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Film > Ghostbusters > Filming Locations > New York Filming Locations - Manhattan Museum of Art
Manhattan Museum of Art

George Gustav Heye Center
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
1 Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004
* Google Maps street view

Video Store
Record Explosion
[now Chipotle Mexican Grill]
2 Broadway (front right corner near Stone St.)
New York, NY 10004
* Google Maps street view
[ The video store location was identified by Paul Rudoff ]

Filming locations adjacent to this one will be included on this page.
That includes: Video Store

History - written by Chris Buchner (used with permission)
Unfortunately, those seeking to view wonderful works of art have come to the wrong museum. The Manhattan Museum of Art is in actuality the National Museum of the American Indian, a branch of the Smithsonian. In the 1780s, New York was believed to be the permanent home of the Nation's capital. They erected a building called the Government House at Bowling Green near what was once the shore of the New York City settlements and would serve as office to the President.

In 1787, Philadelphia was proclaimed the capital and the building was instead used as the governor's residence. In 1799, the building became home of the U.S. Custom House until it burned down 15 years later. The Custom House moved to Federal Hall and then to 55 Wall Street. In 1892, the U.S. Treasury held an architectural competition to build a new Custom House to match the growing greatness of New York and the Nation.

Cass Gilbert, the least prominent member of all the competitors, won the contract. He envisioned a monument to trade, which was the lifeblood of any nation's financial wellbeing, and to the seas, which served as the major route of trade. The building faces away from the harbor in a gesture of courtesy towards Broadway and Bowling Green and contains many ornamental symbols of the sea.

The fourty-four columns around the building have the head of Mercury carved in them, as he was the Roman god of commerce. Masks of different races are in the keystones above the windows, and the head of Columbus stares out from over the main doorway. 12 limestone figures stand on the sixth floor representing the most prosperous city-states and nations in history; Greece, Rome, Phoenicia, Geno, Venice, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, England and France. The four limestone statues in the front of the building are the work of Daniel Chester Finch and named simply "The Continents." They represent Asia, North America, Europe and Africa.

George Gustav Heye founded the National Museum of the American Indian in 1916. The museum's items are mainly composed of articles he bought during many visits to Native American communities around the country. Originally, the collection was stored at his Madison Avenue Apartment before being moved to the Heye Foundation's Museum on 155th Street and Broadway. The museum opened to the public in 1922. In 1989, an Act of Congress established an initiative to preserve Native American Culture as part of the Smithsonian. The Heye Foundation's museum closed in 1994 when the Gustav Heye Center was opened in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House where some of the collection resides today.

Fun Facts
  • Through the art of camera angles, you never get to see the subway exit directly in front of the building. (text written by Chris Buchner)
  • In the movie, the museum was located on Central Park South. (text written by Chris Buchner)
  • The building is now the home of the New York branch of the National Museum of the American Indian as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • The interior lobby scenes - Peter talking to the guard, and the deleted scene shot of Egon during the end credits - were filmed inside the actual building. However, the restoration room scenes were filmed on a stage in California.
  • The "hidden" subway entrance has changed quite drastically over the years. As you can see in the Real-Life Photos section below, it started out as a low open entryway, but a canopy designed by Dattner Architects, and made with Dupont SentryGlas, was added to it in 2007. Also, an elevator that presumably descends into the subway was added on the other side of the plaza (the area you see in the movie).
  • The Customs House sits on an island between a fork in the road that separates Broadway. On the building's right (our left if we're in front of the customs house looking directly at it), directly across the street, is 2 Broadway. The Ghostbusters II film crew used the front right corner store to film the montage shot of the guys in Santa hats coming out and crossing the busy street. The crew turned around 180 degrees and took the promotional photo of the guys in the Santa hats with the side of the U.S. Customs House as the backdrop. For more information, check out my Shot On Site article about this location.
  • Alternatively known as the MTA Building, due to the Metropolitan Transity Authority's lease on the place, the 32-story building at 2 Broadway was designed in 1958 by Emery Roth & Sons, the World Trade Center architects. It replaced George B. Post's 1881 Produce Exchange Building, a huge red Romanesque structure that "was one of the city's greatest architectural losses" (AIA Guide), which (according to online reports) can be briefly seen in the 1928 silent movie Speedy with Harold Lloyd. 2 Broadway was reskinned in 1999 by the modernists Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who chose to cover the facade in bluish tinted glass.
  • Back in 1988/1989 the front right corner store at 2 Broadway was a music/video/video game store called Record Explosion. The first Record Explosion store was opened by Jack Mishan on Nassau Street in Manhattan's financial district in 1975. The original store was closed "because we outgrew it", Jack's son Ed Mishan told Billboard magazine in 1995. At that time, there were six stores throughout New York City, two downtown, and four uptown, all leased. All indications are that by the mid-2000s (2005/2006), all Record Explosion stores have gone out of business.

Movie Shots
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Real World Photos
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Dreyfus Fund Inc. Commercial: The Dreyfus Lion on Wall Street (1958)
In this classic television commercial for the financial group, their lion mascot (portrayed by a real lion) walks past the Customs House (glimpsed partly in some shots) and into 2 Broadway.

This commercial is on Mill Creek Entertainment's "1,000 Classic Commercials" DVD (also in a Collectible Tin); it's the first one in the Financial section on Disc 3. You can also view it online at the following sites: my Facebook page, YouTube: Throwback, YouTube: Flannagan11, Nimia.

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Batman: "Instant Freeze" (February 2, 1966, Season 1)
The exterior of the Gotham City Diamond Exchange is 2 Broadway, though you don't see the corner of the building where the Ghostbusters would come out in their Santa hats over 20 years later. However, you do see the U.S. Customs House on the right side of the screen. (High-resolution Blu-ray frame grabs done by me, Paul Rudoff)

You can buy the episode in the following formats: Season 1 DVD, Complete Series DVD, Complete Series Blu-ray, Complete Series Blu-ray Limited Edition. You can also view the episode in low quality on these sites: Video TT, NowVideo, Google Docs, 720x542 Download (239 Mb).

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Batman Forever (1995)
All of the Gotham elite attend a lavish party at the Ritz Gotham, which is really the U.S. Customs House with about a hundred floors added to it through the magic of a matte painting (or a computer). Yeah, they took this little building and turned it into a huge skyscraper! Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) crashes the party with his goons, and they escape through the under-construction subway in front. (High-resolution Blu-ray frame grabs done by me, Paul Rudoff)

You can buy the movie in the following formats: 1-Disc DVD, 2-Disc DVD, Blu-ray, 4 Film DVD, 4 Film Blu-ray.

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Hitch (2005)
The movie stars Will Smith as Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, a romance consultant who helps hapless men woo the ladies of their dreams. Complications ensure when he falls for gossip columnist Sarah Melas (Eva Mendes), who unbeknownst to both of them, is doing an expose on the mythical "date doctor" as she tries to figure out how the clumsy Albert (Kevin James) is dating the wealthy and famous Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta).

Late in the movie, Sara walks through Bowling Green Park when she gets a call from Hitch. As the movie cuts back and forth between Sara and Hitch during their conversation, we see her emerge from the park, turn in front of the U.S. Customs House, and walk down Battery Place towards the (unseen) Men in Black headquarters building.

Be sure to check out my Hitch Filming Locations & Reference Review. Also, the movie has been released on Blu-ray, Widescreen DVD (with more bonus features), and a two-disc Blu-ray Double Feature with The Holiday (starring Cameron Diaz and the Greystone Mansion).

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Gotham: "Under the Knife" (April 20, 2015, Season 1)
The exterior of the Gotham City Police Department is the U.S. Customs house. They optically-removed the words "U.S. Customs House" from the building (see "real life photos on this page), and added some fake "Gotham City Police Department" placards to the statue pedestals flanking the entrance. In one shot you can see the new subway entrance (on the left) and the telephone-looking elevator (on the right), neither of which existed when Ghostbusters II was filmed there in the late 1980s. The subway entrance was there, but it was completely different, and Ivan Reitman cleverly filmed the building in such a way as to not show it. This is the second time that the building was used in a Batman production. Technically, it's the third if you count a glimpse of it in a shot of 2 Broadway in the 1966 TV series.

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