One of the most challenging locations to identify in The New York Ripper is Kitty’s apartment. The look of the street seemingly places the location in a Manhattan neighborhood such as the West Village. If there is one person who should know, it’s police lieutenant Williams, but in the movie he shouts out “283 Fulton Street!”, which even after a cursory map examination is shown to be incorrect.
There are a few clues. When the police cars enter the scene you can see that the street slopes uphill. Then there are the distinct wave-like colored brownstones. And if you watch the scene where Williams gets up the fire escape very carefully, you’ll briefly see the Twin Towers above the roof of the building across the street. Inferring the street from that shot is easier said than done.
The honor for identifying the location goes to Jamie from the Facebook page Shot in New York. After fruitlessly searching in Manhattan for years he spent an evening looking for the distinct green copper window of the building (a firehouse) on the opposite side of the street. This search took him to Brooklyn Heights where the real location of the apartment was identified as 283 Hicks street!
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that a lot has changed since then; the fire escape is gone, the decoration around the door has changed, too, and sadly, the colored brownstones down the street now have a more muted color scheme. Interestingly enough, the distinct fire house across the street is still operational today.
It’s an understatement to say that Fulci’s bleak giallo takes us all over the place in New York City. DUMBO, Midtown and Times Square, the West Village, the piers, the Bronx, and we almost make it to Staten Island for the gruesome scene on the Staten Island Ferry. I am not aware of any scenes set in Queens but Jane’s lavish residence at Sutton Square with its views of the Queensboro Bridge gets us close. Not to forget that Mickey Scellenda ends up dead on Roosevelt Island.