A New Yorker’s Tour of Ghostbusters

Alex Riviello takes us on the insider's GHOSTBUSTERS tour.

Watch a movie with a native New Yorker and you’ll pray that it’s not set in their city. Trust me. We tend to pause it and scan the screen for clues, yelling things like “Hey what street is that?” or “Cloverfield just threw a building at my old job!” or “Why the hell is he going over the Manhattan bridge to get to the Bronx”? Nothing irks a New Yorker more than a film that messes up the geography of their city, or the feeling of living in this beautiful mess.

Few films are as quintessentially New York as Ghostbusters, though. It’s got it all, from the working-class schlubs in lower Manhattan to the hoitey toitey Central Park West upper-class, all the attitude and style and characters you’d expect.

Perhaps you want to find out for yourself, so here’s a tour of all the major locations in the city that you can undertake in just a couple of hours. Remember, you could take a cab to these locations, but any self-respecting visitor to the city should spend as little time in cabs as possible. (No real New Yorkers use them unless in emergencies, or if they're drunk.) Grab a MetroCard and deal with the subway crazies with the rest of us- it’s part of the experience.

We start things off downtown.

Hook & Ladder 8
14 North Moore Street

Just blocks away from the A/C/E trains on Canal, this is the first place a Ghostbusters fan has to go. Hook & Ladder 8 is the headquarters of the Ghostbusters and still to this day is a fully-functioning firehouse. Tribeca used to be a pretty industrial area but that dried up by the 1980s, leaving lots of buildings left abandoned before artists starting living in them and the neighborhood finally revitalized. I can’t speak for the wiring or load-bearing members in the building but the neighborhood is pretty far from a demilitarized zone - one bedroom apartments currently go for around three grand a month.

The firefighters don’t shy from the history behind the building, as they have the sign from Ghostbusters 2 hanging on the wall right inside the station, in plain view whenever the front door is open. Go in and ask nicely and you can see it for yourself.

To get to the next stop on the tour go straight past the firehouse down Varick and jump on the 1 train on Franklin. Take it all the way uptown to 66th, which will get you off on Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center Fountain
Lincoln Center, 140 W. 65th St

This is the place where Venkman met Dana after her concert and asked her on a date. Lincoln Center has been under many renovations over the years but the fountain has survived relatively intact. People still hang out there all the time and it sits right in front of the Metropolitan Opera, attracting an appropriately fancy crowd. It’s a beautiful little location and a nice place to rest your feet.
When you go here you have to spin around in a circle like Venkman, preferably after making fun of a violinist.


Next, head over to Central Park. Cross Broadway, head down to the Park and hang a left - you're only two blocks from Spook Central.

Dana Barrett's Apartment
55 Central Park West

Dana has an awesome commute. She also lives in a building that has really unique architecture, to this day, although you’ll notice that the building is much shorter in real life and the architecture of the roof was a matte painting in the film. It’s not quite as insane. It’s still a beautiful location, looking right over the park, and next door you’ll notice that the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church still stands, although you should never, ever step on it. Yep, that’s the church that the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man clamored over while trying to get to the Ghostbusters at the top of Dana’s building during the climax of the film. This is one of the cheaper buildings on Central Park West - right now there is a two bedroom co-op for sale for a mere $1.2 million. You don’t even want to know what the corner penthouse goes for.

To get to our next stop on the tour run across the street screaming and flailing and knock the doorman over as you do.


Tavern on the Green
Central Park West and West 66th Street

Poor Louis Tully didn't receive any aid from the notoriously fancy restaurant when he was attacked by Vinz Clortho in dog form, and you definitely won’t be helped now. It’s gone. It closed in 2009 and became a public visitors center (and gift shop) in 2010, but it closed again in 2011 and is currently under renovations for a new restaurant. In rehabilitating the building they've chopped down almost a quarter of the space, leaving it pretty unrecognizable to film fans. These spy shots were taken from over wooden construction fences - if all goes well it will be open once again shortly, possibly by the time this reaches print.

Next: take a nice stroll through Central Park, admiring the tourists taking pictures of wildlife (squirrels) and the pleasant bouquet of horse shit leftover from the numerous carriage rides. Head east until you come out of the park and come across 5th avenue, then jump on any of a number of city buses going downtown. You’re going to want to get off at 41nd street, right in front of your next destination.


The New York Public Library
5th Ave. between 40th and 42nd Streets

This is where it all began. The Ghostbusters’ first ghost, their first big scare, their first slime sample. This is the third largest library in the world and as far as I can tell has no ghosts, although it is home to a Gutenberg bible. Don’t go to the basement expecting to find the Librarian Ghost, either. Like the “Sedgewick Hotel” (actually the Biltmore Hotel) this was actually shot in LA, in the Los Angeles Central Library.

The reading room is still pretty much the same and although the famous giant lions have been fixed up a few times over the years (there’s actually renovation going on in the film) they’re still there, guarding the library and attracting tourists.

This was originally published in April's issue of Birth.Movies.Death., in honor of films celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year. See The Class of 1984 at the Alamo Drafthouse this month!