35 years ago, director Walter Hill’s New York City-based cult classic The Warriors was released into theaters with little to no promotion backing it. The film is looked at today as a portrait of New York City in the late 70’s; a much gritter, darker, and more violent city then the city of Cronuts and Citi Bikes. When it opened however, the film was initally met with negative reviews from critics, and caused controversy when gang activity and vandalism reportedly took place near theaters showing the film.
In celebration of the cult classic’s 35th anniversary, here is a list of film locations used in the NYC gangster thriller.
10. The Coney Island – Stillwell Station
Coney Island-Stillwell Station
The Warriors, who control Coney Island in Brooklyn, have to travel all the way to Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, as every gang in the city will be meeting there. They take the D train on Coney Island-Stillwell station. The station, which serves as a transportation hub for the N,Q,B, and D is completely different from the one Swan and the rest of the gang get on to their faithful trip to the Bronx, becoming one of the most energy-efficient train stations in the country.
9. Riverside Park
The film’s most famous scene is when Cyrus, leader of NYC’s biggest gang “The Riffs”, stands tall at Riverside Park over an army of 100 separate gangs; all wearing their unique outfits and colors and declares that they unite and take over the city. The scene also has the films most quotable line, one Shaquille O’Neal used while winning championships with the Lakers. When Cyrus wants a rise from the crowd he raises his arms and repeats “Can you dig it?” three times, the last one elicits a thunderous roar from the masses below. If you want to see the place where the Saracens sat next to the Jones Street Boys; and where The Moonrunners were “right by the Van Cortland Rangers,” don’t head to the real Van Cortland Park because the actual scene was filmed in Riverside Park in Manhattan north of 96th Street.
8. Cypress Hills Cemetery
Photo via Wikimedia Commons by antdesmond
After Cyrus is gunned down and the Warriors are blamed for the murder of the gang leader (Spoilers!) Swan, Cowboy, Ajax and the rest of the Warriors hide out from not only the police who have raided the meeting, but from every gang in the city, as they are believed to be behind Cyrus’s assassination. In the film, this cemetery is supposed to be located on Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, but in actuality, the cemetery is located in the Cypress Hills part of Brooklyn.
7. 45th Road – Long Island City
In 1970s New York City, there are numerous gangs in each borough of the city, some gangs however, are more minor-league than others. “The Orphans,” who the Warriors run into after a rail fire, were not invited to the big meeting in the Bronx, for they are a small gang of 30 members no one has really heard of. Their turf in the film is in the Tremont section of the Bronx; the actual location of their confrontation with The Warriors takes place on 45th Road in Long Island City, Queens.
6. Soda Fountain Shop
It is hard to find an official Soda Fountain shop in New York City anymore. The kind of diners would mix the beverage right in front of you, with your choice of syrup and toppings [if you’re looking check out Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Forest Hills]. In the Warriors, Luther, the film’s main antagonist who is responsible for Cyrus’ assassination stops at one of these shops to make a phone call asking for information on The Warriors. The location of this Soda Fountain Shop is now a locksmith store is on First Avenue by 1st Street.
5. New Utrecht Station
After tossing a Molotov cocktail, the Warriors hightail it to the nearest train station. The station, which was called Bath Junction years ago, is now the only multi-line station that is fully above ground in NYC.
4. 72nd Street Station
The Warriors think they are home free, however, they run into the cops and must make a break from it. They get out on 96th Street, however, instead of cops the Warriors now have to deal with the films most iconic character’s “The Baseball Furies”. Wearing Yankee uniforms and face paint, the turf they control in the film is Riverside Park. It is not only their physical appearance that makes them look dangerous, they never speak, chasing The Warriors to the park in silence, it makes them all the more creepy. The film suggest that this takes places on 96th Street, however the actual location is the 72nd Street train station, across the street from the famed Gray’s Papaya.
3. Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station
Used for multiple scenes in the film, the abandoned subway platform was used to film events happening at two different locations in the film. The two abandoned subway platforms have distinctive looks, so it was not difficult for the production team to make it look different than the one The Warriors found themselves in when they were on the run from the cops.
2. Union Square Station
Swan is all alone when he makes it to the Union Square subway station. He is supposed to meet up with the rest of the gang there, but is left looking around with a skate riding gang member following him. The man on skates is a member of the “Punks,” another gang among the many who are after The Warriors. The station went through a complete renovation in the 90’s to make it easy for commuters to get around the station, quite different than the one which Swan treks through in search of his brethren.
1. Coney Island
After a grueling night of running and fighting, the surviving members of The Warriors make it back home to Coney Island. The home of The Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone and others, the amusement park and beach are a staple of New York City. The park was owned by the family of Carol Hill Albert since 1962; she sold the rights to Thor Equities in November 2006. It is in Coney Island where The Warriors finally face off against The Rouges, and where Luther delivers the famous “Warriors, come out to play” line, which has been referenced in music videos and is the line said before the introduction to The Golden State Warriors NBA basketball team.
Contact the author @TatteredFedora and let him know if you want to start a Moonrunners gang (peaceful one, of course).