30 years ago this summer, Martin Scorsese returned to his birthplace of Queens, New York, to shoot his next project in the neighborhood of Astoria. The director was born in the borough in 1942, and now he would capture some of its streets on film, albeit disguising them as those of East New York, Brooklyn, circa 1955. Over what was likely just a few production days of the May-August 1989 shoot, Astoria and its surrounding areas served as the backdrop for a number of scenes in the flashback first act of Scorsese’s mafia movie Goodfellas.
Through its six Academy Award nominations (1 win), preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, and constant airings on cable networks, Goodfellas came to be regarded as one of the greatest films of all time after its release in September 1990, quietly immortalizing the streets of Astoria in the process. Of course, nothing remains unchanged for too long in New York City, and in reality, many of these locations have met their end or otherwise been made unrecognizable. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Goodfellas’ filming, I revisited its known Astoria locations — and tracked down some others that remained unknown — to see what has changed and what has managed to survive over the past three decades.
Young Henry Hill’s House
24–09 32nd St.
You can also see this house in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006) — a movie both set and filmed largely in Astoria — where it stands in for the home of young Antonio (Channing Tatum).
Pitkin Ave. Cab Stand
24–14 32nd St. (Demolished)
The location that stood in for Paulie’s cab stand consisted of two buildings, both of which are no longer standing.
The entrance to the cabstand was located at what is now 24–14 32nd St. It’s unclear if the doorway seen in the movie was part of an existing building, or a facade constructed for filming.
The gate located to the right of the present-day building marks where the second portion of the building stood — a single-story brick building lined with cement-bordered windows. The building was demolished around 2016 and replaced with a condominium and commercial mid-rise called the Katina. Prior to its demolition, the location had remained largely unchanged.
Cabstand Parking Lot
31–12 24th Ave. (Demolished)
The Katina condo development was mainly constructed on the site of the cabstand’s parking lot. The lot is still visible in older captures on Google Street View.
23–85 32st St.
Down the street from Henry’s house & the cabstand is the home depicted as Paulie’s house onscreen. In the movie, Henry holds an umbrella over Tuddy’s head as they run toward the house in the rain. The house still stands today.
23–85 32st St. (Removed after filming)
After talking to Paulie in the doorway, Henry & Tuddy run across the street and use a payphone. While the phone booth was just a set piece placed on the street for filming, the address numbers of the house behind in the background are still there today.
23–83 31st St. (Demolished)
The post office seen when Paulie’s crew abducts a mailman wasn’t actually a post office, but the building remained standing until 2018. In the scene, the mailman exits the door on the left.
In the following scene, the mailman is brought to Paulie’s pizza parlor, La Bella Vista. In reality, the building used for the pizzeria was located right across the street. The post office building can even be seen in the background of the pizzeria’s entrance.
La Bella Vista Pizza Parlor
23–88 31st St. (Demolished)
The building used for both the interior and exterior of Paulie’s pizza parlor was demolished sometime around 2012.
In the scene where a gunshot victim runs past a group of nuns and students toward the pizzeria, the fence visible in the background is that of The Judge Charles J. Vallone School — accurately located to the right of the building used for La Bella Vista.
Henry’s First Pinch
37–24 24th St.
Young Henry Hill gets arrested for the first time while selling cigarettes out of the trunk of a car to a group of guys in a nondescript parking lot. This was filmed in front of the Scalamandre Silks plant in the Dutch Kills area of Long Island City. Opened in 1920 for the Franco Scalamandre Silks Company, the building was was converted into commercial loft space called “The Silks” when the company departed in 2004 — but the painted “Scalamandre Silks” sign seen at the top of the building in Goodfellas still remains today.
Parking Lot Explosion
23–02 37th Ave.
The Scalamandre Silks building is also briefly visible in the explosion scene that culminates in a freeze-frame over the famous line, “You know why? It was out of respect.”
After Henry torches cars in a parking lot, he runs toward the camera as the vehicles explode. Just before the explosion, the above Scalamandre Silks sign can be seen toward the top-right of the frame.
This places the site of the explosion as the southeast corner of 23rd St. & 37th Ave. — now a parking lot for M&B Twins Collision. (An 11-story hotel built in 2017 now blocks most of the Silks building in the background.)
Warehouse (across from explosion)
22–19 37th Ave. (Demolished)
Before Henry runs from the lot, Tuddy is shown waving him over from across the street — and surprisingly, the location really is as depicted in the movie. The building Tuddy is standing in front of was located at the corner diagonally opposite the parking lot where the explosion happens, on the northwest corner of 23rd St. & 37th Ave. (Tuddy is standing along 23rd street, just north of 37th Ave.)
The building seen on screen has been replaced by a newer building, also currently home to M&B Twins Collision.
While architecturally identical buildings still exist next door & elsewhere along 37th Ave., the one behind Tuddy can be identified in a taxphoto from NYC’s Municipal Archives taken in 1980, which captured a small part of the same stretch of the building seen in Goodfellas. For comparison, note the door & window circled in both photos below.
69–35 Astoria Blvd N, (East Elmhurst)
Moving just outside of Astoria proper, the scene where a now-older Henry Hill & Tommy DeVito orchestrate a truck hijacking was filmed in the parking lot of the Air Line Diner in Astoria Heights. Now called Jackson Hole, the location is somehow still intact — a rarity for both Goodfellas locations and New York City diners. Though Jackson Hole signage has been added, the neon “Air Line Diner” sign prominently displayed on screen is still there.
Obligatory note morally required for all movie location blogs:
*All above locations are privately owned residences or businesses. When visiting locations, respect owners’ privacy & don’t trespass.
For more obsessive coverage of Goodfellas filming locations, check out these other pieces I wasted my timing writing:
The ‘Goodfellas’ Throwback from ‘The Irishman’ You Probably Missed
Did Martin Scorsese drop a clever ‘Goodfellas’ homage in ‘The Irishman’?