New York : The must-see places of Taxi Driver

By following Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a tormented Vietnam veteran, Taxi Driver paints the portrait of a sordid New York of the 70s, magnificently filmed by Martin Scorsese. Awarded the Palme d’Or 1976 at Cannes, it is considered to be one of the greatest films ever made.

The intersection crossed by Travis

 

Here you can walk in the footsteps of Travis Bickle who crosses while smoking a cigarette after a night’s work.  This image was used a lot for the promotion of the film.  As we mention in our Guide New York of 1000 cult movie, series, music, comics, novel locations, the Show and Tell theatre is also here, a cinema for adults where Travis used to go.  The building has been destroyed since.

The brothel of Iris

As we mention in our Guide New York of 1000 cult movie, series, music, comics, novel locations Here Travis meets the young prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster) and tries to convince her to return to her parents’ house.  This spot is also the stage for the extremely violent scene of the film where Travis kills three people before attempting suicide.

Iris's pimp

It’s in front of this door that Iris’ pimp Matthew Sport (Harvey Keitel) would hang out.  Even if today the door is a brown colour, it seems that it had been painted specifically in blue by production hinting at the profession of the fictitious occupant, as in the United States pornographic films were at this time nicknamed “Blue films”.

Charles Palantine's campaign headquarters

Travis comes several times to meet Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a volunteer in the Senator’s election campaign, in this building now occupied by a Bank of America.  If you look closely, you’ll notice Martin Scorsese.  The film director made several cameo appearances in this feature film.  You can see him seated next to the entrance, observing Betty pass by.  Another moment he is one of Travis’ taxi customers that states he wants to kill his wife.

Hector's cafe and diner

This diner which has been open for more than half a century and frequented for many years by the workers of the Meatpacking district, has survived over the years without changing.  Did Martin Scorsese really shoot here the scene where Travis meets his fellow taxi drivers?  Most sources confirm it but still today some fans disagree on it.

USS Maine Monument

Travis attends the candidate Charles Palantine’s  (Leonard Harris) speech at the foot of this monument erected in 1913 in memory of the 250 sailors killed by the explosion of the USS Maine, a warship which sunk in the port of Havana in 1898.

The Lyric Theatre

What an astonishing history the Lyric Theatre has.  At first built to be an opera school which went bankrupt before the opening in 1903.  After it was used as a show hall then converted into a cinema in 1934.  This is where Travis invites Betsy to see a movie, but when she realizes it’s an erotic film (Sometime Sweet Susan) she walks out on him.  This location was entirely renovated in 1996, only the façade has been conserved but the numerous neons change its aspect.

Times Square

 

The night-lights of Times Square recur frequently in Taxi Driver.  Although this square is now very popular with tourists, at the time it wasn’t very safe and had a bad reputation due to its numerous pornographic cinemas, no longer there today.

Hotel Olcott

 

During one of his rides, Travis takes a woman to this hotel from Times Square.  Founded in 1930, the Olcott hotel has accommodated many celebrities such as Tiny Tim, the singer with a ukulele, or the producer and songwriter Rick Hendrix.  It’s also here in October 1980 that Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s assassin, stayed before committing his crime.

The Saint Regis

In the last scene, Betsy comes out of this hotel and gets in Travis’ taxi for a last ride in his company. He does it for free.

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