New York Film Locations

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

Last Updated: July 2023

Roberta (Rosanna Arquette) is a housewife, bored with her life and feeling ignored by her hot tub-selling husband. The one thing that interests her is the excitement and romance she finds in following the relationship of Jim (Robert Joy) and Susan (Madonna), who communicate through their travels using the personal ads. Susan is having her own fun when she sees the ad to meet Jim in NYC. Unfortunately, Susan is unaware that the last man she was with is entangled with the mob. So when Roberta shows up to actually see her idol, she takes it upon herself to emulate her. After a bout of amnesia, she is mistaken for Susan and must survive with Susan, Jim, her husband, and the mob - scrambling for the truth. Until Jim's best friend comes to the rescue.

Bus Terminal, 4211 Broadway and West 178th Street, Hudson Heights.


Port Authority Bus Terminal, 625 8th Avenue and West 42nd Street, Manhattan.


George Washington Bridge, Hudson River, New York.


St Marks Place (btw 2nd and 3rd Avenues) Manhattan.


otsoNY Comments: The binocular viewers have since been removed from Battery Park.

Battery Park, Manhattan.

Battery Park

Battery Park is a 25-acre (10 hectare) public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of the New York City borough of Manhattan, facing New York Harbour. The Battery is named for the artillery battery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British in order to protect the settlements behind it. At the north end of the park is Pier A, formerly a fireboat station and Hope Garden, a memorial to AIDS victims. At the other end is Battery Gardens restaurant, next to the United States Coast Guard Battery Building. Along the waterfront, ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There is also a stop on the New York Water Taxi route btw the Statue of Liberty Ferry and Pier A.

To the northwest of the park lies Battery Park City, a planned community built on landfill in the 1970s and 80s, which includes Robert F. Wagner Park and the Battery Park City Promenade. Together with Hudson River Park, a system of greenspaces, bikeways and promenades now extend up the Hudson shoreline. A bikeway is being built through the park that will connect the Hudson River and East River parts of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. Across State Street to the northeast stands the old U.S. Customs House, now used as a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian and the district U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Peter Minuit Plaza abuts the southeast end of the park, directly in front of the South Ferry Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry.


St Marks Place and 3rd Avenue, Manhattan.


Love Saves the Day, 119 2nd Avenue and East 7th Street, Manhattan.

Love Saves the Day

Love Saves the Day, a veteran vintage shop in the East Village, closed in January 2009 because of an exponential increase in its rent payments. Located at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street, the store had been a community icon for almost 40 years. By 2011, the shop that used to house Love Saves the Day was turned onto a fast-food restaurant.

March 2015

On 26th March 2015, the entire block which included the shop was brought to the ground following a gas explosion. The explosion was caused by an illegal tap into a gas main. The explosion caused two deaths, injured at least 19 people, four critically, and the resulting fire completely destroyed three adjacent buildings at 119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue between East 7th Street and St. Mark's Place.

The three adjacent buildings at 119, 121, and 123 Second Avenue, on the northwest corner of East Seventh Street and Second Avenue, were completely reduced to rubble by the early morning of 27th March 2015. An adjacent building, 125 2nd Avenue, was severely damaged but remained erect. Residents of 144 apartments in 11 buildings were evacuated. Multiple residents and families in the impacted area lost their homes.

Four restaurants were completely destroyed, all located on the first floors in the collapsed buildings: the East Noodle ramen shop at 119 Second Avenue; Sushi Park, a Japanese restaurant at 121 Second Avenue; and two restaurants at 123 Second Avenue: Pommes Frites—a Belgian fries shop—and Sam's Deli. An adjacent storefront at 125 Second Avenue was badly damaged. A month later, many businesses in the neighbourhood were still recovering economically from the explosion, although some had remained closed more than a week after the explosion and six were destroyed. The Good Old Lower East Side, a nonprofit social organization in the neighborhood, organized fundraising and donation drives to help people affected by the explosion.

Two men in the Sushi Park restaurant were killed: Moises Ismael Locón Yac, a 27-year-old employee and Nicholas Figueroa, a 23-year-old customer on a date at the restaurant. They were initially reported missing and their bodies were found three days later on 29th March in the debris.

A building designed by Morris Adjmi Architects now occupies the site, erasing all history of the small shop called Love Saves the Day.


otosNY Comments: In this scene the taxi is clearly seen driving along University Place passing East 13th Street. The direction in which the taxi is travelling is south as the building on the corner of East 12th Street and University Place can be seen. Nowadays, traffic goes north on University Place, whereas in 1984 it seems to go south.

University Place and East 13th Street, Manhattan.


Times Square (Broadway, 7th Avenue, West 42nd and 47th Streets) Manhattan.


West 19th Street (btw 5th and 6th Avenues) Manhattan.


Dez’s Apartment, 6 West 19th Street (btw 5th and 6th Avenues) Manhattan.


Port Authority Bus Terminal, 625 8th Avenue and West 42nd Street, Manhattan.


Landmark Cafe, 158 Grand Street and Centre Street, Manhattan.


Saint Nicholas Avenue and West 166th Street, Washington Heights.


otsoNY Comments: The Magic Club entrance was on the back end of the building on St. Nicholas Ave. The entrance was identical to the one on the Broadway front. It is clear from the landmark points you made that this is the case. Unfortunately its the part of the building that no longer stands. Also if you notice the front entrance of the Audubon Ballroom that stands on Broadway, there are the pillars on either side that sit on pedestals which then sit on a block of grey granite. Historical images show that the granite is the same height off the footpath as it is today, which is considerably smaller than the stone size in the movie, which was approximately as high as Madonna's shoulders. The height difference would obviously be due to leveling of the land that the Ballroom was built on. The Magic Club's interior shots were done on a soundstage built inside the Audubon Ballroom. Executive Producer Michael Peyser confirmed this saying that the set created by the films customer designer Santo Loquasto, within the Aududon which was in a state of decay, and indicated it was probably not a very structurally safe building to be in.

Audubon Ballroom, 3940 Broadway and West 165th Street, Washington Heights.

Audubon Ballroom

The Audubon Theatre and Ballroom, generally referred to as the Audubon Ballroom, was a theatre and ballroom located at 3940 Broadway at West 165th Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1912 and was designed by Thomas W. Lamb. The theatre was known at various times as the William Fox Audubon Theatre, the Beverly Hills Theater, and the San Juan Theater, and the ballroom is noted for being the site of the assassination of Malcolm X on February 21, 1965. It is currently the Audubon Business and Technology Center and the Shabazz Center.


Danceteria, 30 West 21st Street (btw 5th and 6th Avenues) Manhattan.


Danceteria was a well-known four-floor nightclub located in New York City which operated from 1980 until 1986. Throughout its history, the club had three different locations, the second, most famously at 30 West 21st Street, Manhattan, which served as the location for the disco scene in the film Desperately Seeking Susan.

The first Danceteria was opened on West 37th Street by German expatriate Rudolf Pieper and talent booker & club impresario Jim Fouratt. It catered to a diverse after-hours crowd coming from gay discos and the downtown rock clubs Mudd Club, Trax, TR3, and CBGB's. The club's DJs were Mark Kamins and Sean Cassette. According to Kamins, Danceteria "was an illegal Mafia club with no liquor license, but we sold drink tickets". The third and last location was at 29 East 29th St. (btw Madison and Park). DJ Johnny Dynell was also a Danceteria DJ for a while, and Howie Montaug ran and MCed at the alternative 'No Entiendes' evenings upstairs. Kamins credits the first Danceteria with being the first club to play videos and have two separate DJ's play 12 straight hours. It was reputed to be one of the centers of new wave music in New York and was frequented by musicians and other artists who later became famous, such as Madonna, Sade, Keith Haring, the Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J. For a time, there was also a satellite version of the club operated in the Hamptons on Long Island, NY.


18 East 16th Street (btw Union Square West and 5th Avenue) Manhattan.


Columbus Park, 67 Mulberry Street and Baxter Street, Manhattan.


Great Jones Alley (btw Great Jones Street and Bond Street) Manhattan.


Cinema, 144 Bleecker Street (btw LaGuardia Place & Thompson Street) Manhattan.

Bleecker Street Cinema

The building at 144 Bleecker Street in New York City's Greenwich Village that would eventually house the Bleecker Street Cinema was originally built in 1832 as two rowhouses at 144 and 146 Bleecker Street. Placido Mori converted 144 into the restaurant Mori in 1883. Several scenes in Desperately Seeking Susan were shot there, as one of the characters (Dez, played by Aidan Quinn) works there as a projectionist. In Woody Allen's 1989 Crimes and Misdemeanors, the character played by filmmaker-star Allen visits the Bleecker Street Cinema to see Alfred Hitchcock's Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the 1943 musical Happy Go Lucky. It also appears in the film The Prince of Tides.


The Pythian, 135 West 70th Street (btw Columbus Avenue and Broadway) Manhattan.



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