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Sunday July 15th 2018

Die Hard With A Vengeance | 1995

Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: O'Neill Building, 6th Avenue, New York
Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Gruber blows up the department store: O’Neill Building, 6th Avenue, New York

Who knew? Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) turns out to have a brother, Simon, who's almost, but not quite, as theatrical, and apparently hellbent on revenge.

Part three of the franchise is set in New York, where Gruber II (Jeremy Irons) grabs the attention of the police department by blowing up the Bonwit-Teller department store. In fact, Bonwit-Teller had been out of business since 1990, though the building seen is the original store, in the five-story, cast-iron O’Neill Building at 655 6th Avenue, between West 20th and West 21st Streets, in the Flatiron District. The city’s first major department store, it’s since been renovated and is now a condominium.

Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Audobon Avenue at West 76th Street, Washington Heights, New York
Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: McClane has to parade around Harlem wearing a racist sign: 176th Street, Washington Heights, New York

As part of some devious game, Gruber demands that his brother’s nemesis, John McClane (Bruce Willis), parade around ‘138th and Amsterdam’ in Harlem, wearing nothing but a grossly racist sandwich board. In fact, to avoid all kinds of trouble, the board read “I hate everybody” and the wording was amended in post-production.

Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Audobon Avenue, Washington Heights, New York
Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Zeus Carver is tipped off about“ the crazy white man” at his electronics store: Audobon Avenue, Washington Heights, New York

The intersection where he’s dropped off is almost 40 blocks north of Harlem: Audobon Avenue at West 176th Street in Washington Heights, near the George Washington Bridge.

A block to the south, at 175th Street, a liquor store at 188 Audobon Avenue was transformed into the electronics store of world-weary Zeus Carver (Samuel L Jackson), where he’s tipped off about the crazy white man.

Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Broadway at 72nd Street, West Side, New York
Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Simon Gruber sets the “St Ives” riddle: Broadway at 72nd Street, West Side, New York

In an increasingly bizarre game of ‘Simon Says’, Simon Gruber sends McClane and Carver on a wild goose chase to the subway station at 72nd Street and Broadway to a public phone to await his next call. It’s here, with the famous Gray’s Papaya (seen in You’ve Got Mail) in the background, that the pair solve the “As I was going to St Ives...” riddle. Disappointingly for that photo opportunity, there is no payphone on this corner.

Set an impossible timeframe, McClane and Carver commandeer a yellow cab and take an unorthodox route through Central Park to get to the Financial District.

Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Federal Reserve Bank, Liberty Street, New York
Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Gruber’s real target: Federal Reserve Bank, Liberty Street, New York

All this chasing around is a diversion and it becomes clear that Gruber’s target is the Federal Reserve Bank, 33 Liberty Street. It’s quite tough to recognise, since the ‘Wall Street Station’ entrance was a fake, and the little green ‘park’ is now occupied by a skyscraper.

Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Tomkins Square Park, East Village, New York
Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: the problem at the elephant fountain: Tomkins Square Park, East Village, New York

Also built just for the movie was the elephant fountain, where the pair have to solve the problem involving two jugs of water. The feature was installed on the west side of Tompkins Square Park, Avenue A at St Mark’s Place in the East Village.

Carver is sent on another bogus trip to check out Yankee Stadium in the Bronx., but Gruber goes on to claim he’s planted a bomb in one of New York City’s schools.

Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: Alexander Humboldt School, West 177th Street, Washington Heights, New York
Die Hard With A Vengeance filming location: disarming the bomb at ‘Chester A Arthur Public School’: Alexander Humboldt School, West 177th Street, Washington Heights, New York

‘Chester A Arthur Public School’ – which happens to be attended by Carver’s nephews – is Alexander Humboldt School PS115, 585 West 177th Street, immediately alongside the intersection to which McClane was sent at the beginning of the movie.

Surprisingly, some of the film was shot in South Carolina. The subway station crash scene was shot on a stage built at the former General Dynamics plant in Bushy Park, on the Cooper River near Goose Creek, North Charleston. A full-size subway station, with a quarter-mile of tracks, was built in the vast space, and real subway cars were bought from the New York City Transit Authority. Part of the Jim Carrey comedy Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was also filmed here while the property stood empty.

The geyser scene was staged off I-26 near Summerville, about 15 miles northwest of Charleston, and the crash on River Road on John's Island, southwest of Charleston.

The bridge, supposedly near ‘Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Long Island Sound', from which McClane and Zeus leap onto the container ship, is the old Grace Memorial Bridge over the Cooper River. It was chosen so that the action could be filmed from the nearby the old Silas N Pearlman Bridge.

McClane finally catches up with Gruber as he prepares to spirit the trucks of gold to Nova Scotia, is the Truckers Inn, 7401 Assateague Drive, I-95 and Route 175, at Jessup, about 10 miles southwest of Baltimore in Maryland.