11. West Side Story


West Side Story was created by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim in 1957. The original Broadway production was well received and won multiple Tonys. In 1961, West Side Story was made into a movie starring Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Richard Beymer. The movie was famously filmed in New York City’s San Juan Hill, shortly before its demolition. San Juan Hill, located in the present day area of Lincoln Center, was home to the majority of the black population in city at the end of the 19th century, who had migrated north from Five Points to the Tenderloin and up through Hell’s Kitchen.

In the 1940s, the neighborhood was deemed by NYCHA to be the worst slum in all of New York City, despite its reputation as the city’s destination for jazz. With the financial and political backing of John D. Rockefeller, the neighborhood was demolished and replaced by Lincoln Center.