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Shot On Site - Yes, Virginia, There Is A Spectral Locomotive

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 9, 2012 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Filming Locations , Tags:

Welcome to Spook Central's special "Shot On Site Summer" event. All throughout the month of July, and possibly the rest of the Summer, I will be posting Shot On Site articles on Spook Central detailing newly-discovered Ghostbusters filming locations. Click here to view the current schedule. Today's location is another one that was found through the tireless efforts of Matthew Jordan, so let's get right to it... Business is booming for the Ghostbusters thanks to their highly-publicized Sedgewick Hotel bust. The entire media spectrum is abuzz with their exploits. Well, everybody has heard ghost stories around the campfire. Heck, my grandma used to spin yarns about a spectral locomotive that would rocket past the farm where she grew up. But now, as if some unforeseen authority...


Matthew had surmised that the reporter was at Broadway and Reade Street. He was correct about Broadway, but incorrect about Reade Street. How he got so close was that he was able to compare the buildings seen behind the reporter, which go quite a bit down Broadway.


So, if he wasn't at the corner with Reade Street, what corner was he at? Using Google Maps' Street View, I decided to take a virtual walk up one block to Chambers Street. Things definitely looked better there. In the movie, the horizontal road behind the reporter is a two-way, while the vertical road is possibly a one-way (you never see any cars going away from the camera). The corner at Reade Street has both one-way streets, while the corner at Chambers Street has traffic patterns that match the movie.


So the traffic and the background buildings were a match at the corner of Broadway and Chambers Street (there's even a bus stop at the right spot, too), but there was one thing that bugged me; one thing that prevented me from saying that this was definitely it. If the Men's Wear store (seen on the right of the movie shot) was at that location, it would have been in The Sun Building. The building has a beige-colored facade (I don't know the name of the building material, maybe stone). The Men's Wear store has blue and metal trim; no beige in sight. Considering how old the building is, and that it's been a National Historic Landmark since 1965, I would find it hard to believe that it would have been altered so drastically, then altered again in the time since the movie was filmed.

I relayed my concerns to Matthew, and being the ace researcher that he is, he found this photo of The Sun Building taken in November 1976. Let's look at a close-up of the corner of the building.


Why lookee there! On the Modell's Shoppers World facade is that exact same "Men's Wear" sign. The facade underneath matches up nicely, too.


This photo was the smoking ghost trap to conclude, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the reporter was standing at the corner of Broadway and Chambers Street. The historic Sun Building (aka A.T. Stewart Company Store, Marble Palace) at 280 Broadway, which was the home to Modell's Shoppers World when Ghostbusters was filmed, was the site of America's first department store, later housed the New York Sun newspaper (which published the famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial on September 21, 1897), and is now used for city municipal offices.

Modell's used to be a department store here in New York. My family went there a lot back in the 1980s. I loved their toy section. I got so many Kenner Real Ghostbusters toys there. Sometime in the late '80s/early '90s they transitioned from being a department store to a sporting goods store. They're still in business, but I haven't stepped foot in one since they made the transition because I don't need any sporting goods :-)

If you stand at the corner of Broadway and Chambers Street, turn around 180 degrees, and walk down Broadway one block, you'll see this location.


Yes, the subway ghost made his appearance down the block from where the reporter was standing. No wonder he was talking about his grandma's tales of a spectral locomotive. Both locations are right beside City Hall. Go back to the corner of Broadway and Chambers Street, and turn to the right, and at the far end of Chambers Street, on the other side of City Hall, is the Municipal Building (the fictional City Hall Loading Dock in GB1), and that's a block or two down from the Courthouse. Here's a map for reference.


A - GB1 Reporter: corner of Broadway and Chambers Street.
B - GB1 Subway Ghost: Broadway & Murray Street, immediately west of City Hall.
C - GB1 City Hall
D - GB1 City Hall Loading Dock: Manhattan Municipal Building, 1 Centre Street.
E - GB2 Courthouse: 40 Centre Street (Foley Square).

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: AJ Quick [Visitor]

It would be really awesome to find the shooting schedules. I bet all of those shots were done on the same days!

Jul. 10, 2012 @ 00:36
Comment from: Mrmichaelt [Visitor]

Really impressive finds, especially with the reporter and subway ghost locations. Google and Google Maps sure have come a long way in helping out with GB research.

I agree with AJ Quick, getting a copy of the shooting schedules to post online would be informative. I think from “Making Ghostbusters,” we only know in general that the 1st and 2nd units were sent to shoot in Manhattan in late October 1983.

Jul. 10, 2012 @ 02:15
Comment from: [Member]

Oh, I so *totally* agree that we need to get the shooting schedules for both movies. Anyone think that Michael Gross might still have copies… and would he be willing to scan them in for us?

A few originals for the GB2 shoots were/are being offered for sale from the Prop Store of London, but they want several hundred dollars for them. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need the originals. Photocopies would do just nicely :-)

Jul. 10, 2012 @ 13:49
Comment from: Mrmichaelt [Visitor]

It’s worth a shot. Perhaps you could also ask Don Shay, I think he still works on his magazine Cinefex

Jul. 10, 2012 @ 21:18

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