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Shot On Site - The Ghostbusters Celebrate Christmas Near A Familiar Location

 By Paul Rudoff on May. 22, 2011 at 8:20 AM , Categories: Miscellaneous, Ghostbusters 2, Filming Locations , Tags:

I can't believe that it's been a year since I wrote my last Shot On Site article. Even though I have five Ghostbusters filming locations positively identified, it's taken me a whole 12 months to finally write up an article about just one of them. Hopefully I'll get the other four done in much less time. At the risk of sounding like a heaping helping of hyperbole, THE INTERNET IS THE GREATEST TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND! The Internet has done more for Mankind than the wheel ever did. Case in point: the article you've just started reading. The identification of the movie location at the heart of this article would not have been possible without the internet. Sure, that's true about all of my Shot On Site articles, but never more so than on this one. Way back in the late 1990s a fellow Ghosthead named Adam Gertenbach uploaded a few photos that presumably he took of the Ghostbusters II crew filming in Manhattan in late 1988. I don't remember where he originally uploaded them, but I was smart enough to download and save copies, and to remember to keep the proper attribution. It is all thanks to Adam posting those pictures online that I was able to do an identification of this filming location, as the only shot of it in the movie simply does not provide any distinguishable details that would tell one where to look for that place. A second major round of thanks goes to Google Maps for their invaluable Street View feature, which makes it possible to virtually visit just about anywhere in the world. Well, anywhere they have photographed with their funky little camera car. So, that's two big THANK YOUS for the Internet. Just as important is that the Internet was instrumental in allowing me to do all of the research on obscure minutia that simply would not have been possible in a physical library using physical means. I mean, really, do you think my local library here on Long Island is going to help me find the name and details of an out-of-business record store in Manhattan, when all I have is the street address and the last few letters of the name?

In the middle of the "We're Back" montage in Ghostbusters II, there is a single shot of the guys wearing Santa Claus hats while coming out of what looks like a video store and crossing a busy street.


This isn't the only time that we would see the guys in the Santa hats. A promotional photo was taken of the Ghostbusters wearing their festive fedoras, which was used on Card #44 in the Topps trading card set.


Now would you believe that both shots were taken at the same location? Would you also believe that that location is right next to a building that we've all known and loved for years? I never would have known were it not for these photos that Adam Gertenbach presumably took of the Ghostbusters II crew filming in Manhattan in late 1988. They can all be enlarged, so click on them and view the full size images as you read along.

Image   Image   Image

The three photos tell us that the video store location and the location where they snapped the promo photo are the same place, even though they don't appear to be when you look at everything separately. That's very important, as it means that I can use information in both shots to help do the identification. It also means that I'm only looking for one location, not two.

The first two photos are the ones that provide some key pieces of information, without which the identification could not have been made. The second photo told me where to look. In the background is a street sign that clearly reads "Stone St". So I hop on over to Google Maps, type in "Stone Street, New York, NY", and see where it takes me. As it turns out, it takes me to the corner of Stone St. and Broad St.. I look around and see nothing familiar, so I decide to take a virtual walk down the incredibly short Stone Street to see what's at the the other end.

At the other end of Stone, it intersects with Broadway and Whitehall Street, as it is at that spot where Broadway becomes Whitehall. More important than that little bit of useless information is that at the corner of Broadway and Stone is a Chipotle Mexican Grill eatery which is part of the massive 2 Broadway building that spans the entire block from Stone to Beaver streets. This little corner storefront is just what I've been looking for... and not because I'm hungry right now.


Compare the front of the Chipotle eatery with the shot from the film and you will see many similarities. The dark granite columns, the metal trim around the windows, and flat areas below the windows all match up... for the most part. Obviously when the entire building was completely reskinned in 1999 - this is what it looked like before that - they swapped out the granite below the windows for metal, and redid some of the windows, so it's understandable if it doesn't look 100% the same as it did back in 1988. Heck, if you want another point of connection, look at the sidewalk in front of the Chipotle eatery entrance. In Adam's photo of Dan, you see the same grating on the sidewalk.


Back in 1988 when Ghostbusters II was filmed, it wasn't a Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Ghostbusters come out of what clearly looks like a video store, with "Children's $3.99 Videos" displayed in the window, and signs promoting a "3 for $13.99" special on VHS tapes. Adam's photo of Bill and the movie both give us a few letters of the store's name: "OSION". It should be noted that the portion of the movie shot shown below also confirms that the corner store is the one used in the film, as on the far right of the shot we see through the store to the back of the red neon sign that's hanging in the window that faces Stone street. A store that ISN'T on a corner wouldn't have a side window in which to display a neon sign.


Taking a guess that "OSION" is the ending of the word "explosion", I surmised that the name of the store was "Video Explosion". A Google search for that title turned up no results. Deciding to better my results, I searched for "explosion" and "2 Broadway" and "New York". Luckily, I guessed correctly with the word "explosion", but never in a million years would I have guessed what word preceded it:

Record Explosion
2 Broadway near Stone Street
Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Yes, a store that is clearly selling videos is called Record Explosion! Multiple sources - NY Daily News on September 10, 2000, New York Magazine on April 15, 1996, Craig Wroe's May 2003 book "An Actor Prepares To Live In New York City", CitiDex.com - all confirm that, once upon a time, there was a Record Explosion store at 2 Broadway. Billboard magazine published an article on the small chain of Record Explosion stores in their January 28, 1995 issue, which goes into some detail on their offerings: records, cassettes, CDs, videotapes, video games, and related accessories (blank tapes, headphones, etc). Later on, before (apparently) all of the stores closed in the mid-2000s, they even sold DVDs. If you look closely in Adam's photo of Bill, you can see a sign that says "ROCK" (indicating a collection of Rock albums) on the left inside the store, and those appear to be records on the tall spindle on the right inside the store. So, that's definitely a Record Explosion store that the Ghostbusters come out of in Ghostbusters II.

This building located directly across from 2 Broadway is the background of the Santa Hat photo, which you can also see in Adam's photos of Dan and Harold. The photo on the bottom is from Google Maps.


Does it look familiar to you?

Yes, that's the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, which we all know was the Manhattan Museum of Art in Ghostbusters II. Okay, show of hands... How many of you visited the Custom House never knowing that another filming location was right across the street? Those of you with jumpsuits, packs, and traps, could have put on some cheap Santa hats, and briskly walked out of the Chipotle eatery, smoking trap in hand, recreating the famous shot from the movie. You'd definitely scare the straights. And by that, I mean the current owners of the eatery who, no doubt, have no clue that the movie was filmed there :-)

Those of you without the Ghostbusting accoutrements, could maybe snap a picture of these guys in front of their "birthplace".

(Photo courtesy of Killer B Hive)

If you're Donald Trump, you can buy the 4-pack of figures (five if you count Slimer) via the Amazon Marketplace here, here, and here. It's substantially cheaper at Toys 'R' Us.

Finally - yes, there is an end to this really long post - remember way back when (several paragraphs ago) when I said that Record Explosion sold video games? In the movie we can see a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) box being displayed in the store window. Right next to that, if you look carefully, is an NES Advantage controller box. I think we now know where Ray bought the one he used to pilot Lady Liberty.

(NES Advantage box image courtesy of The Nintendo Wiki)

Michael C. Gross, the film's producer, uploaded to his Facebook account this alternate version of the Santa Hat promo shot. Click on it to view full size.


[UPDATE - 4/9/2012]
You ever find something that, if you had found it earlier, would have made your life a whole lot easier? That happened to me today. While watching the Ghostbusters II Electronic Press Kit looking for behind the scenes sound stage shots for the new a Burbank Studios page here on Spook Central, I saw a shot that I must not have paid too much attention to when I first watched the EPK a few years ago:


Here we see the guys taking the santa hat promo photo in front of the clearly-marked Record Explosion store. You know, the same Record Explosion store that I painstakingly identified through the course of this article using some fan-taken behind the scenes photos and Google Maps. Had I noticed this shot in the EPK years ago, it would have been a whole lot easier to identify the location :-)

[UPDATE - 4/13/2013]
Yet again, I find a photo that, had I found it earlier, would have made this ID *so* much easier. Now there can be no doubt whatsoever that the guys were coming out of a Record Explosion store.


For more information about Ghostbusters filming locations, be sure to check out the rest of Spook Central's Shot On Site articles, Spook Central's Filming Locations page, and Chris Stewart's Shot On Site articles. Thanks Chris for letting me use your awesome title. Title graphic drawn by Paul Kinsella.


Comment from: Troy [Visitor]

Paul, these articles ALWAYS are a fun read. Thanks for doing them and putting forth the effort and research to make ‘em!

May. 22, 2011 @ 17:01
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks for the kind words, Troy. I try to make it an enjoyable read, and hopefully not-too-long, either. The latter, sometimes, can’t be helped as I endeavor to provide the steps and sources that I used to come to conclusion that that is indeed the correct location.

May. 24, 2011 @ 19:55
Comment from: Alex Newborn [Visitor]

Very cool article. I love stuff like this. Keep up the great work!

Apr. 9, 2012 @ 23:33

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