New York City is Hollywood’s most famous front lot, and is filmed entertainment’s number one location for film on the planet. When you travel to New York City you will constantly find yourself saying, “Wait, I know this place” or, “Hey, I’ve seen that somewhere”—it’ll get to the point of déjà vu where you’ll start to wonder if you once lived here. You have. You do. By spending 5000-plus hours watching film and television growing up, chances are good you’ve already spent several weeks in New York City without even being here.
The Metaphilm Movie Mapper is your chance to finally associate your fuzzy memory with an actual location, and pinpoint yourself in time by year, film, and location. More than that, it allows you to relive some movie magic. Like finding a glass slipper on the street after watching Cinderella the night before, the Metaphilm Movie Mapper allows you to see part of the reality behind the fantasy on film.
The Manhattan Movie Mapper is none other than Chuck Katz, best-selling author of Manhattan on Film: Walking Tours of Hollywood's Fabled Front Lot (Limelight Editions, 2005) Katz is a self-described “geographreak” whose loves are film and New York City—and the Manhattan he lived in for fourteen years before moving only slightly outside.
Manhattan On Film has been elemental in a summer film class taught by Metaphilm publisher Read Mercer Schuchardt since the summer of 2003 at Marymount Manhattan College (alma mater of Moira Kelly, ice skater from The Cutting Edge whose infamous line, “Toepick!” is etched into memories nationwide). After guest-speaking in Read’s class, several lunches and e-mails later, Chuck agreed that his books—and the data they contained—needed a wider audience. This led to the collaboration with Metaphilm, and the current Mapper before you.
No single search on the Mapper will yield the full richness or complete list of Chuck’s favorite Manhattan on Film locations, but you can get all you need for a very substantial cinemapper trip the city. Plus, the site offers extras not available in the book—things like pictures of the film location today as compared to screen shots of the actual movie moment.
If there’s a picture missing, and you happen to be walking by with a digital camera, snap a photo and send it in—we’ll add it to the database. The Mapper also covers more than just Manhattan, so feel free to send in the other film locations you know as well.
The Metaphilm Movie Mapper covers far more than just Manhattan. As you’ll see in the drop-down menu, New York City includes not only five boroughs, but also three states and several other “alternate” locations such as Gotham City, Metropolis, and Mockhattan. So whether you’re a fan of Bayonne, NJ, a comic book geek, or a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s “let’s film the east village in London” style of cinema, then you’ll also be able to find all those “nearly New York” locations here as well. The guided tours, do however, only cover Manhattan.
The Mapper is constantly updated by Chuck, by the staff, and by helpful hints and tips from you, our fans. If you’re on a set, or walking by, all you need to do to get your tidbit into the Mapper is find out three things—(1) movie name, (2) address/location, and (3) description of the scene being shot—send it in to us at mapper at metaphilm.com and we’ll add it to the database.
It’s helpful to know the specifics of the location, so be sure not just to get the street name, but the number of the closest address, and whether the scene is being shot inside or out. “Couple kisses in front of a SoHo café” is okay—but even better is “Couple kisses in front of Café Reggio at 119 MacDougal Street.” If you have a digital camera and can take a low-res (3 megapixel) picture of the location, all the better. We’ll give you photo and book credit whenever possible.
Chuck Katz is pretty much infallible when it comes to these locations, but not infrequently the rest of the staff will make a mistake, either a wrong address or a misspelled name, or sometimes a database mix-up. If you catch one, be kind enough to let us know what it is and what the correct information is. If we use your information in the next edition of the book, you may get a credit on the acknowledgements page.
Movies are filmed entertainment that project on a screen. Movie locations are actual physical locations in the real world. That’s a tricky distinction these days, but one of the major results of that difference is that, in the real world, people often don’t like to be bothered, annoyed, or have their doorbell rung just because they happen to work in, rent, or own a location that’s been used in a movie.
Please be courteous. Please use your discretion. If you’re walking by a film set that is currently filming, please be quiet so they can do their jobs and get the film to screens on time and on budget. If you’re visiting a former film location, please respect the private property laws.
Don’t, under any circumstances, do to these locations what they’ve done to Jim Morrison’s tombstone at the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Desecration is not a sign of devotion. Don’t honk, wave, yell, or take flash photography in the middle of the night. Don’t try to enter a building unless you’re invited or unless it’s open to the public. Don’t enter a dining or shopping establishment unless you plan to give them your business.
Then, with a little common courtesy, you’ll probably be allowed to inquire, see, and take your photograph in the very spot where Meg Ryan had her orgasmic sandwich in When Harry Met Sally. New York’s a friendly town—but don’t say we didn’t warn you if you behave obnoxiously.