A Woody Allen Walking Tour of New York City
He'll take Manhattan: from Annie Hall to Zelig
1989 - Crimes and Misdemeanors
One of Allen's most poignant films, Crimes and Misdemeanors posed deeply philosophical questions of moral absolutes (cut with several comedic layers, including a brilliant turn by Alan Alda as a successful television producer). The themes of morals, values and ethics were played out across a wide Manhattan stage, including the Bleecker Street Cinema in Greenwich Village. Unfortunately, the theater no longer exists (it had been located at 144 Bleecker Street and is now a video store). In the film, this is where Woody takes his niece to see movies he feels will make her a better person. (The theater is also where Aidan Quinn worked as a projectionist in the Madonna movie, Desperately Seeking Susan.) Alda offers Woody a job (directing a biography about him) at the elegant Tavern on the Green restaurant, located on Central Park West at 67th Street. And the big wedding party that ends the film was staged in the world-famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel, located at 301 Park Avenue.
1992 - Husbands and Wives
A novel, documentary-style of shooting distinguishes Husbands and Wives, a layered drama dealing with marital, post-marital and extra-marital relationships. In the film, Mia Farrow's has lunch with the newly-single Judy Davis at the Dean & Deluca Café, located at 121 Prince Street in SoHo. Sidney Pollack and his airhead girlfriend go to the movies at the 68th Street Playhouse, located at Third Avenue and 68h Street.
1993 - Manhattan Murder Mystery
The basis for this film came from several ideas originally rejected for Annie Hall, which (believe it or not) started out as a murder mystery. Re-teamed with Diane Keaton, Allen and Keaton play a married couple who suspect that their neighbor may have killed his wife. Elaine's is feature once again, as is the venerable 21 Club at 21 West 52nd Street. A body is discovered at the fictitious Hotel Waldron, which in reality is the exterior of the Hotel 17, located at 225 East 17th Street. The interior is a more famous hotel, the Chelsea Hotel, located at 222 West 23rd Street. One of the most famous artist hotels in the world, the Chelsea has been home to everyone from Dylan Thomas to Bob Dylan.
1994 - Bullets Over Broadway
An ode to the Damon Runyon-era of the Great White Way, Bullets Over Broadway featured one of Allen's best ensemble casts, including Dianne Wiest, John Cusack and Chazz Palminteri. The Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street, is where playwright Cusack gets his play staged (backed by mob money). For the Three Deuces Nightclub, Allen used the ballroom of the New Yorker Hotel, located at 481 8th Avenue (which he had also used for a scene in 1987's Radio Days.). New York City remains one of the great "characters" in many Woody Allen films; a living, breathing movie set that's as integral to the story as the actors and actresses. So if you're in town for the convention and you want to experience a true slice of the Big Apple, take a look at some of the cinematic spots he's helped immortalize. And of course, if you live here, it's never too late for a "Woody Walking Tour."
Chris Epting is the author of six books including James Dean Died Here, The Location's of America's Pop Culture Landmarks and the sequel, Marilyn Monroe Dyed Here, MORE Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks, from Santa Monica Press. He is currently at work on a new pop culture/travel book.