The World Is Your Movie Set (Part II)

This is Part 2 of a three-part series. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1. Inspired by Google’s Find Your Scene commercial, these are movie locations I’ve actually visited. For this entry, I’m sticking with the East Coast.

Jaws’ Town (Martha’s Vineyard)
If you love Jaws and visiting movie locations, this one is a dream on both counts. Martha’s Vineyard, MA, stood in for Amity, so the whole island is like one giant movie set. Which they fully embrace. Virtually nothing has changed in the almost 45 years since the movie was filmed. Primary locations are Edgartown (site of the parade, police station, and Quint’s shack in some scenes), Menemsha (site of Quint’s shack in other scenes, which was torn down after the film), the Chappy Ferry (also Edgartown), and most especially, Jaws Bridge (the American Legion Memorial Bridge). Where you’ll see lots people jumping off of it despite the signs telling them not to. In summers past, there have been Jaws tours of Edgartown, and showings of the film at the Edgartown Cinema.

Godfather Part II Ship (Philadelphia)
Near the beginning of Godfather Part II, as 9-year-old Vito Corleone sees the Statue of Liberty of Liberty for the first time, the Moshulu crosses the screen. The ship is currently docked at Penn’s landing in Philadelphia. It’s also a restaurant where you can (hopefully, again one day) book a table and tour inside. Built in 1904, it’s “the world’s oldest and largest square rigged sailing vessel still afloat” according to their website. You can also glimpse it in Rocky as he’s training.

Ghostbusters Firehouse (NYC)
One of many New York film locations, this is definitely an iconic one. It was only used for exteriors in the films (interiors were on a soundstage). And one I was glad to mark off our list several years ago. It’s located at 14 North Moore Street in Tribeca. You’ll know it when you see it, especially when you see the the Ghostbusters-themed FDNY logos painted on the sidewalk. Still a working fire house (Hook & Ladder 8), they were some of the first responders during 9/11. And if you want to visit Dana’s apartment (again, exteriors only), head up to the Shandor Building at 55 Central Park West. And don’t forget to look for the gatekeeper.

Mood from Project Runway (NYC)
My wife is a HUGE fan of Project Runway, so we’ve been here a couple of times. Most recently in February, when we went to see Mack & Mabel. If you’re a fan of the show, this is like walking right into it. Near the beginning of every episode, designers go to Mood and frantically run around while shopping for fabric. It’s at 225 W 37th Street, on the third floor, and you can just walk right in and buy a t-shirt (or yards of fabric). “Thank you, Mood!”

Say Yes to the Dress Shop (NYC)
I haven’t actually watched the show, but a couple of years ago we went to NYC with some friends and did all the sites they wanted. For their young daughters, Kleinfeld Bridal (110 W 20th Street) was top on their list. And they were not disappointed. Unlike Mood, this is a small, boutique establishment where real brides-to-be are shopping. So we were careful to ask permission before going inside. The staff (whom they all recognized) could not have been more friendly and posed for pictures. Again, just like stepping into the show.

Forest Gump Bench (Savannah)
The opening sequence of the falling feather and the framing scenes of Forest telling his life story (which is like a box of chocolates) were all shot in Savannah, Georgia. The bench scenes were filmed in Chippewa Square. The feather falls past the Scottish Rite Free Masonry building, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Independent Presbyterian Church, and First Baptist Church. The original bench was a prop built for the film and is now on the Paramount Studios lot, which you can see on the tour. A replica provided by Paramount is in the Savannah History Museum. The diner where Jenny works is Debi’s Restaurant (225 E Bay Street, near Wright Square), which they proudly advertise in their windows. In Asheville, NC (see Hunger Games below), you can take on Forest Gump Curve while visiting Grandfather Mountain. Sadly, there’s no Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant in Savannah (the city said no, despite all the free publicity they provide). The closest one used to be in Charleston, SC, but now you have to go to Daytona.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Statue (Savannah)
The book is a true story that took place in Savannah. Therefore, the film was also shot there. The most iconic image (which you can see all over town) from both is the Bird Girl statue. It used to reside in Bonaventure Cemetery, but after the popularity of the book and film and too many people trampling the nearby graves, it was eventually moved to the Telfair Academy. It looses a bit of its mystique in a brightly lit museum, but at least you can see it. Other major locations are the Mercer Williams House (which offers tours, but doesn’t discuss the murder), Bonaventure Cemetery, Clary’s Cafe (an excellent spot for breakfast), Churchill’s Pub, and Forsyth Park.

The Hunger Games Town (Hildebran, DuPont State Recreational Forest)
The first Hunger Games film was shot around Asheville, NC (the latter three moved to Atlanta) and there are two locations that you can easily visit. The first is the Henry River Mill Village, which stood in for District 12. It’s located right off of I-40 just outside of Hickory. When we went you just stopped for photos, but now they offer a guided tour. About an hour south of Asheville is DuPont State Recreational Forest, in which scenes of the game were filmed: the fireballs, Katniss jumping in the water after getting burned, and Peeta hiding in the rocks. The latter two were shot around Bridal Veil Falls and Triple Falls. We first discovered this park because of Hunger Games, and have been back many times since just because it’s so beautiful.

In our next entry, we’ll conclude this series. Part 3 will cover the West Coast, with a quick jaunt to Paris.

One Reply to “The World Is Your Movie Set (Part II)”

  1. […] Part 2, we bounce all over the East Coast. From Massachusetts to […]

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