Filmed Here: ‘Men in Black’

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  04.02.09 | 12:15 PM ET

I celebrated the spring weather this week by heading out to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, aka “the Central Park of Queens,” for a wander in the sun. I didn’t know much about the park, beyond the name of the nearest subway station—so imagine my surprise when I walked through the gates and saw ... an extra-terrestrial spacecraft?

More precisely: what I saw was the observation tower of the now-abandoned New York State Pavilion (a relic from the World’s Fair), which served as a murderous alien’s would-be get-away vehicle in the climactic scene of the 1997 Will Smith flick, Men in Black. I’d seen the movie before, of course, but had never known where that final battle was set. Coming across the “space ship,” and the nearby Unisphere (which also plays a role in the battle), got me thinking about action movies and the major landmarks they use as props.

I love to travel vicariously through movies, and spying new-to-me spots or neighborhoods on film is part of the fun. But in the action/disaster genre, all too often, it’s only the biggest-name attractions that get any screen time. Think back: “Independence Day” had the Statue of Liberty, collapsed and half-submerged in the Hudson; Fifth Avenue was buried underneath a deadly wall of ice and snow in “The Day After Tomorrow”; and, most famously, King Kong clambered up to the top of the Empire State Building in both the original and the most recent versions of the story. Say what you will about “Men in Black,” but at least they took some initiative in setting the final action outside of Midtown, right?

Got a favorite landmark that shows up in an action blockbuster, in New York City or elsewhere?

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

3 Comments for Filmed Here: ‘Men in Black’

Sophia Dembling 04.02.09 | 1:27 PM ET

I love the Unisphere. And actually went to that World’s Fair. Yup, older than dirt…

It’s not a movie (yet), but I look at the skyline from the opening credits of the TV show Dallas every day. The Hyatt Regency tower, with the ball on top, is so ridiculous and 1980s (it was built in 1978) but it’s a beloved icon.

daniel 04.02.09 | 9:33 PM ET

Chicago. The Dark Knight. No other explanation needed.

Ling 04.04.09 | 9:52 AM ET

One of these some nut is gonna climb up there to see if they’re UFO’s. It’s possible, ain’t it? :)

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