America, Countries, Culture

West Side Story in New Jersey

I like to be in America, Okay by me in America, Everything free in America, For a small fee in America… so let’s start our immigrants tale, West Side Story in New Jersey.

And you thought it was all Manhattan!

Well, New Jersey is always in the eyeshot when you’re in the Big Apple and heavyweight director Stephen Spielberg has enhanced his new movie  by setting much of it there.

New Americans: West Side Story

Most of us have just passed through New Jersey (guilty) landing in Newark Airport. And yes, we are the losers.

Spielberg and his crew weren’t about to make the same mistake and visit Newark, Paterson and other parts of Essex County NJ.

Of course Spielberg being steeped in movie history knows New Jersey’s place in it.

Before the Bada Bing

First Family: The Sopranos with Tony as a lad

The Many Saints of Newark: Yes, for many outside of the state New Joisey will forever be Tony Soprano’s hood.

And for those who have had withdrawal symptoms all these years and who miss James Gandolfini, the release of The Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, in September was a godsend.

Following Tony’s childhood in 1960s Newark it also shines a light on Paterson, Bloomfield and Jersey City.

Meanwhile back in Gotham City

Dark: The Joker

Now we all know that Batman’s Gotham City is New York… or is it?

In the 2019 movie The Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, New York and New Jersey locations are knitted together to create Gotham.

Newark’s Market Street plays a prominent role in the opening scene and Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City’s Journal Square.

And William J Brennan Courthouse on Newark Avenue can also be spotted in the film.

Wrestle mania

Poignant: The Wrestler

New Joisey is renowned for its gritty backdrop and a particular favourite The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke is perfectly suited to do the job.

Asbury Park (Bruce Springsteen territory) Elizabeth, Rahway, Garfield, Hasbrouck Heights, Linden, Roselle Park and Dover light up this classic.

Bigging up Big

Fantasy: Big

There are few Hollywood stars bigger than Tom Hanks and one of his biggest role was the Eighties comedy classic Big.

The carnival that houses the mystical Zoltar was in the. state’s historic film town, Fort Lee.

The school, drugstore and the houses of Josh and Billy are all located in Cliffside Park.

New Jersey state of Mind

Beautiful: Russell Crowe

Now. ignore Jersey Shore for a minute… they’re a smart crowd in New Joisey.

And we’ve all head of Princeton University (it’s in Elizabeth) while Fairleigh Dickinson University is in Madison.

All of which you’ll know from the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe.

There are also scenes from Jersey City, Belleville, Newark and East Orange.

So when you’re singing along and tapping your feet to Spielberg’s new film, by all means dream of New York but it’s also West Side Story in New Jersey.


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