New York Film Locations

 





Record Cover Locations

In association with PopSpots.com, otsoNY showcases iconic album covers that have been transposed onto modern-day photographs detailing the actual location where the picture was taken. Featured artists include Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Billy Joel and many more from the 1960s and 1970s.

Title: After the Gold Rush
Artist: Neil Young
Published: Early 1970s
Location: Greenwich Village, NYC

The photo was taken by photographer Joel Bernstein, most likely sometime in early 1970, as the album came out in August of that year. In the book: Shakey: Neil Young's Biography, author Jimmy McDonough wrote that Bernstein, 18-years-old at the time, was "shocked" that Neil had chosen that photo for the cover. Bernstein described it as an "accidental shot" of Neil walking through Greenwich Village (during an outdoor photo session) and he even "solarized the print in order to hide its soft focus." The album's art direction and design were done by famous art director Gary Burden. The building to the left was the side wall of the NYU Law School (Vanderbilt Hall). The actual location where Neil was walking, though it could have been in the depicted circle, was probably mid-block, but the entire fence and small brick base has since been taken down sometime between 1981 and 1987 when an underground law library was put in under the street and four windows on the law school's side were replaced with one large central window.

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Title: Highway 61 Revisited
Artist: Bob Dylan
Published: August 1965
Location: 4 Gramercy Park West, NYC

The album was voted as one of the top 10 rock albums of all time by numerous publications, including Rolling Stone magazine. It includes "Like a Rolling Stone". Unlike "Another Side of Bob Dylan", the cover of which was a close-cropped photo with not a lot of background information, "Highway 61" shows Dylan sitting down with a person standing behind him dangling a camera, and in the background, there are some architectural elements, like pilasters. The picture was taken by photographer, Daniel Kramer and is quoted as saying that he took the shot outside of an apartment that Dylan was sharing with his manager, Albert Grossman "in Gramercy Park." He added that he took the photo out on the front steps. Dylan had gone in and put on a motorcycle t-shirt and the photographer positioned Dylan's friend Bob Neuwirth with a camera, behind him, and took two frames. Located about a half mile north and east of the Village, Gramercy Park is a collection of beautiful residences, some townhouses and some large apartment buildings surrounding a private park. Number 4 Gramercy Park West is a 4-story apartment building which was built in 1846 by the famed architect Alexander Jackson Davis.

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Title: I Want You
Artist: Bob Dylan
Published: June 1966
Location: Jacob Street, NYC

Jacob Street was where this photograph was taken in lower Manhattan next to the Brooklyn Bridge, probably in early 1966. The street and all of the buildings on it were all razed within the next few years to make space for a large residential community called Southbridge Towers. The Jacob Street area was well known for the first half of the century as a center for leather manufacturing, wholesaling and warehousing. In fact, behind the doors you can see in the base of the Brooklyn Bridge were storerooms for finished leather ready for sale or export. The background of this shot comes more in focus than the "Post" shot. The street has a definite angle bend to it unlike pretty much about 95% of Manhattan streets. The street is pre-grid-system-thin, like those in the Village and old parts of the Financial District. And the street is made from cobblestone. The street comes to an end at a "T" on a block with a warehouse. Streets coming to "T's" are also rather limited in Manhattan, even in the older sections downtown. On the left side of the photo, the three or four reddish buildings look residential because they have fire escapes. In general, the street seems abandonded without much life, which would indicate an industrial area of town, empty on weekends, or a place like the Bowery.

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Title: An Innocent Man
Artist: Billy Joel
Published: 1983
Location: 142 Mercer Street, NYC

The site of the album cover photo location was 142 Mercer Street on the East side of Mercer Street, just north of the intersection of Mercer and Prince, in the Soho neighborhood of New York City. Soho today is a very fashionable section of town lined with cast-iron buildings, cobblestone streets, and boutiques and art galleries. The picture was taken by the photographer Gilles Larrain who lived in soho. The clue to finding this location was helped by the rock photographer Godlis who mentioned in his blog that a lot of New York City musicians were photographed either near their apartments, near the studio of the photographer, or near a recording studio. The steps upon which Billy Joel is sitting have a spectacular cast iron facade, and symmetrically balanced architectural features. The album "An Innocent Man" featured three Billboard Top 10 hit singles: "Tell Her About It" (No. 1), "Uptown Girl" (No. 3) and "An Innocent Man" (No. 10). Four other singles were released from the album: "The Longest Time" (No. 14), "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (No. 27), "Keeping the Faith" (No. 18) and "This Night" (US B-Side of "Leave a Tender Moment Alone").

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Title: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Artist: Bob Dylan
Published: 1963
Location: Jones Street at West 4th Street, NYC

The cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" was taken by photographer Don Hunstein in the early 60s. It was on the north end of Jones Street, only a block from Cornelia Street, and showed Bob Dylan and Suzie walking down the street. "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" was the second studio album by the American singer-songwriter and represented the beginning of Dylan's writing contemporary words to traditional melodies. Eleven of the thirteen songs on the album are Dylan's original compositions. The album opens with "Blowin' in the Wind", which became an anthem of the 1960s, and an international hit for folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary soon after the release of Freewheelin'. The album featured several other songs which came to be regarded as among Dylan's best compositions and classics of the 1960s folk scene: "Girl from the North Country", "Masters of War", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right". There is a scene from the film, "Vanilla Sky" which recreates the album cover image with Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz walking down a street with a vintage Volkswagen van in the background.

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Title: West Side Story Original Soundtrack
Artist: Various
Published: 1959
Location: West 56th Street, NYC

The album cover for the original Broadway cast album of "West Side Story", a photo of Tony (Larry Kent) playfully chasing after his girlfriend Maria (Carol Lawrence), was photographed in front of 418 West 56th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenue, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City in 1957.The photographer of the cover, Leo Friedman, a legendary photographer of Broadway musicals, especially during the 50's and 60's, passed away in December of 2011. The New York Times said this photo was "his signature image of a career taking pictures of actors in action." West Side Story opened on Broadway on 26th September 1957. It was scripted by Arthur Laurents, whilst the music and lyrics were done by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The story is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood (in the early 1960s much of the neighborhood would be cleared in an urban renewal project for the Lincoln Center, changing the neighborhood's character). The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

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