This post is a self-guided tour to some of the major NYC film and comic book references. No other city in the world can boast the pure number of Superheroes like New York City. From city icon Spiderman slinging webs past Manhattan skyscrapers to the Fantastic Four making their headquarters in Midtown to NYC serving as a backdrop to Superman’s Metropolis, New York is steeped in comic book lore. Marvel comics settings are often based in New York City, while DC comics (Detective Comics) e.g. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc. are in a fictional world. That does not mean however that DC comics don”t appear several times, because many Superman and Batman movies do show up along the tour.
So sit back and enjoy a walk through New York’s eye as a meta-human, armored adventurer or even just the Caped Crusader. Or walk the walk via googlemap.
United Nations (42nd street and 1st Avenue):
This has been in several movies, and is a main stay in Marvel Comics. Let’s start with first the movies. If you go all the way back to the original Batman movie from the 1960’s the Joker, Penguin, Riddler and others try to kidnap over the United World Organization’s security, or the United Nations. This Adam West Batman, or “Holy Apparition Batman,” remains popular to this day. Did you know that you can tour the UN Building?
In “Superman IV A quest for Peace” Superman addressed the UN and wishes to rid the world of all nuclear weapons which of course leads to another confrontation with a new villain via Lex Luthor.
Tudor City (1st between 40th and 41th streets):
The outside of this building serves as the Osborn’s apartments in Sam Raimi’s “SpiderMan” 1, 2, and 3 starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. Now the interior of these shots is actually in L.A. but the exterior was shot in New York. You would need Osborn money to stay here, since apartments are at least $2,600 for a studio apartment.
Roosevelt Avenue Tram (60th Street and 1st Avenue):
This commuter train that majestically shuttles you above the East River and parallel to the the 59th Street Bridge, Queensboro Bridge, or the Ed Koch Bridge depending on your familiarity and time as a New Yorker. In the original “SpiderMan” starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Willem Dafoe, this is where the Green Goblin held people hostage and threw Mary Jane to the water near the end of the movie (video below).
NY Daily News Building (220 East 42nd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue ):
In the original Superman starring Christopher Reeves as Superman and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, this building lobby with the giant globe of the world, serves as the Daily Planet, the newspaper that Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego works at. You are allowed to enter this building. This building is also where other Superman characters like editor in Chief Perry White, reporter and love interest Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen also work.
Overlook Bar (225 E.44th Street between 2nd and 3rd Ave.):
This is a big one. People below 21 can go in while they serve food because Overlook is a restaurant. Ask about the mural that dates back to 1976-1979. Legend has it that there was a conference in NYC by the National Cartoonists Society and that nearby NY Daily news Cartoonist Bill Gallo was good friends with the owner of this bar. They invited them over to draw their doodles to replace some good murals that once resided at the bar. In exchange, they gave them food and drinks. These were artists who were inking major characters at the time like Spider Man (Gil Kane), Beetle Bailey (Mort Walker), Mad Magazine, Captain Caveman, The Flintstones and others. You can see the huge mural and there is a second one done again by Gallo and others in the late 90’s.
Chrysler Building (42ndStreet and Lexington Ave):
In a modern mythology story, Percy Jackson and the movie, “Percy Jackson the Lighting Thief”, Percy has a battle on top of the beautiful spire of the Chrysler Building. In the “Avengers”, Thor uses the Spire to assist in bringing down an even bigger than usual lightning bolt (video below).
Grand Central Terminal (42nd Street between Lexington and Park Ave):
A couple of comic movies have done scenes in one of New York’s most iconic landmarks. In the Great hall the original “X Men” with Halle Berry as Storm, Patrick Stewart as Professor X and as Magneto, the X men and the Brotherhood of Mutants have a big fight scene in here. Toad licks off Cyclops visor and it causes his eye beams to spew out of control throughout the hall.
In the Avengers there is the largest battle scene in which we see all of the Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk come together to hold off the Chitauri Alien invasion.
In the first Superman, Lex Luthor’s lair is directly below the train tracks of Grand Central. In fact someone tries to sneak into his hidden lair and steps into a trap involving the train lines!
Met Life Building:
This used to be the famed Pan Am Building. This is also Stark Tower in the Avengers. Don’t worry there are no more Tesseracts and unfortunately no Tony Stark here either. Some people also have it at Columbus circle.
42nd Street and Madison Avenue:
This is where the Fantastic 4’s Baxter Building is supposed to be. Now interesting enough the Fantastic 4 only occupy the top 5 floors. In the comics, the landlord originally wanted the team there, because of the publicity. The building has been a target for Supervillain attacks and also has been lifted into space, he quickly became a bit uneasy to the team’s presence. Even in both Fantastic 4 live action movies, the building was under attack. It will be interesting to see what version of the Baxter Building appears in the upcoming movie.
Hell’s Kitchen (From 39th street and 9th Avenue to 50 and 10th Avenue):
This is Daredevil’s stomping ground, be it in movie form with Ben Affleck portraying Daredevil or in the comics. Don’t let the modern aesthetic fool you, just 20 years ago, this was a tough neighborhood renowned for its crime and vice. Daredevil will be returning to live action format soon to NetFlix. To get a feel for the old neighborhood visit a few of the ratty bars still around 42nd Street and 9th Avenue, watch the video below or read our self-guided tour of Hell’s Kitchen.
The Frick Museum (1 E 70th Street):
This is the inspiration for Avengers mansion in the Marvel universe. Legendary Marvel creator Stan Lee literally walked by the Frick mansion every day on his commute into work at Marvel. He looked at its opulence, the beautiful courtyard and thought it would be the stately home that the Avengers would call home in the comic book.
Central Park is the single most filmed location in the world, so you shouldn’t be surprised that a couple of comic movies had scenes filmed here. Wow, now this is a movie and comic book cornucopia of sites. Central Park is where Thor and Loki leave with the Tesseract and return to Asgard in the Avengers. Loki is in chains and his mouth is muzzled to stop him from casting spells. The scene was shot on top of the famed Bethesda Terrace and Fountain on 72nd street near the exact middle of the park. The Avengers also all part ways there.
Learn more with our guide to Central Park.
Nearby on the white bridge named the “Bow Bridge” to the upper west of the Terrace in Spider Man 3, Mary Jane breaks up with Peter Parker, or was it the other way around? They break up so often, it’s hard to keep track, but it went down on this bridge. Actually harry Osborn learns Spiderman was Peter Parker and threatens Mary Jane to help destroy Peter’s life as she breaks up with him.
One of the most photographed places in the world so of course it would have a few Superhero movies. In “Amazing Spiderman 2” there is a giant battle scene between Spiderman and Electro in the movie. In the original “Spiderman” again with Tobey Maguire, The Green Goblin and Spiderman battle also in Times Square. Just in general it always seems Spiderman has battled in Times Square one time or another in the comic books.
In Captain America, Steve Rogers comes out of his coma runs away from the soldiers and arrives in a modern Times Square which is a secret Shield compound.
In Superman 2, Superman battles Zod and his crew throughout NYC and especially Times Square. There are a couple of shots that were filmed in Canada, a few in NYC or at least it filmed in background and their version of green screening happened.
Flatiron Building (23rd street and Broadway/ 5th Ave It looks like a Big Iron):
In the Spiderman movies of Sam Raimi with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spiderman this is the Daily Bugle which Spiderman works as a photographer and we get introduced into the likes of J Jonah Jameson.
Marvel Comics Headquarters (135 W.50th street between 6th and 7th Avenues):
Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to tour Marvel headquarters, but there isn’t much to see there. It’s an office. Though we did find this video of Stan Lee visiting Marvel HQ.
Delancey and Essex Streets:
Have you ever heard of the Thing of the Fantastic Four say, “Yancy Street”. Well, the co-creator of the Fantastic Four is Jack Kirby who grew up on the Lower East Side. Yancy Street is really an abbreviation and version of Delancey Street. It had a big influence on crew that always pester “The Thing”, because Delancey Street was well known for street crews, some loveable some extremely dangerous. The Thing trademark phrases, “Like It’s Clobbering Time” and the sense of humor is actually inspired by another Lower East Side figure, Jimmy Durante. Durante was a famous musician and actor and was known to bellow out jokes as songs. Durante was known as “The Big Schnoozla” and when you hear The Thing say, “Ya big kanook ” or a lot of Yiddish like terms from the Thing that is where it come from. So the Thing is a big tribute to the Lower East Side of Jack Kirby’s days. Check out our self-guided tour of the Lower East Side.
187 Chyrstie St between Stanton and Rivington streets:
This is Peter Parker’s apartment in Spider Man 2 and 3 with Tobey Maguire acting. It’s still a bit gritty, but not crime ridden.
GREENWICH VILLAGE: (check out our self-guided tour of Greenwich Village)
177 A Bleecker Street:
This is in the Sanctum Santorum for Dr. Strange who is the Sorcerer Supreme for Marvel. His residence fits in protected by spells to look normal and a magic algorithm keeps unwanted guests out. (Wishing your apartment could do that?!) Though Dr. Strange has had an animated movie, and a comic book series he is not well known to casual comic book and movie observers. That is certainly about to change, going to be very big in the upcoming Marvel Universe after Avengers 2. The house gets that address because more than one Marvel writer had lived at that address. Also Greenwich Village is a known haunt for musicians and writers and if one place where Dr. Strange could fit in NYC, it would be the Village.
Joe’s Pizza off the corner of Bleecker St and 6th Avenue:
It used to be on the corner of Carmine and Bleecker but this was the 29 minute Pizza delivery place in Spider Man 2. Go inside, there are pictures of Tobey Maguire shooting the scene from here.
New York Stock Exchange and surrounding streets (corner of Broad Street and Wall Street): In the “Dark Knight Rises” this is where Bane storms the Stock Exchange and they escape by bike off the ramps. This is also where the final battle between Bane and Batman happens when he rallies the police to his side.
Look for the ramps on side streets blocking cars from entering the area without authorization at the barriers.
Brooklyn Bridge/Manhattan Bridge: This serves as I love you note in “Amazing Spiderman 2” from Peter/Spiderman to Mary Jane. In the “Dark Knight Rises” This was also one of the two bridges you saw having a surgical demolition to prevent people from leaving Gotham. The ice where people who were exiled by Scarecrow was the base of the bridges.
Dumbo Power Plant: (John Street & Pearl Street. Can be seen from Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges) This power plant serves as the setting for the climatic final battle between Electro and Spiderman in “Amazing Spiderman 2.” The plant has been closed now for several years. Perhaps they were keenly aware of Electro’s dastardly plans.
Written by Derrick Edwards
“Spider-Man” by Saved from Newsarama.com. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Spider-Man via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spider-Man.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Spider-Man.jpg