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SOHO

A street in SoHo in Manhattan Films: After Hours (1985), When Harry Met Sally (1989), Ghost (1990), Husbands and Wives (1992), Basquiat (1996), Independence Day (1996), Devil's Advocate (1997), Unfaithful (2002), Men in Black II (2002), Spider-Man (2002), Devil Wears Prada (2006)

About: The historic district is officially bounded by Houston Street, West Broadway, Canal Street and Crosby Street. It is noted for the elaborate cast-iron architecture of many of its buildings, most of which date from the late 19th century. These buildings originally housed warehouses, factories and sweatshops. It is also noted for its cobblestone streets, which were eventually repaved with the exception of Crosby Street, Wooster Street, Mercer Street and part of Howard Street.

The neighborhood rose to fame as a neighborhood for artists during the 1960s and 1970s, when the cheap spaces vacated by departing factories were converted by artists into lofts and studios. SoHo's lofts were especially appealing to artists because they could use the wide spaces and tall ceilings that factories and warehouses required to create and store their work. During this period, which lasted into the 1980s, living in SoHo was often of dubious legality, as the area was zoned for light industrial and commercial uses rather than residential, and many residents had to convert their apartments into livable spaces on their own, with little money. However, beginning in the 1980s, in a way that would later apply elsewhere, the neighborhood began to draw more affluent residents. This led to an eventual exodus of the area's artists during the 1990s, leaving galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and young urban professionals behind.

SoHo's location, the appeal of lofts as living spaces, its architecture and, ironically, its "hip" reputation as a haven for artists all contributed to this change. The pattern of gentrification is typically known as the "SoHo Effect" and has been observed in several cities around the United States. A backwater of poor artists and small factories in the 1970s, SoHo became a popular tourist destination for people looking for fashionable (and expensive) clothing and exquisite architecture. This has been frowned upon by many people now living in SoHo.

UNION SQUARE

An aerial image of Union Square in the summer Films: Union Square (2003), Citizen Kane (1941), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), Conspiracy Theory (1997)

About: Union Square lies over 14th Street–Union Square, a New York City Subway complex served by the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, and W trains. Neighborhoods around the park are the Flatiron District to the north, Chelsea to the west, Greenwich Village and New York University to the south, and Gramercy to the east. Also nearby is The New School--a university. The eastern side of the square is dominated by the Zeckendorf Towers.

Union Square is noted for its impressive equestrian statue of George Washington, created by Henry Kirke Brown and unveiled in 1856. Other statues in the park include the Marquis de Lafayette, created by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, Abraham Lincoln, created by Henry Kirke Brown and James Fountain, donated by Daniel Willis James and sculpted by Adolf Donndorf. A newer addition, added in 1986, is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the southwest corner of the park.

TRIBECA

Houston Street in Tribeca in New York City Films: Ghostbusters (1984), It Could Happen to You (1994)

About: Tribeca is a fashionable, trendy residential neighborhood with a highly affluent population. Many of the streets are lined with boutique shops and high-end restaurants such as Nobu, Chanterelle and Bouley. Tribeca is also home to the Tribeca Film Festival. The neighborhood is a frequent filming location for movies, including the 1984 hit movie Ghostbusters, which took place in a Tribeca firehouse.

TIMES SQUARE

Time Square in New York City Films: Midnight Cowboy (1969), Fame (1980), Big (1988), Jerry Maguire (1998), Deep Impact (1998), Vanilla Sky (2000), Phone Booth (2003)

About: Times Square is a major intersection in Manhattan, New York City at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. The Times Square area consists of the blocks between Sixth and Eighth Avenues from east to west, and West 40th and West 53rd Streets from south to north, making up the western part of the commercial area of Midtown Manhattan.

Like the Red Square in Moscow, Trafalgar Square in London, and Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Times Square has achieved the status of an iconic world landmark and has become a symbol of its home city. Times Square is principally defined by its animated, digital advertisements.

Times Square was named after the Times Building (now One Times Square) the former offices of The New York Times. The intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street, at the southeast corner of Times Square, is the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across America.

The Times Square neighborhood, notably its busiest intersection, has been featured countless times in literature, on television, in films, in music videos and recently in video games.

Times Square currently serves as the primary shooting location for ABC's Good Morning America, MTV's Total Request Live which have studios facing the square. The annual Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve along with other New Years Eve celebrations is filmed at multiple locations around the square.

Times Square is one of the famous places in Grand Theft Auto IV, renamed "Star Junction".

CHINATOWN

Chinatown in Manhattan Films: Chinatown (1974), American Psycho (2000), The Devil's Advocate (1997)

About: For much of Chinatown's history, there were few unique architectural features to announce to visitors that they had arrived in the neighborhood (other than the language of the shop signs). In 1962, at Chatham Square the Lt. Benjamin Ralph Kimlau Memorial archway was erected in memorial of the Chinese-Americans who died in World War II. This memorial, which bears calligraphy by the great Yu Youren 于右任 (1879—1964), is mostly ignored by the residents due to its poor location on a busy car thoroughfare with little pedestrian traffic. A statue of Lin Zexu, a Fuzhou-based Chinese official who opposed the opium trade, is also located at the square; it faces uptown along East Broadway, now home to the bustling Fuzhou neighborhood and known locally as Fuzhou Street (Fúzhóu jiē 福州街). In the 1970s, New York Telephone, then the local phone company started capping the street phone booths with pagoda-like decorations. In 1976, the statue of Confucius in front of Confucius Plaza became a common meeting place. In the 1980s, banks which opened new branches and others which were renovating started to use Chinese traditional styles for their building facades.

EAST VILLAGE

Second Avenue in the East Village in New York City Films: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Mean Streets (1973), Summer of Sam (1999), Chasing Amy (1997)

About: Union Square lies over 14th Street–Union Square, a New York City Subway complex served by the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, and W trains. Neighborhoods around the park are the Flatiron District to the north, Chelsea to the west, Greenwich Village and New York University to the south, and Gramercy to the east. Also nearby is The New School--a university. The eastern side of the square is dominated by the Zeckendorf Towers.

Union Square is noted for its impressive equestrian statue of George Washington, created by Henry Kirke Brown and unveiled in 1856. Other statues in the park include the Marquis de Lafayette, created by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, Abraham Lincoln, created by Henry Kirke Brown and James Fountain, donated by Daniel Willis James and sculpted by Adolf Donndorf. A newer addition, added in 1986, is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the southwest corner of the park.

CONEY ISLAND

The boardwalk and ferris wheel at Coney Island Films: Paper Moon (1973), Annie Hall (1977), The Warriors (1979), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986), 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), Bugsy (1991), Death to Smoochy (2002), Pi (1998), Requiem for Dream (2000)

About: Coney Island is a peninsula, formerly an island, in southernmost Queens and Brooklyn, New York City, USA, with a beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The eponymous neighborhood is a community of 60,000 people in the western part of the peninsula, with Seagate to its west; Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to its east; and Gravesend to the north.

The area was a major resort and site of amusement parks that reached its peak in the early 20th century. It declined in popularity after World War II and endured years of neglect. In recent years, the area has been revitalized by the opening of KeySpan Park, home to the successful Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team.

HARLEM

The Apollo Theater in Harlem Films: Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Malcolm X (1992), Suger Hill (1994), American Gangster (2007)

About: Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, long known as a major African American cultural and business center. After being associated for much of the twentieth century with black culture, but also crime and poverty, it is now experiencing a social and economic renaissance.

THE HAMPTONS

A house and garden in the Hamptons Films: Grey Gardens (1975), Annie Hall (1977), Interiors (1978), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Town & Country (2001), Something's Gotta Give (2003), The Door in the Floor (2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), The Forgotten (The Beachouse Scene) (2004), Margot at the Wedding (2007), The Nanny Diaries (2007)

About: The Hamptons refers specifically to the towns of Southampton and East Hampton on the South Fork, Suffolk County, New York on the east end of Long Island.

As usual in a summer colony, parts of the Hamptons are well known as a playground for the rich who own summer homes there. Others are seaside resorts frequented by middle class residents of New York City particularly during the summer months for weekend getaways. The Montauk Branch of the Long Island Railroad, Montauk Highway, and the Hampton Jitney provide connections to the rest of Long Island and to the City, while ferries connect North Haven and Montauk to Shelter Island and New England, respectively.

MEATPACKING DISTRICT

Buildings in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan Films: Cruising (1980), Sex and the City (2008)

About: The Meatpacking District, once known as Gansevoort Market, is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It runs roughly from West 16th Street South to Jane St., and from the Hudson River east to Hudson Street.

For decades the Meatpacking District was a center for New York City's slaughter and meatpacking industry. Beginning in the early 1990s, the Meatpacking District went through a formidable transformation; today, high-end clothing stores and restaurants together with trendy bars cater to young professionals and "hipsters." This, coupled with still-active meatpacking companies in the area, contribute to the area's "gritty glam" appeal. In 2004, New York magazine called the Meatpacking District "New York’s most fashionable neighborhood". The Meatpacking District was even used as the setting for a movie premiere in The Sopranos, where Carmela Soprano mentions how "trendy" it has become. Also in popular culture, Samantha Jones, a character in HBO's Sex and the City ends up moving to an expensive loft-style apartment in the district.

Despite these changes, vestiges of the meatpacking industry remain. Visitors to Washington Street in the early morning hours will see active meat shipments from warehouses between the boutiques and cafes.

The Meatpacking District has also become one of the most popular nightlife spots in recent years. With the opening of clubs such as Tenjune, One, Cielo, APT, PM, and Aer, accompanied by celebrity hotspots like Pastis, the Meatpacking District is proving to become stiff competition for Chelsea's 27th Street.

BROOKLYN

Townhouses in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Films: Smoke (1995), Saturday Night Fever (1977), The Siege (1998), Sleepers (1996)

About: Brooklyn has many well-defined neighborhoods, many of which developed from distinct towns and villages that date back to its founding in the Dutch colonial era in the early 1600s.

Today, Downtown Brooklyn is the third-largest central business district in New York City, after Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan. It has many commercial towers and a rapidly increasing number of residential buildings.

The northwestern neighborhoods between the Brooklyn Bridge and Prospect Park, including Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Clinton Hill, Vinegar Hill, DUMBO (an acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass"), Fort Greene, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Red Hook, are characterized by many nineteenth century brick townhouses and brownstones. These neighborhoods include some of the most gentrified and affluent neighborhoods in Brooklyn, along with ample subway lines, cultural institutions, and high-end restaurants.

Further North along the East River lie Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Traditionally working class communities with a vibrant cultural mix, many artists and hipsters have moved into the area since the late 1990s. Further changing the area, the city completed an extensive rezoning of the Brooklyn waterfront in 2005 which will allow for many new residential condominiums. As prices have risen, redevelopment has moved eastward away from the waterfront into Bushwick along the L subway line.

Central and southern Brooklyn contains many more architecturally and culturally distinct neighborhoods, some of which grew rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th century as upwardly-mobile immigrants moved out of tenement buildings in Manhattan neighborhoods like the Lower East Side. Borough Park is largely Orthodox Jewish; Bedford-Stuyvesant is the largest black neighborhood in the country; Bensonhurst is historically Italian. Dyker Heights is an Italian neighborhood. East Flatbush and Fort Greene is home to a large number of middle-class black professionals. Brighton Beach is home to many Russians. Since 1990, Brooklyn has seen a rise in new immigration to neighborhoods like Sunset Park, home to flourishing Mexican and Chinese American communities.


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