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Shot On Site - Taxi Driver Committed To Job, Even After Death

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, 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. A businessman gets in a cab with a corpse and asks to go to the "Columbia Building, 57th Street". He's referring to the Columbia Artists Management Inc. building at 165 West 57th Street (across the street from Carnegie Hall), where the company was headquartered from 1959 to 2005.

In a rare case of a movie actually being geographically correct, the undead cabbie was actually going in the right direction. You see, the businessman hailed the cab on Madison Avenue, in between E. 61st and E. 62nd Streets. The cabbie turned west onto E. 62nd St., and would have then headed south on 5th Avenue until he made the five block trip to 57th Street, at which point he would have turned west and gone for a block and a half until he got to the destination. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

As with the wandering Louis location, this one was identified by someone outside of the Ghostbusters community. Noah Forman (aka "nyctaxiphoto") made this comment on the Scouting NY website on September 24, 2009: "The commuter gets in cab with a corpse at Madison Avenue on the east side of the avenue at about 61st street. The back of the GM building/FAO Shwartz can be seen a few blocks away I think." Sure enough, Noah was correct.

Since the movie itself uses all tight shots for this mini-scene,I'm going to use a still from some stock footage to show you the entire location. The cross road in the background is E. 61st Street. The cab is facing E. 62nd Street, which it will make a left turn onto.


Now let me backtrack and try to show all the points of connection that confirmed, for me, that this was the correct location. First up, let's go with that movie shot of the businessman getting into the cab.


In the background you see the awning for a coffee shop. Sure enough, there's still a coffee shop there, with a different awning, and possibly different owners.


The really cool thing is that Viand Coffee Shop participates in the Google Maps Business Photos program, so you can actually go into Street View and step off the road (look for the double arrows) and walk inside the place. You can even see a sign inside on the right saying that Google is taking photographs that day and that any customers inside might be included in those photographs. (This was my first exposure to the Google Maps Business Photos program, which I never even knew they were doing until I stumbled upon the double arrows in the road.)

Going back to that first shot, some comparions can be made to the buildings in the far background. I actually had to go down the road a bit to get a shot in Google Maps that showed enough to do a comparison. I've drawn arrows to show the five buildings that match up the best. The building on the right is 654 Madison Avenue.


This next comparison shows the row of buildings that were next to where the taxi was parked. The key area to look at here is the upper-half of the buildings. Ignore the storefronts on the bottom because they've changed drastically, as has the building on the far right, which I think was demolished and rebuilt some time in the past 25+ years (it looks like more than a facade change). I don't think a bunch of arrows and boxes is necessary here, as the upper-half of the buildings are virtually identical in both the movie and the recent photo. The only real change is that the air conditioner vent covers (what I think those squares under the windows are) were changed on the left-most building. By the way, if you compare the recent photo with the stock footage still at the top of this page, you'll notice that the taxi was parked where the ADT van is (the van I drew a box around).


So, the cab makes the turn onto E. 62nd Street, and as it does, we see the corner building on the other side of the street. You can see that it's the same building in both the movie and the recent photo.


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.


Comment from: Mrmichaelt [Visitor]

Neat! So he was a good ghost after all, lol.

Jul. 23, 2012 @ 22:25
Comment from: [Member]

A good ghost, but not a good driver. I'd love to see the expression on the face of the cop who pulls him over for a speeding and reckless driving ticket :-)

Jul. 23, 2012 @ 23:55
Comment from: Mrmichaelt [Visitor]

It felt like the standard stereotypical cab driving seen in movies. It would even funnier if it was the same cop that Ecto-1 aimed one of its roof gadgets at in the cut scene.

Jul. 24, 2012 @ 05:44
Comment from: [Member]

Oh, and would have been too rich. Have the cop and the Ecto-1 ticket scene in the "Ghost Fever Grips New York" montage, then have the cop show up again to pull over the undead cabbie in the ghost escape montage. Both scenes would have been funny in and of themselves, but having that callback to the earlier scene by having it be the same cop, would have made it priceless.

Jul. 24, 2012 @ 14:36
Comment from: [Member]

By the way, I was thinking of referencing the Robert DeNiro movie Taxi Driver with the article header, but couldn't think of a good way to do it. The film's most famous line is "You talkin' to me?", which I was contemplating turning into "You hauntin' me?, but I was never satisfied with it. I didn't know of any other good lines from the movie (because I've never seen it).

Jul. 27, 2012 @ 22:26

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