New York: The Ghostbusters firehouse
At this point in Pop Pilgrims, we’ve visited 29 locations, but only at three have we seen many people making their own pilgrimages while we were shooting: the Rocky steps, the park next to Kurt Cobain’s house, and Hook And Ladder Company 8, also known as the Ghostbusters firehouse.
During our shoot there on a Saturday afternoon in mid-June, we encountered a steady stream of people stopping, taking photos, and talking to the firefighters inside about the building—not bad for a film that came out 27 years ago. It’s a legacy FDNY seems to embrace; inside hangs the sign from the Ghostbusters sequel, and on the sidewalk out front is an FDNY emblem repurposed with a ghost.
Like a lot of famous film locations, Hook And Ladder 8 was only used for exterior shots. The interiors were filmed on sets and in a decommissioned firehouse in Los Angeles. That building in L.A. has been in legal limbo for years and fallen into a state of disrepair, while Hook And Ladder 8 faces a shutdown due to New York’s budget crisis.
New York politics affecting the future of the Ghostbusters firehouse is appropriate, considering how much the movie reflects the city. Like Texas heavily informing Friday Night Lights when the series shot in Austin, New York plays a critical role in Ghostbusters. It’s very much a New York movie.
“I think the portrait it paints is very realistic in that, these are New Yorkers, they don’t really get fazed by ghosts,” says Josh Rothkopf, our guest for this segment. “I mean, there’s ghosts, everyone gets scared. But if you set this in a suburb, say, or in let’s say a Midwestern city, you wouldn’t get that kind of beaten-down, survivalist, cynical New York vibe, which I think adds to the film.”
Director Ivan Reitman did little to alter the Hook And Ladder 8 building, but Sigourney Weaver’s apartment building looks different in real life than it does on screen.
“What they did with that was build it higher on a matte painting, obviously it’s not the real building, and superimposed that to make it look spookier and gothic,” Rothkopf says. “But most of the New York locations, with the exception of 55 Central Park West, are pretty much as-is.”
The shots from earlier in the movie were filmed at Columbia University, which was not interested in being recognized. “Columbia University let them shoot there with the one caveat that they never mention the school,” Rothkopf says. “You can shoot inside and outside and in classrooms, but can’t mention the name.”
- Die Hard's Nakatomi Plaza
- Los Angeles: The Graduate church
- Los Angeles: Dining with Reservoir Dogs
- San Francisco: Jimmy Stewart's Vertigo apartment
- San Francisco: City Lights Books, birthplace of a literary revolution
- Memphis: Ardent Studios - Home to Big Star, The Replacements, Isaac Hayes, and more
- Memphis: Arcade Restaurant - Set of Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train
- Memphis: Sun Studio - Home to Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis
- New Orleans: St. Louis Cemetery - Set of Easy Rider's acid freak-out
- New Orleans: We visit locations from David "The Wire" Simon's jazz-heavy HBO series Treme
- New Orleans: Preservation Hall - Keeping the history of jazz alive
- Austin: We visit fictional Dillon, TX, home of Friday Night Lights
- Austin: The Texas Chain Saw... family restaurant?
- Austin: We're gonna need you to go ahead and visit the Office Space building
- Seattle: Kurt Cobain Park
- Seattle: The diner from Twin Peaks, Twede's Cafe
- Seattle: Fantagraphics Comics
- Eugene: The cafeteria from Animal House
- Philadelphia: The Rocky stairs
- Philadelphia: The Blob movie theater
- Philadelphia: The John Coltrane House
- Baltimore: The Wire locations, part one
- Baltimore: The Wire locations, part two
- DC: The Exorcist stairs
- New York: The Royal Tenenbaums house
- New York: The Ghostbusters firehouse
- New York: The Paul’s Boutique corner
- Chicago: The Blues Brothers bridge
- Chicago: The Wilco towers
- Chicago: The Ferris Bueller high school
- Cleveland: A Christmas Story house
- Cleveland: The Shawshank Redemption prison
- Cleveland: The Superman house