Our neighborhood has been depicted many times in film and fiction. Two of Jack Kerouac's novels are partly set here: The Town and the City and Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education. Federico Garcia Lorca, the great Spanish surrealist, wrote Poeta in Nueva York while at Columbia, and some of his poems seem to refer to places around here. J.D. Salinger's Glass family sagas (all his books except Catcher in the Rye, i.e. Franny, Zooey, et al.) take place here. (The fictional family lived on 110th Street between B'way and Riverside in the 1940s, and used to hang out at Mill Luncheonette, which lives on as the Mill Korean restaurant.) Paul Auster named his novel Moon Palace after a Chinese restaurant that used to stand on Broadway, and his other novel City of Glass is also partly set here. In 1968, the comic play Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights was produced on Broadway by Robert Alan Arthur. In Michael Jahn's mystery City of God, a serial killer undertakes a holy war from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Meredith Sue Willis's novel Trespassers is set at Columbia during the 1968 student unrest. 'Till the Fat Lady Sings, by Alisa Kwitney (1992), is about crazed English majors there. Robert Deane Pharr's novel S.R.O. is a low-life saga set in a run-down hotel on 119th & Amsterdam in the years before gentrification. Henry Willis Wells wrote Cathedral of St. John the Divine: A Sequence of Poems about our most famous house of worship. Karla Jay's Tales of the Lavender Menace has a couple of chapters on life at Columbia and Barnard during the late 60's from a lesbian perspective.
Irene Marcuse has two novels, The
Death of an Amiable Child and Guilty Mind, set in the neighborhood. Many of Cuban-American Oscar Hijuelos’ novels, including his new book
Empress of the Splendid Season, are set near where Claremont Avenue meets Tiemann Place. William Goldman's novel Marathon Man is about a Columbia graduate student, played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie. Part of the film Ghostbusters was filmed at Columbia, as were Teacher's Pet, The Mirror Has Two Faces, and Hannah and her Sisters. Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives has a scene in the
Hungarian Pastry Shop. The silly but amusing film The Shadow is partly set in what from the logic of the story have to be the Columbia physics labs on 120th St. Part of the movie Wall Street was filmed in one of the mansions on Riverside Drive. Interestingly enough, the University was still touchy enough, 40 years later, about the scandal depicted in the film Quiz Show that they didn't allow the parts set at Columbia to be shot there. The Ben Stiller movie Keeping The Faith has a young Catholic priest whose parish and rectory are Ascension Church on 107th St. The movie New Jack City has a shootout at, improbably, Grant's Tomb. Some literary excerpts about the neighborhood.