7. Bay Ridge
Bay Ridge, a neighborhood in southwest Brooklyn near the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, may not be the location film enthusiasts’ minds go to when envisioning Brooklyn’s top film destinations. However, a handful of the most famous movies ever created have scenes that occur in the neighborhood, known for its “old-school Italian” feel even as it has diversified over the last few decades. According to Donohue, The French Connection, which features a car crash in Bay Ridge, embodies an “urban life is becoming a nightmare” feel. The semi-true film from 1971 tells of the New York narcotics officers who busted a drug-smuggling ring. Gene Hackman stars as officer Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle who obsesses over French heroin smuggling. Director William Friedkin supposedly had no permits for his stunt drivers, though some chase scenes looked highly choreographed due to camerawork and Friedkin’s persuasive abilities to get off-duty policemen to stop people from entering the scene. The iconic chase occurs beneath the train platform from Stillwell Avenue/86th Street to the 62nd Street Station, which is also where Popeye shoots an assassin while fleeing. The French Connection was also filmed in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Cobble Hill, and Williamsburg.
Goodfellas is another film shot partly in Bay Ridge, as well as in Coney Island, Park Slope, and Bensonhurst. In the 1990 film, Tommy (Joe Pesci) is destined to be killed by the mob in Bay Ridge at Five 80th Street near Shore Road. Gangster Henry Hill, played in the film by Ray Liotta, was born in Brownsville and worked with the Lucchese mob for 25 years. Henry marries Karen in the film in Bath Beach at the Oriental Manor. The spot where Tommy is set to be killed is just a block away from the home of Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, located at 221 79th Street. In the film, John Travolta plays a tough Bay Ridge man who spends his days at a disco called 2001 Odyssey, located at 802 64th Street. The Manero family home still stands 45 years later, as does nearby John J. Carty Park and Lenny’s Pizza in nearby Bensonhurst. Tony’s paint shop also still exists as Pearson Paint & Hardware, located at 7305 5th Avenue.