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Friday April 12th 2024

Working Girl | 1988

Working Girl filming location: 1 East 91st Street, East Side, New York
Working Girl filming location: the ‘Union Club’, site of the Trask wedding reception: 1 East 91st Street, East Side, New York

Office worker Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) finally betters boss-from-hell Katherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) to make it in the cut-throat world of business in this Oscar-nominated comedy.

The opening shot of Tess and co-worker Cyn (Joan Cusack) (both Oscar nominees) was stolen during the morning rush hour as the Staten Island Ferry arrives at New York’s Battery Park. A twenty-minute ride with fabulous views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, the ferry is one of the best free rides you can take. it carries 20 million people a year (60,000 passengers a day, not including weekends) between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.

‘Petty-Marsh’, the broker house in which Tess and Cyn work is 1 New York Plaza, on Water Street at Whitehall Street, the block of identical square windows overlooking the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

The interior, though, is a composite of no fewer than four separate locations.

The huge secretarial pool is a set constructed on the 21st floor of 1 State Street Plaza just across Water Street.

A couple of blocks east, the trading floor is that of the LF Rothschild Company, 55 Water Street, while further north in the Financial District, the club room was filmed at the (since closed) Midday Club at 60 Pine Street.

On a more sombre note, the company’s lobby was that of 7 World Trade Center, one of the buildings destroyed on 9/11.

Working Girl filming location: National Museum of the Native American, Broadway at Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan
Working Girl location: the offices of the ‘Trask Company’: National Museum of the Native American - previously the old US Customs House, Broadway at Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan

The offices of the ‘Trask Company’ are the old United States Custom House, now the National Museum Of The American Indian, 1 Bowling Green at Broadway. The imposing 1907 Beaux Arts-style landmark overlooking the triangle of Bowling Green is a screen favourite – appearing also in Batman Forever, Ghostbusters II, Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Katherine Parker’s Manhattan town house is an early 19th century private home at 80 Irving Place, at East 19th Street between Third and Park Avenues in the Gramercy Park district.

Like the ‘Petty-Marsh’ office, the fictitious ‘Union Club’, site of the Trask wedding reception, is also a composite. The exterior is the familiar Carnegie Mansion, home of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue on the East Side, previously seen on-screen as the palatial home of the ‘scary old broad’ Grandma, in the original 1981 film of Arthur.

Working Girl filming location: 1 East 91st Street, East Side, New York
Working Girl location: the Trask reception: 1 East 91st Street, East Side, New York

The luxurious interior is that of the the 1904 Burden Mansion, now the Convent of the Sacred Heart, which you’ll find directly across the street at 1 East 91st Street. The mansion has featured in two Sidney Lumet films: it was not only the apartment block targetted by the gang in 1971’s The Anderson Tapes, with Sean Connery, it also supplied the interior of the Bishop’s ‘Boston’ mansion in 1982 drama The Verdict, with Paul Newman. More recently, it became the Osborn mansion in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.