Annie Hall | 1977
Woody Allen’s innovative, episodic account of the on/off relationship between East Coast Jewish intellectual Alvy Singer (Allen) and the WASPish Annie (Diane Keaton), who eventually takes root on the West Coast, was filmed mainly around New York.The bad news is, there’s very little left to see of the film’s locations.
The young Alvy’s childhood home was under the Thunderbolt Ride at Coney Island. The wooden house itself burned down in May 1991, but the Thunderbolt hung on until being demolished in 2000. You can glimpse the veteran ride just before its demise in Requiem For A Dream. Steve’s Famous Clam Bar, seen in the flashback on the Boardwalk, is also long gone.
Alvy reveals his constant paranoia to pal Rob (Tony Roberts) as they walk past Manhattan House, 200 East 66th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues on the East Side. The 1950 Modernist block is now a designated Landmark, so it’s still with us.
Alvy and Annie first meet at the Wall Street Racquet Club, which stood – until 2002 – on Piers 13 and 14, on the East River at the end of Wall Street. Not only is the club closed, even the piers have gone.
Still there, you’ll be glad to hear, is Central Park, where the couple mock nerdy passers-by at Central Park Zoo.
As usual, Allen includes a clutch of his beloved New York cinemas. Sadly, they’re all gone. The picture house showing Ingmar Bergman’s Face to Face, where Alvy is recognised from TV as he waits for Annie, was the Beekman Cinema, which stood at 1254 Second Avenue at East 65th Street on the East Side until 2005.
The cinema’s lobby, in which he conjures media pundit Marshall McLuhan out of the air to silence a loudmouth pseud, has suffered a similar fate. It was that of the New York Theater, which stood at 1514 Broadway. The celeb cameo was meant to have been Spanish Surrealist Luis Buñuel (which would have been much more appropriate). Buñuel was unable to take the part, but Woody Allen finally included a fictionalised young version of the director in Midnight In Paris.
The final movie house, where Alvy bumps into Annie taking her new guy to see The Sorrow and the Pity, is – was – the Thalia Cinema on the Upper West Side, which closed in 1987. On the site at 2537 Broadway now stands arts project Symphony Space.
Annie’s apartment appears to be on East 68th Street on the East Side, but the number remains a mystery as we don’t see the exterior. All the film shows is Alvy and Annie in front of 40 68th Street, on the south side of the street between Park and Madison Avenues.
The beach and the beach house, where Alvy and Annie have problems with lobsters, is The Hamptons, the exclusive South Shore enclave at the far eastern end of Long Island on Route 27.
One location which still exists is over on the West Coast – anathema to Woody Allen. The health food restaurant where Alvy tries the alfalfa sprouts with mashed yeast, before Annie turns down his proposal, was the Source Restaurant. Food fads change, nowhere more so than in California. The Source became the Cajun Bistro, but it’s now Mexican restaurant Cabo Cantina, 8301 Sunset Boulevard at Sweetzer Avenue in West Hollywood.