like some production assistant telling you can't walk down your own street.

Feb. 20 2009 11:12 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I know the guy who built the little shingled shack on top of an East Village building. He calls it Upaponit.

Feb. 20 2009 11:10 AM
Mike from Croton on Hudson

in 1996 I moved into loft in an old paper warehouse in DUMBO, not long after that I began to constantly see movie and TV crews doing shoots. The neighborhood had what people (scouts) thought was quintesentially NYC, cobblestone streets, old buildings, graffiti, etc.

Because of all of these shoots DUMBO became a very desirable place to move for people looking for a very NYC place to live. Since then many of those buildings (including the one I lived in) have been demolished to build up generic looking "modern" condos. There are not so many movie shoot anymore because it doesn't look quite so NYC anymore.

Feb. 20 2009 11:10 AM
Sandy from UES

There is an amazing overlook in Harlem up on Edgecomb and like 146th street. At night the angle makes the moon appear much bigger than you see anywhere else. It's amazing.

There are also to interesting buildings there, the Dawn hotel and right across is a castle like building.

Feb. 20 2009 11:09 AM
Mike from Jackson Heights

Maybe I don't get it. As much as I appreciate NYC's architectural and public art gems, I'd think that a neighborhood's entire look & feel would be of more interest to film producers.

For instance, take a look at the South Asian enclave of 74th St B/T Roosevelt and 37th Avenues in Jackson Heights.

You might also want to explore around the American Bank Note building in Hunt's Point, the Bronx...

Feb. 20 2009 11:08 AM
marcelo from long island city

There are way too many movies and tv shows shot in my neighborhood. Its disturbing when you can't find parking in near your house just because of a tv show.

Feb. 20 2009 11:06 AM
Danielle from Washington Heights

I love the giant stone arcade on the Henry Hudson Parkway right at the exit for the Cloisters. It used to be part of an elaborate driveway that led to the Billings Estate which was in what is now Fort Tryon Park. It's a romantic ruin from a bygone (and short-lived)era in New York history. Walking underneath it, you can see beautiful green tilework. I also love the Seaman Arch on 219th in Inwood. This arch, which is now part of a body shop and covered with grafitti, also used to be the driveway entrance to the Seaman estates.

Feb. 20 2009 10:59 AM
roses

I work for a nonprofit residence on the upper west side. Our doorway was used for an awful movie, "Music and Lyrics." The movie is so bad I haven't been able to watch it long enough to catch that scene. But it was an exciting experience for our staff and tenants.

Feb. 20 2009 10:58 AM
Alaina from Weehawken

This sounds like my dream job! How did you get into it?

Feb. 20 2009 10:56 AM
Jack from Jersey City

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/

Feb. 20 2009 10:56 AM
roses

I work for a nonprofit residence on the upper west side. Our doorway was used in the movie, "Music and Lyrics". The film is so bad that I haven't been able to watch it long enough to catch that scene. But it was an exciting experience for our staff and tenants.

Feb. 20 2009 10:55 AM
Peter from Flatbush, Brooklyn

Scouts already know about Ditmas Park and Victorian Flatbush. I;ve seen my neighbors houses used in everything from UNCF comericals, My Super Ex-Girlfriend and other movies as any town USA. They are always filimng there.

I also wonder, I've seen movies with college campuses that I swar are Brooklyn college, is that the case?

Feb. 20 2009 10:55 AM
antonio from park slope

I like the gowanus. The smells, sights and interesting people that live and work there are pretty unique. Sadly I think that will be become "billyburg south" in a couple of years; especially if that whole foods ever gets built..

Feb. 20 2009 10:54 AM
Renee Stanley from Hell's Kitchen

1) The Warner Building on Ninth Ave between 52nd and 53rd has nine different 'green man' gargoyles on it that supposedly are at the level at the old Ninth Avenue El tracks. They would 'make faces' at the riders on the trains! 2)On 45th Street right off Ninth Ave is a building that used to be a transformer station that changed DC electrical current to AC current; one of the buildings it supplied was the Chysler Building. You can see remnants of the sound dampening turbines on the top, as well as mechanical elements all thru the building. 3) The Film Center Building between 44th and 45th on Ninth has one of the most glorious Art Deco lobbies in the city. I could go on and on...Tons of great things in Hell's Kitchen...

Feb. 20 2009 10:43 AM
Blaney

There's an Eckerd drugstore on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint which must have been a roller rink or dance club at some point, because there's still a gigantic disco ball dangling from the ceiling. I don't know how that would work in a movie, but it's quite a treasure.

I'm also a big fan of the scholarly gargoyles on the campus of City College.

Feb. 20 2009 10:28 AM

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