The Naked City | 1948
The first of the eight million stories that spawned the TV series, this police procedure thriller was shot, influentially, on the streets of New York – a real change from the studio-bound productions out of Hollywood.
The cop station, used both for interiors and exteriors, is the 10th Precinct, 230 West 20th Street, which you can see virtually unchanged between 7th and 8th Avenues in Chelsea. Why this precinct is investigating a murder committed at ‘52 West 83rd Street’, way up on the Upper West Side, is a mystery left unexplained.
In fact, the murder site is the Lathrop, 46 West 83rd Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, a couple of blocks north of the American Museum of Natural History.
Other NY locations include Wall Street in the Financial District; and the foyer of the old Roxy Theater, which stood on the northeast corner of 50th Street and Seventh Avenue, until it was demolished in 1960.
The final cop vs killer confrontation was filmed at the Williamsburg Bridge, where the villain takes a nosedive into the East River. The entrance to the bridge, which leads to Washington Plaza, Brooklyn, is at Delancey and Clinton Streets in Chinatown.
The title, bought up by Universal Studios, originally came from a book of photographs by famed shutterbug Weegee (portrayed by Joe Pesci in The Public Eye), who advised on the picture and helped find locations.