Spider-Man | 2002
Like Ghostbusters, with which it shares a good few New York filming locations, Sam Raimi’s film of the Stan Lee comic is set in New York, but shares much of its filming with Los Angeles, nearer the studio base.
It's not just the real New York but the real Queens for the home Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) shares with Aunt May and Uncle Ben (Rosemary Harris and Cliff Robertson), which is 8839 69th Road between Metropolitan Avenue and Sybilla Street in Forest Hills, central Queens.
Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) lives next door at 8837 69th Road.
It’s a five mile (8km) walk northwest to 44th Street in Woodside, along which Peter runs for the school bus, toward Queens Boulevard, so you could excuse him being a little late.
The school field-trip is to Columbia University, up in New York’s Morningside Heights. You'll recognise that large quad as the university campus from where Venkman, Stantz and Spengler conceive their master plan in Ghostbusters. It’s here, at the steps of the Low Memorial Library on the north side of the Quad, that Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) drops off young Harry (James Franco).
It's over to the West Coast to find the University's interior, where Peter gets the fateful spider bite. This is the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, 900 Exposition Boulevard, downtown Los Angeles, which masquerades as ‘New York’ again in Brian de Palma’s Bonfire of the Vanities and is also seen (though not by many) in 1997 comic strip adaptation Spawn.
It’s outside another Ghostbusters location, the New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, that Uncle Ben leaves Peter, warning him “With great power comes great responsibility”. Apart from Ghostbusters, the library is familiar from films such as Sex And The City and stands in for the 'Metropolitan Museum of Art' for the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, with Pierce Brosnan.
Down in Soho, Mary Jane works in the Moondance Diner, which stood at 80 Sixth Avenue at Grand Street. A genuine Thirties diner, which was featured in Igby Goes Down, is no longer in New York. In 2007 it was relocated to the town of La Barge, Wyoming. It's since closed for business, but still seems to be there.
‘Midtown High School’ is, yes, also in Los Angeles.
The interiors were filmed in Dorsey High School, 3575 Farmdale Avenue, at Rodeo Road, West Adams, midtown.
The graduation ceremony was filmed in front of the Thalberg Building on the Sony Studios lot in Culver City. You can see the site, along with plenty of other goodies (it’s your chance to see a clutch of Oscars up close), on the Sony Pictures Studio Tour. The tour takes in what is left from the old MGM backlot, most of which was sold off.
Back to Queens, as Parker, after discovering his secret powers, runs off down Austin Street at the junction with Ascan Avenue in Forest Hills.
Norman Osborn’s Gothic Manhattan mansion block is Tudor City, East 40th to East 43rd Street between First and Second Avenues, overlooking the East River, midtown. The complex is also the site of the attempted bomb attack in Brian de Palma’s Scarface, home to Tom Hanks in Ron Howard’s Splash! and the window beneath which Travis Bickle (Robert de Niro) is ordered to park while his creepy fare in the backseat (Martin Scorsese) fantasises about what's happening up there in Taxi Driver.
The interior, once again, is in Los Angeles. This time it’s the Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills. This palatial mansion isn’t open to the public, but the extensive formal gardens are (and admission is free).
The mansion has been seen in numerous films including, yes, Ghostbusters.
It was the interior of the ‘Pasadena' mansion in the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski, a hospital in Star Trek Into Darkness, the funeral home in Death Becomes Her, Swan's mansion in Brian de Palma’s Phantom Of The Paradise, Abigail's (Diane Kruger) home in National Treasure: Book of Secrets as well as Jack Nicholson’s 'Massachusetts' home in The Witches of Eastwick and the mansion of Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. Its other screen appearances include All Of Me, The Disorderly Orderly, Indecent Proposal and There Will Be Blood.
Likewise, although the ‘Daily Bugle’ building is New York’s famous Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, seen in Bell Book and Candle, Warren Beatty’s Reds and the 1998 Godzilla, the newspaper office interior is the Pacific Electric Building, 610 South Main Street, downtown Los Angeles, familiar from films such as Curtis Hanson’s LA Confidential, David Fincher’s Se7en and John Woo’s Face/Off.
Spidey swinging through the ‘Manhattan’ streets was also filmed around downtown Los Angeles, at Fourth Street between Beaudry Avenue and Hill Street; Grand Avenue between Third Street and Hope Place; Fifth Street between Los Angeles Street and Hill Street; Spring Street between Fourth and Fifth Street.
Wide shots show New York’s real Times Square, but most of the Green Goblin’s deadly attack on the 'World Unity Parade' was filmed on a set built at the old Rockwell Defense Plant, Bellflower and Imperial Highway in Downey, California.
After thwarting the Goblin, Spider-Man whisks Mary Jane away over St Patrick's Cathedral to the safety of the Rockefeller Roof Gardens, atop the Rockefeller Center on 5th Avenue, between 49th and 50th Streets. You can see the same gardens again as the roof of the 'Continental Hotel' where John Wick (Keanu Reeves) meets up with Winston (Ian McShane) in John Wick: Chapter 2.
And you can see the site of the ‘upside down kiss’ on the New York Street on the excellent Warner Bros VIP Studio Tour, 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank.
The Goblin’s attack on the aerial tramway was mostly mocked up in the studio. The Roosevelt Island Tram runs from Second Avenue, between East 59th and East 60th Streets, alongside the Queensborough Bridge, to Roosevelt Island (where parts The Exorcist and The Heretic: Exorcist 2 were shot).
The tramway can be seen in City Slickers and gets hijacked by terrorists in the 1981 Sylvester Stallone actioner Nighthawks.