Scene on the Run: Ghostbusters
It's TCS New York City Marathon week, but the race is still five days away. In the meantime, today is October 31, which means it's Halloween! We're helping you get into the "spirit" of the season with this run based on one of New York City's best-known ghost stories, Ghostbusters.
Over eight or nine miles, this run will take you along some of the Ghostbusters' old "haunts," bringing you down Manhattan's west side, through midtown, to a finish in lower Manhattan. View a map of the run and read on for a guide to what you'll see along the route.
We can't guarantee that you'll see any ghosts along the way, but you're welcome to trick or treat as you go!
(Note: This run does not include locations from the 2016 Ghostbusters film, but that's only because I haven't seen that one yet. It does, however, mean that there's potential for a sequel to this route!)
Location: West 116th Street and Broadway
What Happens Here: Our run begins, like the first movie does, in Morningside Heights, at Columbia University. Although the school does not offer a study program in parapsychology (at least, not officially), the film opens with three soon-to-be Ghostbusters—Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Peter Venkman—working as professors in that department before their research grant is terminated.
From here, we’ll head south along Broadway, and then move toward Central Park West to hit three spots in a span of three blocks.
Tavern on the Green
Location: Central Park at West 67th Street
Directions: Follow Broadway to West 67th Street, or turn on any side street from Broadway toward Central Park West and run south. If you'd like some bonus content, you can run along the reservoir in Central Park—the team traps a "Jogger Ghost" running along the path here in Ghostbusters II.
What Happens Here: We’ll channel our inner Louis Tully as we run toward Tavern on the Green. In the first movie, he attempts to hide inside the restaurant from a doglike creature that had broken into his apartment, but he doesn't quite make it. He is caught and becomes possessed by Vinz Clortho, “the Keymaster.”
As you can see in the photo above, there was a bit of construction near the entrance when I did this run, but that was because right next door is…
…the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion! (Although it was under construction at the time of this run, it's now fully open to the public throughout race week.)
We’ll then move out of the park and one block down to 55 Central Park West—coincidentally, the building in the center of the last image above.
55 Central Park West
Location: Central Park West and 66th Street
Directions: Exit Central Park at West 67th Street and run one block south.
What Happens Here: In the film, an apartment there contains a portal to the Temple of Gozer, a godlike being summoned to destroy the Earth. The Ghostbusters face off with Gozer at the top of this building, "crossing the streams" of their proton packs to destroy its temple and save the city.
So that's where the first movie ends, but we're not done with this run yet!
Next, we'll move another block down and another block over to Lincoln Center.
Location: Broadway and West 64th Street
Directions: From 55 Central Park West, run one block west and one block south.
What Happens Here: Venkman meets with Dana Barrett, a cellist whose apartment contained the aforementioned portal to Gozer. She would later become possessed by Zuul, one of Gozer's minions, and serve as "the Gatekeeper."
From here, the run continues south down Broadway to Columbus Circle.
Location: The intersection of 59th Street, Broadway, and Eighth Avenue/Central Park West
Directions: Follow Broadway south to 59th Street.
What Happens Here: Near the end of the first film, Gozer takes the form of a "destructor," sent to wipe out the Ghostbusters, the city, and all life on Earth. The destructor stomps across Columbus Circle and up Central Park West as it towers above.
I'm speaking, of course, about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Thankfully, the Ghostbusters are able to defeat the 100-foot-tall monster, and the ensuing explosion brings a flood of marshmallow fluff raining down onto Central Park West.
From here, we'll move across town to Fifth Avenue.
New York Public Library
Location: 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue
Directions: Run east on any side street to Fifth Avenue, and then south to 42nd Street.
What Happens Here: Recently relieved of their teaching duties, Ray, Egon, and Venkman investigate paranormal activity at the library and have their first in-person encounter with a spirit—a "ghost librarian."
Frightened, the three sprint out of the library back onto Fifth Avenue. We'll follow in their footsteps by continuing on Fifth toward downtown.
Washington Square Park
Location: Fifth Avenue at Washington Square North/Waverly Place
Directions: Follow Fifth Avenue south to Washington Square North, just beyond Eighth Street.
What Happens Here: In Ghostbusters II, a flurry of ghosts fly about the city while the Ghostbusters are being held in a psychiatric hospital. In a montage, the "Washington Square Ghost" appears in the park's archway.
While we've expanded a bit beyond just the original film, we're just a few blocks from the grand finale of the run, and the center of all things Ghostbusters.
14 North Moore Street
Location: The intersection of North Moore Street and Varick Street
Directions: Passing through Washington Square Park, turn left on Washington Square South, then right onto Laguardia Place. Follow Laguardia Place as it becomes West Broadway, cross Sixth Avneue, and turn left onto Varick Street.
What Happens Here: It's the Ghostbusters' firehouse!
This building is currently under construction, and the photos above were not taken on the same run as the others from this post. In fact, when I first reached the intersection of North Moore Street and Varick Street, I ran right past the building, only turning around when I had almost reached the West Side Highway. (To be fair, it was almost an hour into the run by that point.)
The building, which opened in 1903, will continue to serve as the home base for Hook & Ladder Company 8 once the renovation project is completed. Maybe then we'll get to try that pole!
Ending at the firehouse gives you a run of just under eight miles, but while you're downtown, you can check out two more locations within a mile for some extra credit.
Location: City Hall Park, near the intersection of Broadway and Warren Street
Directions: Follow Varick Street to West Broadway, turn left onto Chambers Street, and then right down Broadway.
What Happens Here: After the Ghostbusters are arrested and their containment grid is shut down, they meet with the mayor at City Hall. They convince him to release them and allow them to try to stop Gozer.
National Museum of the American Indian
Location: Bowling Green, on Broadway near Battery Place
Directions: Take Centre Street/Park Row around City Hall to Broadway, then follow Broadway to Bowling Green.
What Happens Here: Another spot from Ghostbusters II, this museum serves as the "Manhattan Museum of Art," where a possessed painting of Vigo the Carpathian attempts to take a human form.
The Ghostbusters discover a river of psychomagnotheric "mood slime" beneath the city in an abandoned New York Pneumatic Railway tunnel.
Note: I wasn't able to access the tunnel on this run, but that's mainly because:
- New York's real-life "pneumatic railway tunnel"—the Beach Pneumatic Transit—ran for only one block, on Broadway between Warren Street and Murray Street (coincidentally, right near City Hall).
- That tunnel was demolished in 1912.
The river of slime flows directly underneath the museum, and as it feeds on negative energy, it soon swells to cover the entire building.
To break through the shell, the Ghostbusters take control of the Statue of Liberty using a positively-charged version of the slime. They march the statue across the Hudson River and through city streets toward the museum.
Once there, they break through the museum's skylight with Lady Liberty's torch, rappel in to stop Vigo the Carpathian, and save the day once again.
That's all for this running tour of Ghostbusters, but be on the lookout for more routes that cover New York City's films and TV shows!