Goodfellas is a 1990 adaptation of Nicolas Pillegi’s 1986 book, Wiseguy. The book and film tell the story of Henry Hill, who grew up in Brooklyn’s working-class East New York neighborhood and saw a life of crime as the only reasonable way to live. Hill and his associates held working people in the highest contempt and took pride in just taking what they wanted. Eventually, their greed got the better of them and they started to turn on each other. After many of his associates started turning up dead, Henry entered the witness protection program to save the lives of himself and his family.
The film ends in 1980, but many of the places from Wiseguy and Goodfellas are still intact. Most are located in Brooklyn and Queens. This is a list of bars, homes, and restaurants from both real life and the film. All pictures were shot with a Panasonic Lumix ZS100 4K Point and Shoot Camera.
Where Tommy Got Whacked
Henry Hill's Boyhood Home in East New York, Brooklyn
Smith & 9th Street F-G Station
Jackson Hole Airline Diner
Henry Hill’s Boyhood Home in East New York
The boyhood scenes from Goodfellas were filmed in Astoria, but Henry’s real boyhood home is still standing on Pine Street, just outside the Euclid Ave subway station in East New York. In the opening scene, Henry (played by Ray Liotta) refers to the working-class Brooklyn neighborhood as “full of nobodies.” In fact, Hill and his associates held the working-class Brooklynites in the greatest contempt.
The Pitkin Avenue Cab Company is long gone, but you can see where it once stood across the street. Presto Pizza (where Henry sees his first shooting in the movie) was also in the area.
Nearest Subway Station: Euclid Ave
Jackson Hole Airline Diner
The first scene of Henry’s adult life was shot in the parking lot of the Airline Diner. Henry and Tommy (played by Joe Pesci) steal a tractor-trailer from an unsuspecting victim who just happens to leave the truck running with the keys inside. The diner is real, but it’s located in Astoria, near LaGuardia Airport. You can see pictures from the movie throughout the diner.
Nearest Subway Station: Astoria Blvd
Robert’s Lounge served as Jimmy Burke’s (Conway in the film) headquarters up until the Lufthansa heist of December 1978. According to Henry Hill, the heist was planned in the two-story red brick building just south of the Lefferts/Linden intersection in the South Ozone Park section of Queens.
Many cargo workers from the airport gambled at Robert’s. The shooting of Spider (played by a young Michael Imperioli) is said to have taken place in the basement. Henry Hill referred to the bocce courts as Jimmy’s makeshift graveyard. In the 2015 book, The Lufthansa Heist, Hill describes Robert’s as the place where plans for the largest cash robbery in American history were laid out.
Nowadays, it’s a Caribbean restaurant/karaoke bar. Most patrons and staff are likely oblivious to the villainy that went on in that unassuming building in the decades leading up to the heist. On summer days, you can see the chef grilling meat and vegetables on the sidewalk outside the building that countless wiseguys frequented until 1979.
Nearest Subway Station: Lefferts Blvd
The bar scenes in the days after the Lufthansa heist were filmed at Neir’s Tavern, which claims to be the oldest bar in New York City. The iconic scene where Frankie Carbone (a fictional character) shows off his female companion’s new fur coat (much to Jimmy’s dismay) right after Jimmy gets done scolding Johnny Roast Beef (“What’d I tell ya, don’t buy nothin’! You’re gonna get us all pinched!”) about pulling up in a brand new Cadillac was filmed at Neir’s. 78th Street is a one-way street. For filming, they shut down the street. Johnny’s Cadillac is parked in the wrong direction, but hey, obeying the law wasn’t part of these guys everyday lives.
Nearest Subway Station: 75 St-Elderts Lane
The former Clinton Diner has done the most to capitalize on its association with Goodfellas. It even took the name! While Tommy was getting made (whacked), Henry and Jimmy were sitting at a diner waiting for the news. While Henry claims they were in Florida at the time, the scene was shot in the diner, which is located in a warehouse district in Maspeth, Queens. If you look to the west, you can see the top of the World Trade Center from the parking lot.
Nearest Subway Station: Middle Village-Metropolitan Av
Where Tommy Got Whacked
Henry Hill has said that Joe Pesci’s portrayal of the real-life Tommy DeSimone is 90 to 95% accurate. In addition to the changing of his last name and marital status, the scene of his death is also the result of creative licensing. He disappeared in early 1979 and was declared legally dead in 1990, the same year Goodfellas was released.
The true story may never be known, but the house that was used for the murder scene is located at the intersection of 80th Street and Shore Road in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. Bay Ridge is an upscale neighborhood in the western part of Brooklyn. The area between the Belt Parkway (locally known as the Belt Parking Lot by frustrated motorists) and 4th Avenue (which the R train runs under) is known for its quiet streets with private driveways and perfectly mowed lawns. Aircraft from above tend to make more noise than people in the streets.
From 80th Street, you can see the garage where they park their gray Buick. The garage door has since been replaced by a similar looking one and the surrounding area has been painted blue (it’s white in the film), but the surrounding brick and white fence are the same as they appear in the movie.
Nearest Subway Station: 77 St
This looks so cool, I’m a massive fan of the movies and wold love to visit it myself to pretend I’m one of them!!
I once got lost in Brooklyn NY and I was so scared, ha! I love this guide, I am sure to use it when we venture that way. It’s about a 5 hour drive and I plan to go again!
Wow! This is so nice that you traced them. I wonder, are these or similar diners still open in New York? I have not explored much when I was there.
What a great guide! I wish I read this before visiting New York in April. It would have been really helpful.
I just sent your post to my husband, he loves goodfellas! This would be such a fun trip to make and see all those spots first hand!
I’m not familiar with this film. I have always wanted to go to New York. Definitely, I’ll visit these pleaces.
I have never seen Goodfellas, but it can still be interesting visiting places from movies & books. I lived in NYC for several years, but didn’t know about any of these places.
I have been to NYC many times but I have never been to Queens nor I have ever properly visited Brooklyn. I have saved your post for future references.
Wow, I too love to connect movies with the places and destinations they were filmed. Enjoyed reading your article. I have not seen Goodfellas and have neither visited these places. But I am going to watch the movie now (it sounded interesting!) and then come back and read the post again.
This is a really great guide! Will keep this bookmarked for my next visit to NYC whenever that will be! I find it rather interesting to visit places in movies and books. Thank you for sharing!
I love this movie and yes it inspired me to visit some of the places you mentioned during my last trip to New York. Visiting places from movies & books is always fun when traveling abroad.
I don’t make a habit of watching movies like this one, but the concept of creating a travel tour based on the locations of a favorite movie’s scenes is a good one. I know I was highly influenced by the scenery in a movie I once watched, filmed in Santorini, Greece. So much so, that I finally planned a trip there to see it for myself. It is even better than it was in the movie!
This is such an interesting take on a tour through New York. I’ve always been a fan of the movie, but have never been to NYC. If I ever go this would be a great guide to follow and check out these movie sites.
What a great blog post for anyone who loves the film! Originally being from New York, I really enjoyed this. Thanks.
Such a fun way to explore cities!! My husband is such a movie buff and would absolutely love doing a “scene” tour! Thanks for the tips. We lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for 5 years and loved finding places that our favorite movies were filmed at. Now we’re exploring the world so thanks for the inspiration to keep it going!