Lights, Camera, Lower Manhattan: Five Local Filming Locations You Can Still Visit 

01/16/2024 in
Lights, Camera, Lower Manhattan: Five Local Filming Locations You Can Still Visit 

From “Superman: The Movie” to “John Wick,” no neighborhood captures a certain cinematic regality quite like Lower Manhattan. Downtown has served as the setting for scores of films since the early days of cinema. The neighborhood’s been trampled by monsters, run through by greedy traders and rescued by Batman. It’s helped liberate mermaids, facilitate bank heists and let the Wet Bandits hide in plain sight — just to name a few of its notable escapades on the silver screen.

To give you a sense of the cinematic scope and history found across Lower Manhattan, we put together a list of five famous filming locations you can visit today, no movie ticket required. And for more downtown movie magic, see our (nearly) comprehensive list of Lower Manhattan movie locations.

“Splash”

Pier 16 (89 South St.)

Touchstone

The finale of the 1984 Tom Hanks/Daryl Hannah romantic mermaid fantasy flick takes place at Pier 16. The two leads are chased onto the docks by armed forces, and plunge off the edge to escape. The Seaport looks a little different these days, but it’s still not a good idea to jump into the river. 

“The French Connection”

South Street and Market Slip

20th Century Fox

This 1971 crime thriller starring Gene Hackman as an NYPD detective features some of the most classic scenes of Manhattan in the Bad Old Days. You can find one key shot from the movie right at the corner of South Street and Market Slip, where Popeye Doyle (Hackman) wakes up from a nap inside Ye Olde Market Restaurant. The restaurant building is long gone, as is the city’s ’70s grit, so the spot is a good place to reflect on how much has changed in the decades since. 

“John Wick”

The Beaver Building (1 Wall St. Court)

Thunder Road Pictures

In the seemingly ever-expanding John Wickiverse, the Continental Hotel plays a big role. It’s where assassins stay when they are in town, and now it’s the subject of a spin-off miniseries on Peacock. But in the real world, the Continental is an assassin-free residential development in Lower Manhattan known as the Beaver Building.

“Ghostbusters II”

U.S. Custom House (1 Bowling Green)

Columbia Pictures

The original “night at the museum” film was this 1989 comedy sequel, with a climactic showdown taking place at an art museum that’s covered in supernatural ooze. Of course, that spooky goo-filled building wasn’t really a museum; instead, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at 1 Bowling Green stood in for one for the film. (If you’re curious what would happen in a real-world “Ghostbusters II” situation, we’ve got you covered.) 

“Boomerang” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”

Brookfield Place (230 Vesey St.)

20th Century Fox

The atrium at Brookfield Place has had a starring role in a number of movies. In 1992’s “Boomerang,” for instance, Marcus (Eddie Murphy) and Jacqueline (Robin Givens) introduce Strangé (Grace Jones) as the company’s new spokesperson in front of a crowd inside Brookfield Place’s Winter Garden. And in 2010’s “Wall Street” sequel, pictured above, Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) struts through the atrium, presumably while contemplating how money stays up all night. 

For more on Lower Manhattan’s movie connections and an opportunity to apply for a creative filmmaker residency, see our Filmmaker in Chief tag or visit filmdowntown.nyc.

main photo: iStock

Tags: filmmaker in chief

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