On the Set of New York (otsoNY) is a website purely dedicated to showcasing movies that have been filmed in the state of New York. otsoNY is a non-profit making website. If any items featured on the website are considered to be copyright material, we apologise in advance. Please contact us and they will be removed immediately. The website has been set up for entertainment purposes only. This is not a business website. All images that are featured on the website are either owned by us or already in the public domain.
How it all began...
Work originally began on the website project in February 2009. Detailed street maps were assembled and the island of Manhattan was segregated into five sections; Lower Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan, Central Park, Upper East Side and Upper West Side. In June of the same year, a 10 day visit to New York produced 21 hours of video footage and over six thousand photographs. In the months that followed, the design and name of the website was chosen and content was added to the pages. The original menu navigation was thought to be too complex for a website that had limited content and so a single line of options was settled upon. In November 2009, On the Set of New York.com, also known as OTSONY was launched online.
With competition fierce, it quickly became obvious that if OTSONY wanted to be recognised by the popular search engines, then a great deal of work would need to be done and in the months that followed, more film titles were added as well as additional features such a picture gallery and chart detailing 40 of the most used locations. Gradually the visitor hit count increased and the domain name began appearing on many of the search engine front pages.
Reaching a milstone...
On the eve of the 500th film title being added to the website, another 10 day trip to New York was planned for June 2011, which resulted in over 23,000 photographs being taken and additional picture galleries added. In November, two years after the launch of OTSONY yet another milestone was reached with “The Possession of Joel Delaney” becoming the 600th film title to be added. In the months that followed, additional features were added such as a News section, which provided a useful way to give reference to forthcoming films, reviews, movie trailers and general announcements; a Book Review section for evaluating published New York film location books; a Home on Screen section detailing an array of fictional character’s homes; a list of the Greatest NYC Film Scenes from such classics as the 1955 Marilyn Monroe film, “The Seven Year Itch” to more recent films such as “Vanilla Sky” and the deserted Times Square sequence; a Studio 54 section showcasing the famous New York nightclub as it was in the late 1970s when celebrities would flock to the venue on West 54th Street and how it looks today; a Superhero section giving reference to America comic books with characters such as Peter Parker, alias the Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America and the Fantastic Four. And as the year came to an end, a top 10 chart of New York Christmas films was posted online.
In 2012 another milestone was reached with the posting of the 700th film title, “The Gumball Rally” was posted. In the following year, another two milestones were reached with the 800th film title, "The Hot Rock" and a short time afterwards, "Now You See Me" became the 900th film to be posted. In the space of 5 years, OTSONY has become the most successful online New York based film location website. It hosts more film titles than any other online source and it is predicted that 2014 will be the year that the 1000th film is posted.
There has been much involvement from third-parties and the editor of OTSONY would like to personally thank everyone who has contributed information and photographs: Bjoern (Mitt New York), Pookie Adama, Justin Hunt, Terry Van Dyne, Gary Gabrielle, Ben Saddington, Ivan Marcos, Edward Crimmins, Jeff Blakeslee, Mark Phillip, Owen (Big Dave311), Brian Mallott, Daniel Thorp, Dottie McGee, Marc Wallace, Ethan Robey, George Thurston, Paul Tatara, Brad Hohle, Lindsay Blake, James Taylor, Jennifer Von Holstein, Jill Seabrook, Lillian Jones, Mike (MovieShotsLA), Linda Polverari, Martin Matsil, Mitch Merberg, Nadine Silva, Mark Nessie, Larry Intenzo, Patricia Antista, Laura Marchou, William James, Christopher Moloney and James Sanders.
Who is OTSONY?
After almost 5 years of anonymity, OTSONY’s creator and editor Mark Rogers steps out from behind the shadows of privacy. “The website was designed to give the illusion that it was run by a team of researchers and contributors, but in truth it’s just been me!”
“It might also surprise some people that I don’t actually live in New York City, and in fact, I administrate the non-profit website 3465 miles away in England. That’s not to say that I’ve never visited the greatest city in the world. In the summer of 2009 and again in 2011, I spent 10 days strolling through the many districts that make up Manhattan. With not having any access to filming street permits from the past and present, pinpointing locations has always been a long and drawn out ‘manual’ process, and there have been some that have taken a very long time to find. But it is normally worth it in the end, especially when you actually step inside a café, restaurant or hotel lobby that has been featured in a film and instantly recognise the layout and where the actors once stood. Café Bravo on Beaver Street in lower Manhattan was featured in the ingenious heist film, ‘Inside Man’ starring Jodie Foster, and for a while afterwards had a signed photograph of the actress up on the wall. Anyone who is a fan of the romantic comedy ‘When Harry Met Sally’ has visited Katz’s Delicatessen at the corner of East Houston Street and Ludlow Street, just so that they can sit at the same table as the actors had done all those years ago, and for any fan of the TV sitcom Friends, it is essential to have a picture taken outside the apartment building in Greenwich Village. This is what makes New York City the exciting place that it is. Yes, of course there are the usual tourist attractions to visit, but nothing really compares to actual film locations that you’ve seen on the big and small screen. Even the not-so-famous locations are still worth visiting if you are planning a trip to the Big Apple.”
“When researching New York film locations, disappointments are part of the course. Some of them you will find weren’t actually in New York City and have instead been filmed in Canada or even LA. In fact, one scene in the remake to ‘Alfie’ was filmed on the streets of Manchester in England. Also, New York is a city that changes a lot, and you’ll often find that where there once stood a café or shop has since been completely demolished and replaced by an office block or restaurant. A perfect example would be the small clothes store ‘Love Saves the Day’, on the corner of 2nd and 7th. The store was featured in the 1985 film, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ and Up until January 2009, it offered vintage clothing and accessories, and of course the experience to walk on the same floorboards where Madonna had once played out her scenes. It has since been replaced by a Japanese take-away, which rumour has it, has now closed down.”
“Given the opportunity, I would like to publish all my findings in a book that would offer more than just mainstream films. It would be something that is forever in print, whereas the website content is always changing and will evidently come to an end one day.”
“My favourite film location is the apartment building used in the 1955 romantic comedy, ‘The Seven Year Itch’ starring Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps because I’m a fan of the late actress and I know for a fact having seen on-set photographs that she actually stood on the exterior steps leading up the front door and during the closing scene of the film is leaning out of the one of the front windows. Other than visiting the apartment building at 444 East 57th Street, where she lived for a short time with her playwright husband Arthur Miller, this is about as close as you can get to standing on her faded footsteps, and in many ways one of the lost New York film locations. When talking about ‘The Seven Year Itch’, most people will refer to the ‘white dress scene’ on Lexington Avenue and completely forget about the apartment building at 164 East 61st Street.”
“The website is now very close to reaching 1000 films, a figure I never thought would have been possible when I started this project in 2009. Back then, my main goal was to be mentioned on Wikipedia, which is still yet to be achieved!”
"Thanks to everyone who has visited otsoNY and sent me emails, photographs, found missing locations... it is always much appreciated."
- A - Z Films
- Films Coming Soon
- Top 100 NYC Films
- Greatest NYC Film Scenes
- Top 20 Actors
- Popular NYC Film Locations
Thank you for visiting otsoNY, a free service since 2009. We have lots of ideas to help increase the awareness of the website as well as development new features such a Virtual Tour Guide, a Film Location App for your mobile and a otsoNY Hardback Book, but none of this is possible without financial backing. Our overhead costs such as hosting, server space and support maintenance have also increased over the years and otsoNY is now at risk of shutting down without financial help. Any donations are much appreciated to keep otsoNY online.
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