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Tuesday June 19th 2018

Mo' Better Blues | 1990

Mo' Better Blues location: America Restaurant, East 18th Street, New York
Mo’ Better Blues location: The ‘Dizzy Club’: Rosa Mexicano, East 18th Street, New York

Spike Lee’s New York-set film about the confused life of a jazz trumpeter Bleek  (Denzel Washington), looks stunning. The opening shot of ‘Brooklyn, 1969’ was filmed on the west side of Prospect Park in the classy Park Slope area of the borough.

Mo' Better Blues location: Furman Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Mo’ Better Blues location: Bleek’s apartment: Furman Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn

Bleek’s apartment is 8 Furman Street on Brooklyn Heights waterfront, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, while Clarke’s apartment is in a landmark building in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighbourhood.

Mo' Better Blues location: Furman Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Mo’ Better Blues location: Bleek’s apartment: Furman Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn

The ‘Beneath the Underdog’ club is a composite. The interior is a studio set, but the exterior is Greenwich Village’s Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce Street, between Bedford and Barrow Streets, dressed as ‘West 52nd Street’ in the Fifties.

You can also see the Cherry Lane in Woody Allen’s Another Woman, Warren Beatty’s Reds and Cold War thriller The House on Carroll Street.

Mo' Better Blues location: the Cherry Lane Theatre, Commerce Street, Greenwich Village, New York
Mo' Better Blues location: the ‘Beneath the Underdog’ club: the Cherry Lane Theatre, Commerce Street, Greenwich Village, New York

Clarke works as a cashier in the jazz section of now-closed Tower Records, which stood at 692 Broadway at East Fourth Street, also in the Village.

In Harlem, the birth of Bleek’s son was filmed at Harlem Hospital, 135th Street at Lenox Avenue; while the brownstone stoop, where Indigo waits for Bleek, is on 141st Street between Convent Avenue and Hamilton Place.

The former America Restaurant, now a branch of Rosa Mexicano, 9 East 18th Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, northwest of Union Square, stands in for the ‘Dizzy Club’.

The familiar ‘scuzzy’ East Village passage, Shinbone Alley, off Bond Street between Broadway and Lafayette Street, is the alleyway in which Giant and Bleek are bloodily beaten up.