The trailer for the movie “Barry” about President Barack Obama’s formative college days in the 1980s in New York City has been released. Barry, starring Devon Terrell, will premiere on Netflix on December 16th and we’re excited for the film locations, some of which you can already see in the trailer. We won’t get to see Obama’s Park Slope townhouse, which he didn’t move into until 1984, but we will see his life at Columbia University and his apartment on 94th Street.
1. Eldorado Apartments and Central Park
In the trailer, we see Barack sit in Central Park, just below the Eldorado Apartments on Central Park West and kick back with headphones. The contrast of course, is striking and deliberate between the eye in the sky luxury apartments in the Eldorado, and the publicly accessible spaces of Central Park.
2. Graffitied NYC Subway System
The New York City subway system was much grittier in the 1970s and ’80s, but this experience has happened to us all – break dancers in your face in the subway cars.
3. Gritty East Village
Other parts of New York City have obviously been used as a stand in for this intersection, purportedly 14th Street and 1st Avenue now a very bustling, central part of the East Village. The street signs used show the yellow color that was used for signs in Manhattan and Staten Island in the 1970s, other boroughs used different colors.
4. Columbia University
Obama transferred to Columbia University from Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1981. He mentions in the trailer that he is the “only Black person in 4 of my 5 classes” and in the scene above, he’s stopped for ID by the campus security guard. It’s hard to tell right now, but the buildings here don’t look like actual Columbia University buildings so far – perhaps the scenes were filmed elsewhere.
5. Obama’s Apartment on 94th Street
The trailer shows Obama’s mother, played by Ashley Judd, visiting his apartment. Obama describes the apartment on 94th Street which he moved into in 1982 in his autobiography Dreams from My Father,
A few months after my 21st birthday, a stranger called to give me the news. I was living in New York, at the time, at Ninety-fourth Street between Second and First, part of that unnamed, shifting border between East Harlem and the rest of Manhattan. It was an uninviting block, treeless and barren, lined with soot-colored walk-ups that cast heavy shadows for the rest of the day. The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle
He says he did not receive many visitors in this apartment, “busy with work and unrealized plans.”
6. Morningside Park Basketball Court
You can recognize Morningside Park from its formations of Manhattan schist, as seen in this scene from the trailer where Obama shoots hoops. Though he arrived two decades after the student protests against a gym in the park which would have had a lower level door for the poorer, community residents and a grand entrance for students, it does seem like a cause Obama would have gotten behind.
Next, check out the Top 15 Secrets of Columbia University. See what Obama’s townhouse looked like in Park Slope and check out our photos of Obama arriving on Air Force One at JFK Airport.