In the mid 80’s Martin Scorsese was not in a good place career-wise. You would think that after making films like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The King of Comedy, studios would just let the man make the movies he wants to make, without any hassle. However, Paramount Pictures decided to stop production on Scorsese’s dream project The Last Temptation of Christ, due to budgetary concerns and pressure from religious groups. The entire ordeal frustrated Scorsese; who after rejecting many scripts, decided to film a black comedy that takes place almost entirely in Soho. In our second to last installment of the #MonthofScorsese film locations series, we present the NYC film locations for 1985’s After Hours.
1. Metropolitan Life North Building
Paul Hackett is a word processor whose job bores the hell out of him. In the film’s opening sequence, we see him training a new employee; someone who says that the job is only temporary. Paul gives him a look of ambivalence, as if he has heard that same line time and time again. One thing you will notice if you look closely is all the closed off, or locked in imagery. It is evidenced in this shot of Paul leaving after another day of work. The two men pull together these beautifully large gates which close off Paul from his place of work.
If you would like to see this wonderfully designed gates for yourself, then head over to Madison Avenue and 24th Street, which will lead you to the Metropolitan Life North Building. The skyscraper was designed in the 1920s, in an Art Deco style by architect Harvey Wiley Corbett and Everett Waid. It is a 30 story building, originally designed to have 70 more floors, but the Stock Market crash of 1929 got in the way.
It was not until 1950 when the building was finally complete. In the mid 90s it went through a $300 million restoration and served as the Met Life records warehouse. Currently, the skyscraper is owned by the Sapir Organization.
For more insight into the history of the building, and for concept drawings of what the originally would have looked like if built according to plan, check out this post from The NYC That Never Was.
2. Kiki’s Apartment
Paul meets a girl in a diner; Marcy offers to sell him one of her friend’s plaster bagel shaped paperweights; Paul, trying to win her over obviously agrees. She tells him the number to her friends studio, when Paul gets home, he calls immediately (three day rule buddy!) Kiki, the person who makes plaster bagel art answers and gives Paul the address. In what is the first of many unfortunate events to happen to Paul, his only $20 goes flying out the cab’s window, when he finally tells the driver what happens, it is too late.
The driver, rightfully angry that Paul did not pay up the $6.50 (good luck getting a cab ride for that cheap now) speeds off. He leaves Paul at his destination. If this looks familiar to those who have ventured through SOHO, you probably know where this is. For those who are still clueless, the home of the S&M loving, punk rock plaster artist can be found on the intersection between Howard and Crosby Street.