Today, thousands of people will go to theaters nationwide to see the newest adaptation of Ishiro Honda’s iconic 1954 science-fiction movie Godzilla. This is the 30th original film featuring the iconic “King of The Monsters,” but only his second American adaptation. The first attempt by an American studio to re-introduce Godzilla was in 1998 in a film so bad, that in later adaptations (all Japanese) the monster was written as an impostor, who was quickly destroyed by the “real” Godzilla in 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars. In celebration of the newest (and most likely better) American version of the iconic monster, we go back to the 90’s and look at the film locations for the film that gave us Puff Daddy ripping off Led Zepplin: Ronald Emmerich’s Godzilla.
Almost twenty five minutes into the movie, Zilla (who we will call out of respect for the original creators), a lizard from French Polynesia, descends onto NYC. His rampage begins in lower Manhattan, terrorizing the locals and businesses of the former Fulton Fish Market. Until 2005, the Fulton Fish Market was one of NYC’s first open air fish wholesale markets. Its early history has many links to organized crime, with the U.S Attorney’s office having to send men to regulate and limit the influence of crime syndicates. Now the city’s Business Integrity Commission is in charge of keeping organized crime away from the new Market in the Bronx.
The new space in the Bronx is more affordable rent-wise, has better climate control and more space. Every year it is estimated that the Fulton Fish Market ships off over 200,000,000 pounds of fish. Last year, we joined the efforts to landmark the Old Fulton Fish Market, an on-going campaign.
Zilla’s next bit of rampaging takes place during a press conference outside the Federal Hall National Memorial, by Mayor Ebert. Built in the 1700s and demolished in 1812, the Federal Hall was the first capitol building of The United States of America. It is also the building where the Bill of Rights was introduced and where George Washington took the first oath of presidency. In 1812, it was rebuilt to serve as The United States Custom House, later a sub-Treasury building and now it is open to the public as a national landmark.
The Mayor and his aide Gene, are suppose to represent famous Chicago film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Ebert, is noted as outright hating this film proclaiming that “one must carefully repress intelligent thought while watching such a film.”
Do not worry fans of Hank Azaria, he does not die in this scene at Grand Central Terminal. The gag here is when Frank’s character Victor tries to capture Zilla on camera, the monster almost crushes him with his gigantic foot. Luckily, for Victor he is placed right between Zilla’s large toes. While this pales in comparison to Buster Keaton, at least they tried at something shocking here (not really). Zilla’s almost- murder of Police Chief Wiggum happens right outside Grand Central.
Last year we covered a lot about Grand Central Station in celebration of its centennial. We revealed its top 10 secrets, located the lost eagles of the original Grand Central and even took a visit to the tennis courts that are in Grand Central.
The military has set a trap for Zilla. To lure the monster out, they have placed tons of fish piled together outside of the Flatiron Building. This is the first time we actually see the monster in full, and we will try not to show you too much, because it is already bringing back memories of time wasted thinking this would be any good. In the first of many blunders, the military opens firs at Zilla, firing missles that for some reason miss their mark completely and destroy a NYC landmark. The first is the Flatiron Building, where the crazed Nutella bar is currently being stationed and where the Whitney recreated Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks last summer.
To learn about some of the buildings history and the locations for a much better movie, see the film locations for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man
The famous Chrysler Building is the second NYC landmark to be destroyed by missiles that miss Zilla by a mile. We think that director Roland Emmerich has a serious issue with NYC. This is the second time on film that Emmerich has shown massive destruction occurring in the city. The first time was 1994’s Independence Day and would later in 2009 with 2012. With the rumored sequel to Independence Day releasing 2016 (please God no!) we can expect more destruction to occur in our beloved city. Maybe he will destroy parts of Brooklyn.
You just have to love those 90’s computer graphics. Once again the military decides to lure out Zilla by just repeating the previous plan, only this time instead of the Financial District, they try to execute it in Central Park. Of course, Zilla does not fall for it, because apparently in, this film, the giant reptile is more intelligent than the military and the mayor of NYC. The big pile of fish is put in the middle of Sheep Meadow, a 15-acre section of Central Park that has been used frequently as a place for political demonstrations. It should be noted that sheep actually did grace the meadow until the mid 1930s.
Director Roland Emmerich transformed Madison Square Garden “The Worlds Most Famous Arena” into a nest of nine feet tall lizards, who are born pregnant. You can say this is the worst thing that can happen to the Garden, but thinking back to this past season of Knicks Basketball, this is not so bad.
The list of legendary athletes, performers and musicians who have set foot in the Garden would take forever to write down. The Garden has moved three times since opening in the late 1800s, settling on top of Penn Station and being the home of the New York Rangers and, of course, The New York Knickerbockers.
To see how MSG has changed through the years, check out some of our Vintage Photos of MSG’S Many Lives.
With all of it’s offspring dead, Zilla goes after our three heores in what is a blatant ripoff of Jurrasic Park’s T-Rex chase scene. In pursuit, the monster stomps all over the Brooklyn Bridge, causing it to get caught in the suspension cables. The military, finally hitting something other than a landmark, nails Zilla with missiles from two fighter jets. Zilla dies, Matthew Broderick gets the girl and we are sure everyone left the theater wondering why they wasted their money on this crap.
For more information on the Bridge itself, we have a post detailing the Bridge’s opening day, rumors of it’s collapse on it’sopening week and information on a nuclear bomb shelter inside of the Bridge.
All film stills courtesy of Sony Pictures
To know how painful this was for him to watch, contact the author @TatteredFedora