Thursday, November 3, 2016

Manhattan (1979)

dir. Woody Allen

Allen's tribute to New York City was shot in black and white because that's how remembered it while growing up there. "I presented a view of the city as I'd like it to be and as it can be today, if you take the trouble to walk on the right streets." The film memorably begins with a montage of images of the city set to George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Due to the sheer number of locations, the interiors won't be mentioned here.

The opening scene between Isaac Davis (Woody Allen), his girlfriend Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), his friend Yale (Michael Murphy) and Yale’s wife Emily (Anne Byrne) – Elaine’s, 1703 2nd Avenue, New York, New York. Established in 1963, it was a popular gathering place for many celebrities, especially actors and writers. It was owned by the quirky and temperamental Elaine Kaufman. Allen has said that while the atmosphere was great, the food was terrible. Elaine’s closed on May 26th 2011, nearly six months after Elaine herself died at the age of 81. "The truth is, there is no Elaine’s without Elaine," the longtime manager Diane Becker said. In late 2013, Michael and Susy Glick, who already ran a restaurant in the neighborhood, opened a new establishment called The Writing Room in Elaine's old space. They retained the predecessor’s famed canopy, though it’s now charcoal, not yellow.

Yale tells Isaac about his affair with Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton) – E 76th Street, New York, New York. They pass the Carlyle Hotel at 35 E 76th Street.

Isaac talking with ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep) who’s writing a tell-all book about their marriage – 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York. The skyscraper behind them had been known as the Time & Life Building until Time Inc moved out in 2015. The building is currently undergoing an ambitious $325 million makeover. The developer is planning to replace the building’s entire curtain wall to create a more transparent interior space. The plaza in front of the building will also be redesigned.

Isaac, Tracy, Yale and Mary walking after the photo exhibition – Broadway at Prince Street, New York, New York.

Isaac meets with Mary at a MoMA event – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd Street, New York, New York. The original Modernist sculpture garden was designed in 1953 by architect Philip Johnson and landscape architect James Fanning and dedicated to patron Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. During the museum expansion between 2000 and 2004, the garden was redesigned with lighter-colored marble paving and an aluminum screen replaced the brick north wall.

Isaac walking with Mary after the event – 1st Avenue at E 51st Street, New York, New York.

Isaac and Mary walking her dog – Sutton Place at E 58st Street, New York, New York.

Mary and Isaac sitting on a bench with a view of the Queensboro Bridge – Sutton Square, New York, New York. It was shot at 5 am, and a park bench was brought in for the filming. The cinematographer Gordon Willis arranged with the city to have the lights on during the shooting of the scene. Some sites incorrectly list this place as Riverview Terrace. The terrace is a private cobblestoned street behind a locked gate located between Sutton Square and E 59th street. The lush trees from its garden now partially obstruct the view of the bridge. The tiny Sutton Place Park, next to Riverview Terrace, was inspired by the view in Woody Allen’s film.

Isaac picks up his son at his ex-wife’s apartment – 14 Washington Mews, New York, New York. This was once a row of stables housing horses of wealthy people living nearby. In 1881, the Department of Public Works ordered to build gates on both ends to clearly separate the street from the mews. New York University purchased the property in 1950. Though privately owned, the mews are accessible to the public while maintaining its quaint and quiet charm.

Isaac and his son looking at a sailboat in a shop window – F. A. O. Schwarz, 767 5th Avenue, New York, New York. The legendary toy store fell a victim of rising rents in New York City's hottest shopping district. F. A. O. Schwarz closed its doors in 2015, and the Apple Store has since moved in.

Isaac and Mary are caught in a thunderstorm – Central Park at W 81st Street, New York, New York.

Isaac and Mary take refuge in the Hayden PlanetariumCentral Park West at W 81st Street, New York, New York. The original Planetarium opened in 1935, a part of the American Museum of National History. It was closed and demolished in 1997. The new Hayden Planetarium, part of the $210 million Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space, opened in February of 2000.

Tracy and Isaac take a carriage ride through Central Park, New York, New York.

Yale breaking up with Mary – 995 5th Avenue, New York, New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is seen in the background.

Isaac takes Mary to a movie – Cinema Studio, Broadway at W 66th Street, New York, New York. It was a small two-screen movie theater near Lincoln Center that showed a mix of foreign and independent films. It closed in 1990 and was demolished when the Barnes and Noble Bookstore building was put up.

Tracy’s school – Dalton School, 108 E 89th Street, New York, New York. Originally the Children's University School, it is a private, coeducational college preparatory school and a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League. It was founded by Helen Parkhurst in 1919. The high school moved to its current building in 1929.

Isaac and Mary on a boat – The Lake near the Bow Bridge, Central Park, New York, New York. The bridge spans the Lake, linking Cherry Hill with the woodland of the Ramble. Built in 1859-1862, it was the first cast-iron bridge in the Park, and the second oldest in the U.S.

Isaac and Mary looking at delicatessen in a shop window – Zabar’s, 2245 Broadway, New York, New York. It’s Upper West Side’s iconic store famous for smoked fish and a wide variety of other gourmet food.

Isaac chats with Emily while Yale intends to buy a Porsche – Cranberry Street at Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York, New York.

Isaac and Mary see a fire in an old building – Still searching for this location.

The clothing store where Isaac and Mary bump into her ex-husband Jeremiah (Wallace Shawn) – Still searching for this location.

Yale calling Mary from a phone booth – Park Avenue at E 68th Street, New York, New York.

Yale enjoying his new Porsche – Queensboro Bridge, New York, New York.

Isaac, Yale, Mary and Emily coming out of an antique store – Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey but still searching for the exact location.

Isaac and Mary see Jill’s book in a bookstore window – Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey but still searching for the exact location.

Yale reading passages from Jill’s book – Alpine Boat Basin, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Isaac going to see Yale after he’s found out that Mary is still in love with him – East End Avenue between E 87th and 86th Streets, New York, New York. Many thanks to Robert Egan for helping to identify this location.

Isaac’s son playing ball – Heckscher Ballfields, Central Park, New York, New York.

Isaac fails to catch a cab and starts his run to Tracy’s apartment – 2nd Avenue at E 44th Street, New York, New York.

Isaac runs past Gramercy Park – Gramercy Park North, New York, New York.

Tracy's apartment – Still searching for this location.

See also...

Annie Hall

Hannah & Her Sisters


  1. The location for : "Isaac going to see Yale after he’s found out that Mary is still in love with him" is the west side of East End Ave between 86 and 87.

  2. The location where Yale breaks up with Mary is 995 Fifth Avenue, as you mentioned. In 2979 it was still The Stanhope Hotel. It was converted to condos in 2005.