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Shot On Site - I Ain't Afraid Of Fear Itself

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, Filming Locations , Tags:

Welcome to Spook Central's special "Shot On Site Summer" event. All throughout the month of July, and possibly the rest of the Summer, I will be posting Shot On Site articles on Spook Central detailing newly-discovered Ghostbusters filming locations. Click here to view the current schedule.

Here we are again with another Ghostbusters filming location that seems near-impossible to identify, yet Matthew Jordan managed to identify it. Let's see what it is, shall we... This location is unique in that two unrelated shots were filmed here: one in Ghostbusters and the other in Ghostbusters II. I'll start with the Ghostbusters II shot because it's the easiest to do a comparison for, and it's the only one that actually takes place on the road itself. The road I'm referring to is the FDR Drive. In the case of this shot, specifically the area between E. 36th & E. 37th Streets. For reference, Matthew Jordan assembled a collage of the entire area that we can see in this traveling shot of the Ecto-1A. If at any time you're lost, click this link to view the collage.

I figured it would be easiest to show the connections between four images at once. From top to bottom: the end of the movie shot, a Google Maps photo taken in June 2011, the start of the movie shot, and another Google Maps photo taken in June 2011 from the opposite direction. Looking at the top two images, we see that there's a building with big black windows in both (though you barely see it in the movie shot), next to which is the same yellow street sign. The side of the FDR Drive near that building has the same railing in both the movie and real-life (both are three rails high). The right-most arrow points to the same Shark's Tooth pavement markings that go across the parkway. The arrow to the left of that points to the same small gap in the lane divider, and the other arrow points to the same light pole (barely visible in the movie shot, but it's there).

At the other end of the road you'll see the same metal guard bumper with yellow paint at the tip, and even the same drain covering near the side of the divider.


That concludes my look at the Ghostbusters II shot, now comes the hard part: the Ghostbusters movie shot. This one is harder because it's a night shot (so it's very dark), and the road that the Ecto-1 was driving on is no longer there! The shot I'm talking about is the one where Ray and Winston are in the Ecto-1 at night discussing the end of the world. The road they were driving on is FDR Drive Service Road East/Marginal Road, between Avenue C Loop/East 18th Street and East 20th Street. You can't drive on it anymore as it's now the East River Bikeway, inside Stuyvesant Cove Park.

To get the general layout of the area, look at this movie shot, along with the only two vintage photos I could find of the area.


You'll notice that the vintage photos and the movie shot show the same general layout of the area, which I can best describe by this crude "map":


Since everything between the FDR Drive and the East River is no longer there - that's what the park and the bikeway replaced - the only way this location was positively connected to the movie shot was by looking at the building on Avenue C, which you can see under the elevated FDR Drive in the movie shot. That red brick building is part of a huge apartment complex called Stuyvesant Town, in case you were wondering.

Since I'm not gonna go through the entire stretch of building, if you need a complete visual reference, you can view a collage of the entire layout of the area seen in the movie that was created by Matthew Jordan. Starting at the beginning of the shot, and the beginning of the building, we see the same ramp with low ledge, and the same number of windows and doors.


Jumping to the end of the shot, and the end of the building, we see the best connections you can make. You see some garages, doors, and windows that all match up perfectly (some are a little hard to see in the movie shot due to the darkness). Then, on the right, you have the one thing that made me realize that THIS is the location. In the movie shot you see a red brick building with multiple small windows that turns the corner at a 45 degree angle, instead of the usual 90 degree angle. That's exactly what you see when you look at the Stuyvesant Town building at the corner of Avenue C and E. 20th Street.


And that brings me to the end of my look at the FDR Drive's use in both Ghostbusters movies. We had the Ecto-1A driving on it in the second film, and the Ecto-1 driving alongside it in the first film.

For more information about Ghostbusters filming locations, be sure to check out the rest of Spook Central's Shot On Site articles, Spook Central's Filming Locations page, and Chris Stewart's Shot On Site articles. Thanks Chris for letting me use your awesome title. Title graphic drawn by Paul Kinsella.

1 comment

Comment from: Mrmichaelt [Visitor]

Very cool, always wondered about the FDR one in the first movie. Luckily, that apartment complex helped identify what section of FDR was used. As a side note, I wish I was in one of those cars in the other lane as Ecto-1a was being filmed - would have been a neat memory to have.

Jul. 30, 2012 @ 22:48

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