The Ghostbuster production process started in October 1983 and filming wrapped in 1984. While the ghostbusting trio establish their phenomenally successful business in New York, actual filming took place between the cities of New York and Los Angeles.
In New York, the cast and crew filmed at several iconic locations including Central Park, Columbus Circle, and the Lincoln Centre. Other iconic locations that were featured in the film include the Manhattan Bridge, Madison Avenue, Times Square, The Rockefeller Center, and the East River. The team spent four weeks shooting in the Big Apple before moving production to Los Angeles for another 9 weeks.
The production team also filmed some of the scenes at Stages 12, 15, 16, and 18 within the Warner Brothers Burbank Studios. Lenox Hill, Manhattan is also listed as one of the filming locations.
Without further ado, here are some of the best scenes in Ghostbusters (spoilers ahead) and details about where they were filmed in real life.
In a clever bid to market the film during its 1984 theatrical release, Reitman ran a commercial featuring the Ghostbusters hotline number 555-2368. People who called heard a message Aykroyd and Murray pre-recorded saying they were busy fighting ghosts. The number reportedly received upwards of 1,000 calls daily, but sadly, it’s no longer operational.
The first supernatural occurrence scene in Ghostbusters
New York Public Library
The movie opens with the sun shining brightly on the recognizable façade of the New York Public. We see some people lounging on the building’s front steps which are flanked by the sight of the familiar stone lions.
A few scenes later, Stantz tells Venkman that 10 people witnessed a free-roaming, full-torso apparition at the main branch of the New York Public Library. He explains that the vaporous monster “...blew books from shelves at twenty feet away. Scared the socks off some poor librarian.”
The New York Public Library provided the setting for the external shots seen at the start of the film. Located at 5th Avenue, the location is a popular filming location seen in other productions like “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “Spider-Man. For the haunted stacks and library basement scenes, the team set up shop at the Los Angeles Central Library located at 630 West 5th Street.
The public library system comprises 53 locations which collectively house an estimated 53 million items. It’s the world’s fourth-largest and United States’ second-largest public library, right after the Library of Congress.
Get to the Ghostbusters location via the BM2, QM32, BM5, or Q32 bus. Subway M, F, 4, 7, 7X, and B will also get you there.
Venkman and Stantzs talk about venturing into the ghostbusting business scene in Ghostbusters
Low Memorial Library, Manhattan
When Venkman and Stantz get booted from Columbia University, where they work at the fictional Department of Parapsychology, they discuss setting up a paranormal fighting business.
Venkman takes their termination rather positively saying that Einstein did his best work while holding a day job as a patent clerk. Stantz points out that the University gave them money and facilities, both of which they need to produce anything to progress in their work.
That’s when Venkman delivers the relatable line, everything in life happens for a reason. “Call it fate, call it luck, Karma, whatever. I think we were destined to get kicked out of there. New York, NY, USA” Stantz asks for what purpose did they get the boot, and Venkman responds with conviction that they are meant to go into business for themselves.
The duo conceived the plan at the University of Columbia’s Low Memorial Library which is found at the Upper Quadrangle. To be precise, the Low is north of College Walk in Morningside Heights, Manhattan.
The area between West 120th, Broadway West 114th, and Amsterdam Avenue gas also had its cameo in productions like the “Spider-Man” films. Hop onto the Line 1 subway at Christopher St-Sheridan Sq, and from 116 St-Columbia University, the Ghostbusters location is four miles away.
Dana experiences paranormal activity in her apartment scene in Ghostbuster
55 Central Park West
At home unpacking her groceries, Dana witnesses a carton of eggs behaving peculiarly. The top of the carton opens, and one by one, the eggs erupt before spilling onto the counter.
The spilled eggs start sizzling and frying on the Formica surface. Her fridge doors also start opening while a frenetic chanting comes from the cooling device. Mustering the courage to open the fridge door, she finds nothing out of the ordinary except for spilled condiments.
The strange occurrence compels her to seek help from the experts. While explaining it to Spengler at their office, she says, “I think something in my refrigerator is trying to get me.
The Ghostbusters filming location is at 65th Street. Referenced in the movie as The Shandor, the studio’s art department added a couple of upper stories to the apartment building for cinematic effect.
Schwartz & Gross constructed the 19-floor cooperative in 1929. While it doesn’t have an official name, since the film’s release, most people refer to it as The Shandor Building, The Ghostbusters Building, Spook Central, or The Shandor Apartments. The Hudson train, BXM2 bus, or 1 subway will get you to the housing cooperative.
The trio settles on a firehouse as their headquarters scene in Ghostbuster
Firehouse, Hook & Ladder Company 8, New York
Once the trio has the funds to set up their business, they enlist the services of a real estate agent to help them find a suitable premise for their startup. They go on a tour of a four-story fire station with Engine Company #93 printed on the garage doors.
The real estate agent asks what they intend to call the business Stanz responds, “Ghostbusters.” She says, “Oh, well, this place is perfect for it.”
The dinky location seen in the film is an operational New York Fire Department located at 14 North Moore Street near the Tribeca area. The movie is credited for popularizing the building’s exterior. In downtown Los Angeles, you’ll find Fire station No.23 at 225 East Fifth Street. That’s where the production team filmed the interior scenes.
The filmmakers chose the decommissioned LA building for its accessibility and settled for the New York location for its aesthetics. The Ghostbusters filming location appears in other productions like “Flatliners'' and “Big Trouble in Little China.”
For a photo op at the Ghostbusters filming location, hop on bus M55, M20, or BXM18. The Path train or subway 1, E, or C can also get you to the fire station.
The trio vanquishes their first apparition scene in Ghostbusters
Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles
The trio busted their first apparition at the fictitious Sedgewick Hotel. After successfully vanquishing the onion-headed vapor, they walk out to a waiting mob of reporters and several photographers snapping photos of the Ectomobile.
The reporters start asking them a barrage of questions, and one asks if they have proof that what they saw inside the establishment was real. Stantz responds, “Proof? Well, the manager of the Sedgewick just paid us five big ones to get something out of there. Is that real enough for you?”
The Millennium Biltmore Hotel found at 506 South Grand Avenue stood in for the Sedgewick Hotel. It’s an equally popular filming location in Los Angeles and has hosted other productions like “Speed,” Beverly Hills Cop,” and “The Bodyguard.”
To recreate the Ghostbusters scene, you can book a stay at the beaux-arts-inspired hotel. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Their amenities include a club lounge, a full-service spa, and a Roman-style pool.
Bus 600, 14/37, 4, or 16/17 can get you to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The B Line (Red) subway will also get you to the historic hotel.
The ghostbusting trio gets a loan scene in Ghostbuster
489 Fifth Avenue, New York
Once the trio decides to open up a ghostbusting outfit, they get a loan from the Manhattan City Bank. It’s all thanks to Stantz, who takes out three mortgages on the house his parents left him, but after walking out of the financial institution, he isn’t too sure about the decision.
Spengler is also unsure about the nineteen percent interest, pointing out that the payments will set them back by $75,000 in five years. Venkman has a positive stance and tells the two, “we are on the threshold of establishing the indispensable defense science of the next decade…The franchise rights alone will make us wealthy beyond your wildest dreams.”
You’ll find the Ghostbusters location at East 42nd Street, opposite the New York Public Library. The Emporis Building dates back to 1971, and it currently houses several businesses. You can reach the Empire State Building and Times Square from the location.
Buses BM2, QM32, M42, or M55 will get you to the Emporis Building. Alternatively, make your way to the location via subway M, D, or 4 of the Hudson train.
Anyone who is set on embarking on a Ghostbusters filming locations tour has more than enough references to come up with a solid itinerary. While at it, also consider visiting some of these other locations.
The Tavern on Green located in Central Park served as the setting for the restaurant scene where Louis is attacked by an apparition. Venkman tells Dana about the nefarious Zuul at the fountain found outside the Lincoln Centre.
At 240 Center Street, you’ll find the location where they filmed the scene when the ghostbusting team gets arrested for performing unlicensed waste control duties. Marshmallow Man stepped on the Holy Trinity Church found at 55 Central Park West.
Last, but not least, Camp Wokanda is referenced in the film when Stantz talks about roasting marshmallows. The camping grounds are located in Illinois at1125 W Lake Avenue.