John Wick: After taking his wife off life support in the opening scenes, funeral services are held in some cemetery with sweeping views of the NYC (primarily Manhattan) skyline:
The cemetery is First Calvary Cemetery, a Roman Catholic burial ground that is one of four parts of the greater Calvary Cemetery in Long Island City (the cemetery website is wrong, they’re not located in Woodside; they’re in the 11101 ZIP, which is Long Island City).
The cemetery is a secret space, not nearly as popular – or fun, honestly – as Green-Wood, but also a lot quieter. Like some hills in Green-Wood though, it does offer some commanding perspectives of skylines and signature buildings. I especially appreciate the juxtaposition of gravestones with signifiers of Empire and World Trade:
In a subsequent scene, John Wick gets assaulted in his extremely fancy New Jersey home, his dog gets murdered, and his car (a 1969 Mustang Mach1) stolen. The thieves take his vehicle to some chop shop, and in the approach to the shop’s security gate the Kosciuszko Bridge can clearly be seen in the background:
Seen on the left edge of the image is “[L]AUREL HILL BLVD,” which borders First Calvalry Cemetery to the south (not all roads in Queens are numbers – some have names too!).
The location is a facility called “Pine Non Ferrous” or “Pine Scrap Metal” depending on what sign or map you read, and can be seen here:
(Spin around 180° and you’ll see First Calvalry Cemetery.)
This next scene is brilliant on so many levels, namely the sequence cuts and the implications: John Wick, ready to wage war to avenge the death of his dog, a parting gift from his deceased wife, ready to kill dozens and dozens of men to achieve his objectives, knows the location of the chop shop from his previous line of work. But he simply won’t drive his SUV with two broken windows there. He’ll kill men, but opts for the bus to get to the chop shop. Apparently he gets the Q90 from New Jersey (instead of a cab) and gets conveniently dropped off right in front of the chop shop. BRILLIANT!
He didn’t even change out of his bloodied shirt!
And no there’s no Q90 bus, there’s no tree-lined road in this area, and there’s not even a bus route that runs along the southern edge of First Calvary Cemetery (shown blacked out in the adjacent map).
I appreciate the world of make-believe in film!
But I appreciate even more whoever scouted this area of Long Island City for this film, and put these pieces of the puzzle together to achieve the shots they wanted. Long Island City, the next “it” neighborhood, still has some pretty crap-tastic spaces that are more reminiscent – as my friend Jo would say – of Half-Life than any hip, urban environment (and is part of my thesis why, long-term, it’ll never entirely be gentrified – this ain’t Brooklyn!). For example:
Here are some non-Queens bonus scenes.
This scene attempts to suggest that a church in Manhattan is a front where Viggo Tarasov “keeps his private stash,” because at the end of the scene Tarasov says his son is in a “safe house, Brooklyn” as if they weren’t in Brooklyn – but the “church” (the exterior anyhow – I don’t recognize the interior) is easily recognizable as Weylin B. Seymour’s, the Williamsburg Savings Bank building, at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, on the Brooklyn side:
I forget what you call it in film and movies when there are inconsistencies within sequences, but I feel like this is one of those – hard to tell. In one scene, Marcus, played by Willem Dafoe, fires a rifle using his right hand to pull the trigger; in the next he’s seen using his left hand. In the sequence leading to the first screenshot, Marcus can clearly be seen using his right arm as his ‘strong’ hand, to both carry a suitcase and connect parts of the gun; now for the second screenshot, the part in Dafoe’s hair actually goes the other way, which makes it appear as though he’s holding the gun opposite, when he might actually be holding it the same way as in the first screenshot, but film editors decided to flip the film to make it appear he was pointing down-and-to-the-right instead of down-and-to-the-left in the scene:
Yeah. Bad editing.
And for the final scene examined here you can deduce the scene was shot on the rooftop of the James Hotel based on the orientation of HVAC equipment seen on the AT&T Long Distance Building in the middleground:
From there, pan north a bit and, sure enough, there’s the James: