Fanspot
Upper West Side Street

Movie West Side Story Steven Spielberg (2021)
The second adaptation of the cult musical by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, West Side Story features numerous singing and dancing numbers. One of the most memorable is at Market Street in downtown Paterson, New Jersey.
Paterson New Jersey
Paterson by Famartin. Wikimedia.

Life is more important than anything else. Even more than love.

Valentina (Rita Moreno)

Intimately linked to New York and the Upper West Side, West Side Story could not be entirely shot in the Big Apple. When the time comes to do the location scouting, Steven Spielberg’s team looks for places relatively untouched by time. Since the 1950s, the period in which the film is set, the metropolis has changed considerably. The director insists on filming as much as possible in natural settings, even if he can count on a formidable reconstruction in the Steiner Studios in Brooklyn.

Deciding to expand his search to the New York area, Steven Spielberg eventually set his sights on Paterson, the third largest city in New Jersey. Unlike New York, this one has changed very little since the middle of the 20th century. He chose to shoot the famous dance sequence when Anita (Ariana DeBose) performs a flamboyant number with her friends on the street. The street in question, Market Street, is hosting the production of West Side Story during the summer of 2019. In order to transform it to give the impression that the action is taking place in 1950s New York, Steven Spielberg’s collaborators call on many local businesses. Months after filming, business owners recall that the film crews were keen to put local businesses to work, injecting tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy.

In all, 80% of West Side Story is shot in Paterson. Some inhabitants are even hired as extras, like Kyle Hughes, the fire captain. Later, when the film goes into post-production, the special effects specialists insert New York buildings in the background to make the illusion perfect.

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Rita Moreno is the only actress from the first West Side Story to play a role in Steven Spielberg’s film. While she once played the character of Anita, here she plays Valentina.

West Side Story
West Side Story

155 Market St

The third most populous city in the state of New Jersey, Paterson is located in the area formerly known as the New Netherlands.

Known for its prominent role in silk production in the latter half of the 20th century, Paterson later welcomed immigrants from Spain, South Asia, India and Bangladesh. Cosmopolitan, the city is named after William Paterson, the governor of New Jersey who was in office in 1791 when it was founded. It is also popular for being the birthplace of beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg. In 2016, Jim Jarmush directed his film Paterson there, starring Adam Driver. Market Street is one of Paterson’s main thoroughfares. Relatively unchanged since the 1950s, it consists of a collection of stores and other buildings typical of that era. Paterson has a population of 146,199 according to the 2010 census.

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Fanspots Stories ParisFanspots are legendary images from films, series, music, comics or novels.
These are often anonymous places these are that have become world-famous thanks to pop culture, to the point where they are now inseparable from the works they were used to set.

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Paris filmed, Paris sung, Paris drawn, Paris told… For artists, the City of Light is an extraordinary field of expression and an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Each new work is an outstretched hand to seduce new people, thanks to the dreamers of yesterday and today. Famous or anonymous places then become cult. These are the secrets of a hundred of them revealed in this third volume of the Fanspots Stories collection.

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By Gilles Rolland

Friday, December 10, 2021

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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