Shot On Site: Anatomy of a Title Shot (partially – wanna help?) [UPDATE]

This 0ne has been awhile coming, but then it’s been one back-breaker of a shot to deconstruct. But I’ll admit, I’ve hit a wall, and short of wandering the streets of New York, some help might be handy. And seeing as some of you lucky ducks have Blu-ray players, and might glean a better look at a street sign or something, and it’s Thanksgiving long weekend for some of you, perhaps you guys would like to come play with me with this installment of Shot On Site.

Ghostbusters 2! Picking up where a previous SOS left off, with Dana plucking little Oscar from his stroller shortly after his near-miss with a bus, the Ghostbusters 2 logo swirls into view and then is superimposed over the original Ghostbusters logo on the door of the Ecto-1. The dirty, worn-out car is sirening it’s way down;

All Photos Can Be Enlarged By Clicking On Them!

Columbus Avenue at W 89th Steet!
PDVD_058 copy
This one was kind of a fluke find, as it’s only a block away from a later shot – randomly backing up in Google maps, I spotted distinct glass covered sunroom on the building, and a quick look down 89th confirms the building you can see in the background of the shot.

What’s important is that it looks like a variety of shots of the Ecto speeding through town were taken, as this one string of shots has the car moving from Columbus, to around town, back to Columbus, off to somewhere nearby… You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

The Ecto is seen roaring past the St. Moritz Hotel! This would have otherwise been a nearly impossible shot to figure out, if it wasn’t for the big St. Moritz plaque on the wall – as you can see in the modern picture, the old doors have been replaced, requiring a one foot space between the edge of the doors and the wall (the old doors ran the length of the inset doorway originally), and the display case windows have been removed, and a new window set into the space between them. The stone facade is of the same design of squares and rectangles, but the look smaller now, but it’s hard to say if it’s something with the camera’s lens or if they all got replaced, only not quite the same, when the wall and doors were upgraded.

PDVD_059 copy

It doesn’t matter though – there’s only one St. Moritz, it’s where it’s always been, and as a little plus, the horse and carriage is a bit of a giveaway, as the Moritz looks out over Central Park, and is situated at a Park entrance – exactly where you’d find a carriage waiting for a customer.

Trouble Shot #1

Somewhere in New York, the Ecto pulls around a corner an onto a one-way street. There are plenty of good clues, but they are either not clear enough, not helpful enough, or helpful but don’t match up with anything today.

For example, that first building, which is apparently “2” (you can see it on the windows, but “2” where?), has a very distinct, 60s-70s facade, but those kinds of things get ripped down and replaced quite often – the inner building is retained, and the dated facade replaced. Around the corner isn’t much better – there a Something Something Bank and “Central Park Plaza”, which doesn’t exist today as far as the Internet is concerned. The road, besides being one way is heavily curved, as it looks from the camera’s point of view like a dead-end. There’s also a drug store (but in 25 years would it still be there even if I could figure out which company?) and a clock (which would quite possibly still be there, for reference and confirmation)…

… but where the hell is that street? I’m not familiar enough with New York, though it’s uptown, likely near the Park somewhere (a lot of the filming was done in and around that area, and it’s unlikely they’d move around too much if they had to, for various reasons of convenience.
PDVD_057 copy
Anybody have any ideas? Contact me.

Time for Hollywood magic!

After the last shot, the Ecto is on a street, about to screech around the corner. That street is Columbus Ave and that street is West 88th… a block away from the first shot.

This was the very first shot I worked out, entirely from the cleaner’s on the corner. “Maison” was pretty clear as was “Cleaners”, so Go-go-Google and I had a winner. The Columbus Ave storefront has changed a lot (yes, they’re still there after 25 years), with an awning covering the old sign, however you can still see the exact same sign from the movie, just around the corner.

The Ecto then whips around the corner, making it hard to see much of anything, but once the camera stops swinging around, and it’s just watching the Ecto drive away, you can see someone’s building with the address spelled out in custom, cast-iron letters, instead of numbers – “Sixty-Six” West 88th Street.

PDVD_062 copy

Trouble Shot #2

Here’s the downside of Hollywood magic; Picking up the departing Ecto, as it pulls up to the house where Ray and Winston are to perform, it’s not West 88th, at least not the same block as the last shot.

Again there are some excellent visual cues – the banded instead of barred fire escape, the coloured doors, the flat style of the buildings (unlike the last shot, where all the brownstones had more features to them.) There’s also a parkade on that street (you can see the sign), a clear shot of the four-story building on the corner (which is NOT the cleaners), and at a guess it looks like the buildings end after awhile, meaning the street is looking West, but again, West to the river? West to the Park? And that could still be entirely wrong and it’s looking East towards the water there. Aaargh!

As Ray and Winston leave the party, we even see a blurry building number, which sets it as a double-digit address. But is it 10? 14? 20? What street? And East or West? At least we can be sure they’re on the same street they first pulled up on, as the banded fire escapes can be seen as they exit the house.

PDVD_066 copy

Despite the two remaining mysteries, I hope this Shot On Site still provided you with some cool new trivia about the movie – and better still, perhaps the mysteries will prove as vexing a diversion for you as they are for me! Sooner or later, they’ll be solved!

That’s it for now! Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating it, and have a great weekend to the rest of you!


Well, that’s one location down! I knew this would be the first to go, as anybody with a fresh set of eyes or who was familiar with New York would figure it out, no problem.

Jerry Brace, using an HDTV copy of Ghostbusters 2 was able to confirm that the street sign in the long shot of the Ecto turning the corner past that mod building, was West 58th, and with Google maps he found out the car was turning off of Columbus circle, headed South on Broadway. My fear was right – the mod building, at 2 Columbus Circle (there’s that “2”) been overhauled. The original Edward Durell Stone designed building now sports a new exterior, chosen by the new tenants, The Museum of Arts and Design, and carried out sometime before the museum moved in in 2008. Apparently one vicious critic of the original building, nicknamed it The Lollipop Building, for those odd stems you can see in the shot as the Ecto roars past. There’s no linking the new building to the old, visually, so thank goodness for the street sign.

To nail the location down, Jerry also found that both the liquor store and the drug store (a Duane Reade) are still there!

A New Yorker online in 2005 states:

“MILDLY FUN TRIVIA: You also see 2 Columbus Circle in GB2… the old Ecto-1 drives by during the theme song at the beginning. (You have to sort of know what you’re looking at. For obsessives only. It’s right before it turns a corner and clunks down the street toward a Duane Reade. Yes, even back then Duane Reades were everywhere.)”

Nice work, Jerry!

PDVD_057b copy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.