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West Side Story () is an energetic, widely-acclaimed, melodramatic musical - a modern-day, loose re-telling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet tragedy of feuding families, although the setting is the Upper West Side of New York City in the late s with .
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The Upper West Side, sometimes abbreviated UWS, is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West th dnxvvyut.ml Upper West Side is sometimes also considered by the real estate industry to include the neighborhood of Morningside Heights.. Like the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side is .

It consisted of farms and villages along a road regularized in known as the Bloomingdale Road. Bloomingdale Road was renamed The Boulevard in , as the farms and villages were divided into building lots and absorbed into the city. The main artery of this area was the Bloomingdale Road, which began north of where Broadway and the Bowery Lane now Fourth Avenue join at modern Union Square and wended its way northward up to about modern th Street in Morningside Heights, where the road further north was known as the Kingsbridge Road.

Within the confines of the modern-day Upper West Side, the road passed through areas known as Harsenville, [11] Strycker's Bay, and Bloomingdale Village.

With the building of the Croton Aqueduct passing down the area between present day Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue in —42, the northern reaches of the district became divided into Manhattan Valley to the east of the aqueduct and Bloomingdale to the west.

Bloomingdale, in the latter half of the 19th century, was the name of a village that occupied the area just south of th street.

Much of the riverfront of the Upper West Side was a shipping, transportation, and manufacturing corridor. The Hudson River Railroad line right-of-way was granted in the late s to connect New York City to Albany, and soon ran along the riverbank.

One major non-industrial development, the creation of Central Park in the s and '60s, caused many squatters to move their shacks into the Upper West Side. Parts of the neighborhood became a ragtag collection of squatters' housing, boarding houses, and rowdy taverns. As this development occurred, the old name of Bloomingdale Road was being chopped away and the name Broadway was progressively applied further northward to include what had been lower Bloomingdale Road. In , the city began straightening and grading the section of the Bloomingdale Road from Harsenville north, and it became known as "Western Boulevard" or "The Boulevard".

It retained that name until the end of the century, when the name Broadway finally supplanted it. Development of the neighborhood lagged even while Central Park was being laid out in the s and '70s, then was stymied by the Panic of Things turned around with the introduction of the Ninth Avenue elevated in the s along Ninth Avenue renamed Columbus Avenue in , and with Columbia University 's relocation to Morningside Heights in the s, using lands once held by the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum.

Riverside Park was conceived in and formally approved by the state legislature through the efforts of city parks commissioner Andrew Haswell Green. The first segment of park was acquired through condemnation in , and construction soon began following a design created by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted , who also designed the adjacent, gracefully curving Riverside Drive.

In , under the administration of commissioner Robert Moses , acres 0. Moses, working with landscape architect Gilmore D.

Clarke also added playgrounds, and distinctive stonework and the 79th Street Boat Basin , but also cut pedestrians off from direct access to most of the riverfront by building the Henry Hudson Parkway by the river's edge. According to Robert Caro 's book on Moses, The Power Broker , Riverside Park was designed with most of the amenities located in predominantly white neighborhoods, with the neighborhoods closer to Harlem getting shorter shrift. Riverside Park, like Central Park, has undergone a revival late in the 20th century, largely through the efforts of the Riverside Park Fund, a citizen's group.

Largely through their efforts and the support of the city, much of the park has been improved. The Hudson River Greenway along the river-edge of the park is a popular route for pedestrians and bicycle commuters, and offers spectacular vistas.

The Upper West Side experienced a building boom from to , thanks in large part to the opening of the city's first subway line , which comprised, in part, what is now a portion of the IRT Broadway — Seventh Avenue Line , with subway stations at 59th , 66th , 72nd , 79th , 86th , 91st , 96th , rd , th , th , and th Streets.

This followed upon the opening of the now demolished IRT Ninth Avenue Line — the city's first elevated railway — which opened in the decade following the American Civil War. This further stimulated residential development of the area.

The stately tall apartment blocks on West End Avenue and the townhouses on the streets between Amsterdam Avenue and Riverside Drive, which contribute to the character of the area, were all constructed during the pre-depression years of the twentieth century. A revolution in building techniques, the low cost of land relative to lower Manhattan, the arrival of the subway, and the democratization of the formerly expensive elevator made it possible to construct large apartment buildings for the middle classes.

The large scale and style of these buildings is one reason why the neighborhood has remained largely unchanged into the twenty-first century. The neighborhood changed from the s to the s. In the s, the area south of 67th Street was heavily populated by African-Americans and supposedly gained its nickname of " San Juan Hill " in commemoration of African-American soldiers who were a major part of the assault on Cuba 's San Juan Hill in the Spanish—American War.

By , it was a rough neighborhood of tenement housing, the demolition of which was delayed to allow for exterior shots in the film musical West Side Story.

Thereafter, urban renewal brought the construction of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Lincoln Towers apartments during — The Upper West Side is a significant Jewish neighborhood, populated with both German Jews who moved in at the turn of last century, and Jewish refugees escaping Hitler's Europe in the s.

Today the area between 85th Street and th Street is home to the largest community of young Modern Orthodox singles outside of Israel. A number of major synagogues are located in the neighborhood, including the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States, Shearith Israel ; New York's second-oldest and the third-oldest Ashkenazi synagogue, B'nai Jeshurun ; Rodeph Sholom ; the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue ; and numerous others. As the neighborhood had deteriorated, it was affordable to working class gay men, and those just arriving in the city and looking for their first white collar jobs.

Its ethnically mixed gay population, mostly Hispanic and white, with a mixture of income levels and occupations patronized the same gay bars in the neighborhood, making it markedly different from most gay enclaves elsewhere in the city. The influx of white gay men in the Fifties and Sixties is often credited with accelerating the gentrification of the Upper West Side.

In a subsequent phase of urban renewal, the rail yards which had formed the Upper West Side's southwest corner were replaced by the Riverside South residential project, which included a southward extension of Riverside Park. The evolution of Riverside South had a year history, often extremely bitter, beginning in when the New York Central Railroad , in partnership with the Amalgamated Lithographers Union , proposed a mixed-use development with 12, apartments, Litho City, to be built on platforms over the tracks.

The subsequent bankruptcy of the enlarged, but short-lived Penn Central Railroad brought other proposals and prospective developers. The one generating the most opposition was Donald Trump 's "Television City" concept of , which would have included a story office tower and six story residential buildings. In , a coalition of prominent civic organizations proposed a purely residential development of about half that size, and then reached a deal with Trump. Today, this area is the site for several long-established charitable institutions; their unbroken parcels of land have provided suitably scaled sites for Columbia University and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine , as well as for some vanished landmarks, such as the Schwab Mansion on Riverside Drive.

The name Bloomingdale is still used in reference to a part of the Upper West Side, essentially the location of old Bloomingdale Village, the area from about 96th Street up to th Street and from Riverside Park east to Amsterdam Avenue. Adjacent to the Bloomingdale neighborhood is a more diverse and less affluent subsection of the Upper West Side called Manhattan Valley , focused on the downslope of Columbus Avenue and Manhattan Avenue from about 96th Street up to th Street.

As of [update] , Manhattan Community Board 7 has a population of ,, which is down from , in Of the population, , The land area is 1. The police arrest Chino and lead him away. Veteran director Robert Wise was chosen to direct and produce because of his experience with urban New York dramas such as Odds Against Tomorrow Since he had no experience directing a musical, Wise agreed that Jerome Robbins , who had directed the stage version of West Side Story , would direct the musical and dance sequences.

After about one-third of the movie had been shot, the Mirisch Company, concerned that the production was running over-budget, dismissed Robbins. According to Saul Chaplin , Robbins nearly suffered a nervous breakdown during the time he worked on the film. The remaining dance numbers were directed with the help of Robbins' assistants.

Recognizing Robbins' considerable creative contribution to the film, Wise agreed that Robbins should be given co-directing credit, even though Wise directed the greater part of the film. The opening titles and end credits sequences were created by Saul Bass , who is also credited for "visual consultation" on the film. Exterior shots used the buildings of Lincoln Square , which were vacant and about to be torn down, allowing them to be used as a set. Because the producers wanted actors who looked believable as teenagers, they did not consider year-old Larry Kert , the first Tony on Broadway, or year-old Carol Lawrence , the first Maria, but some had experience in stage productions.

Tucker Smith , who joined the Broadway production several months into its run, played Diesel, renamed Ice for the film. Jay Norman, Juano on stage, appeared as Pepe. Elvis Presley was approached for Tony, but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker , strongly believed the role to be wrong for Elvis and made him decline in favor of other movie musicals.

Bobby Darin made a strong impression on the producers at his audition and was, at one point, in talks for the role. However, he turned it down due to his concert and recording commitments. Tab Hunter , then 30, and Burt Reynolds , nearly 26, were also considered, due to their Broadway and singing credits, but they were dismissed because of their age. Richard Chamberlain was also thought too old at age The producers settled on their "final five": Although he was 28 before filming began, Perkins' boyish looks and Broadway resume seemed to make him a contender for the role, and he was trying to avoid getting typecast after the success of Psycho.

Robert Wise originally chose Beatty for the role, figuring that youth was more important than experience. Ultimately, Beymer, the most unlikely of the candidates, won the part of Tony. Tamblyn, after several callbacks, impressed the producers and was given the role of Riff. Natalie Wood was filming Splendor in the Grass with Warren Beatty and was romantically involved with him off-screen. The producers were not considering her for the role of Maria at that time. When Beatty went to screen test for the role of Tony, Wood read opposite him as Maria as a favor because she had been practicing with him.

The producers fell in love with the idea of Wood as Maria but did not cast Beatty. However, Hepburn later withdrew because she became pregnant. The Return of the King won 11 Oscars, but they were not musical films. American Film Institute lists:. The film's cast appeared and was honored at the 50th anniversary of West Side Story at the Ventura Film Festival.

Leonard Bernstein was displeased with the orchestrations for the movie, which was the work of Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal , who had orchestrated the original Broadway production. That show had been orchestrated for roughly 30 musicians; for the movie, United Artists allowed them triple that, including six saxophone parts, eight trumpets, five pianos and five xylophones.

Stephen Sondheim , who did not like the sequence of the songs in the Broadway version, had the song "Gee, Officer Krupke" being sung before the Rumble in place of the song "Cool" which is sung instead after the Rumble; the song "I Feel Pretty" is also sung before the Rumble instead of after.

In addition, the song "America" was sung in-between the two love songs "Maria" and "Tonight", instead of having the two love songs being sung consecutively. The "Somewhere" Ballet was omitted, because it slowed down the pace of the film, and was sung instead by Tony and Maria.

As provided in her contract, Wood prerecorded her songs and allowed the production team to decide whether to use her voice or not. She found the songs challenging, but was allowed to film her scenes lip-synching to her own vocals and was led to believe that these versions would be used, although music supervisors Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green had already decided to use Marni Nixon 's voice.

Wood's singing voice is only heard during the reprise of the song "Somewhere" when Tony dies. Though Nixon had recorded the songs in the same orchestra sessions as Wood, she had to re-record them to synch with Wood's filmed performances. Even the one song for which Wood had lip-synched to Nixon's voice, "One Hand, One Heart", had to be recorded again because Wood's lip-synching was unsatisfactory.

Bernstein gave her 0. This set a precedent for all future "ghost singers". Beymer's vocals were performed by Jimmy Bryant. Tamblyn's own voice was used in "Gee, Officer Krupke" and the "Quintet". Rita Moreno was dubbed by Betty Wand in the song "A Boy Like That" because the song needed to be performed at a register that was too low for her. However, Moreno sang her own vocals in "America". Marni Nixon sang some of Moreno's parts in the "Quintet" when illness prevented Moreno from doing so. Wand was also ill on the day of final recording, and so Nixon recorded Anita's vocal line as well.

For the 50th anniversary of the film's release, a score closer to the Broadway version was created by Garth Edwin Sunderland of the Leonard Bernstein Office to be performed live at screenings of the movie with the score removed, but with the original vocals maintained.

It will soon be a tale of two cities. A great deal of it was shot on location, and some of the locations even seem vaguely familiar from my childhood. Thanks for taking the time to write this 3 part series, it was obviously a lot of work, but it was worth it, and much appreciated, Scout.

Thank you Nick for this series. I just had the pleasure of re-watching The Naked City and your well-researched articles were the perfect dessert. Nostalgic melancholy but fascinating. All are gone save the one on the far right: Finally, a tight shot of the building at 70th Street and Broadway, today razed and replaced by a modern apartment building: A side view gives us a peek at Central Park in the distance: Also, I had absolutely no idea the highrise residential building on the left was so old: The original Roosevelt Hospital building was later torn down to make way for the highrise apartment that now occupies the property: As the ambulance speeds off, we catch a glimpse of 58th Street and Ninth Ave, the south side of which is more or less intact: Upper East Side Location: The detective exits the jewelry store… And proceeds down Fifth Avenue.

A lot of new glass on that corner building… Location: Alas, the drug store is long gone, since replaced by a jewelry store: The characters run past the theater and swing around onto 59th Street, then takes the stairs up to the el station above: Yes, this was a time when train stations were heated by cast-iron stoves: Note the handful of walk-ups on the left still clinging to life: Note that Lexington was originally cobblestone: This includes shots of the old Roxy theater lobby… A bank in the early morning hours… A sewing factory after closing: Tyler March 4, at Tim H March 4, at 1: Frank Coleman March 5, at 1: Tim H March 5, at 2: Thanks for your comment.

And NYC is quite the place for such dealings! Merry March 8, at

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