Welcome to Times Square, 1985
Times Square in 1985, as captured on the CBS series "The Equalizer." Notice Traci Lords' misspelled name on the marquee! This scene was shot before it was revealed that she was underage. As for the "Fascination" sign, there is still a very similar sign in Coney Island.
Jeremiah over at Vanishing New York checks out Jim Jarmusch's 1980 flick "Permanent Vacation" for bits of the old St. Mark's Cinema, and finds a few interior shots that are worth the curatorial effort.
Indeed, parsing old movies and TV shows is a great way to find bits of lost New York. A recent obsession of ours has been the first season of the 1980s CBS show "The Equalizer," which was shot almost exclusively on city streets. That season is now on DVD. The shots we've included show Times Square in all its gritty neon squalor, circa the fall of 1985, and give you just a taste of the wonders the show captured on film. We suppose Rudy Giuliani was back then too busy prosecuting gangsters to care much about urban porn.
So, we ask, which movies or TV shows do you hit up for an old-school New York City fix? Our favorites include "The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3," "The Warriors," "Saturday Night Fever," "Three Days of the Condor" and most anything by Woody Allen or Martin Scorsese. But there are many, many others. On the TV front, old cop shows are a good source for New York street grit. The old NBC Mystery Wheel show, "McCloud," did a lot of street filming in the 1970s, and can still be seen late nights on TV 55 from Long Island.
Let us know of your old-school favorites -- the more obscure and overlooked, the better.
-- Rolando Pujol
The TKTS booth was already there, and, if you look to the top left, you'll see a sign for Howard Johnson's.