The original Ghostbusters opens with something strange in the neighborhood—specifically at the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwartzman building in Midtown Manhattan. The 1984 movie, sequel, and recent reboots were all filmed (at least partially) on location around New York City. As the titular ghostbusters, Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Ray Stantz (Dan Akroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), and later Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) don proton packs and drive their Ectomobile uptown, downtown, and anywhere else they’re summoned.
Here are seven of the most iconic Ghostbusters filming locations around the city, from the picturesque green at the center of Columbia University, to an active, historic firehouse on a quiet corner in Tribeca. And remember, if you spot something weird—and it don’t look good—you know who to call.
1. New York Public Library
In the basement of the NYPL’s flagship, a librarian has a paranormal encounter. When the nascent ghostbusters Venkman and Stantz arrive, they find Spengler beginning his investigation in the Rose Main Reading Room. Down in the basement, Venkman looks at a symmetrical tower of books and says, “No human being would stack books like this.” His hunch is confirmed by the abundance of ectoplasmic residue—and the full-torso apparition.
Guarded by a pair of stoic stone lions, Patience and Fortitude, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is a closed-stack research library with 2.5 million volumes in its collection. Visitors are encouraged to request materials (including maps, art prints, photographs, and rare books) at least 24 hours in advance; NYPL’s largest circulating branch, the newly-renovated Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, is located across Fifth Avenue from the main building.
2. Columbia University
When the threesome returns to their office at a university, the dean informs them that the Board of Regents has decided to terminate their grant—and sends the ghostbusters packing. In reality, there is no Weaver Hall (or department of paranormal studies) at Columbia University, but several scenes were filmed on location at the Ivy League’s Morningside Heights main campus. The university has since expanded throughout the city, but the Low Memorial Library (and visitor center), near which Venkman and Stantz drink away their sorrows and hatch a business plan, is located at West 116th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam avenues.
3. Hook and Ladder 8
After they secure funding from the fictional Manhattan City Bank (filmed at a now-defunct Irving Trust Bank location across from the library on the Avenue of the Americas), the ghostbusters head 7 miles downtown to Tribeca. Despite Spengler’s serious misgivings about the building’s structural integrity, they decide to set up headquarters in a dilapidated, decommissioned firehouse on North Moore Street. Interior scenes were filmed in Los Angeles, but exterior shots of the early-1900s Beaux-Arts building instantly made the still-active firehouse a popular tourist destination.
FDNY Hook and Ladder Company 8 doesn’t offer official tours, but it has embraced its Hollywood connection; if the door is open, ask one of the firefighters to show you around the ground floor. Bring cash if you’d like to take home a souvenir patch or t-shirt bearing the company’s insignia (a twist on the iconic Ghostbusters logo in which the ghost holds a firefighter’s Halligan bar), or an “ECTO 1” license plate.
4. 55 Central Park West
In real life, this 19-floor residential co-op located on the Upper West Side has been home to Ginger Rogers, Calvin Klein, and music mogul David Geffen. In Ghostbusters, it’s the residence of cellist Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), accountant Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), and the Cult of Gozer. Stantz refers to the paranormal property as “Spook Central,” but unlike some of its high profile neighbors—including the Dakota and the San Remo—the art deco building has never had an official name.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 55 Central Park West was built in 1929; exterior shots in Ghostbusters portray the building as taller and more ornate than it is in real life, with an elaborate rooftop shrine. When her eggs spontaneously fly out of their carton and start frying on her countertop—and she discovers what appears to be a portal to another dimension in her refrigerator—Barrett becomes the ghostbusters’ first official customer.
5. Lincoln Center
After a montage of successful ghostbusting attempts, Venkman reconnects with Barrett as she’s leaving orchestra rehearsal at Lincoln Center. As they walk around the fountain in the center of Josie Robertson Plaza, Venkman tells Barrett that there’s been a break in her case—and asks her out on a date. Located between West 65th and 62nd streets and Columbus and Amsterdam avenues on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the performing arts complex is home to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, and the New York Philharmonic.
6. Tavern on the Green
Back at 55 Central Park West, Tully’s party takes a turn when he opens his bedroom door to find an unwanted guest: Vinz Clortho (also known as The Keymaster), the growling demigod and menacing minion of Gozer. Tully escapes out the front door and into Central Park, screaming, “There’s a bear in my apartment! I’m going to bring this up at the next tenant meeting. There’s not supposed to be any pets in the building.”
The red-eyed “bear” follows Tully into the park, where he tries in vain to get help from patrons at Tavern on the Green. He searches his pocket for a milk bone, but it’s too late: Romantic music plays softly while he bangs on the window, and is eventually overpowered within earshot of the nonplussed diners. Housed in a former sheepfold next to Sheep Meadow, the restaurant opened in 1934. After closing in 2009, the building was used as a visitor center by the city until a multi-million-dollar renovation; it reopened as a restaurant serving lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch in 2014.
7. Columbus Circle
Now imbued with the sinister spirit of The Keymaster, Tully ends up at the southwest corner of Central Park, Columbus Circle. Located at the intersection of 8th Avenue and West 59th Street, the popular gathering space is home to an information kiosk, bike rentals, food trucks, and pop-up holiday markets. Near the 57-foot-high USS Maine National Monument (which honors the U.S. sailors who were lost when their Navy vessel exploded and sank in Cuba in 1898), Tully spots a horse and asks if it’s The Gatekeeper. When the driver of the carriage asks if he wants a ride, Tully identifies himself as Clortho, snarls, tells the horse to “wait for the sign,” and runs away.
The fate of Central Park’s cinematic horse-drawn carriage rides has been uncertain over the years as animal-rights groups and others have been critical of working conditions and traffic interruptions; today, regulations limit the animals’ working hours, confine drivers to specific boarding areas, and require that each horse receives no less than 5 weeks of vacation per year.