Historic Queens Streets Make Cameo in New 'Great Gatsby' Film

By Jeanmarie Evelly on March 4, 2013 5:19pm 

ASTORIA — Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire won't be the only recognizable sights in "The Great Gatsby," director Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film remake of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic.

Several notable Queens locations featured in the story will also make an appearance in the 3-D movie, which is scheduled for release in May. The Greater Astoria Historical Society (GAHS) worked as a historical consultant on the film, supplying archived photographs to the production company to help them accurately capture Queens in the 1920s.

“We sent them hundreds of images,” said Bob Singleton, GAHS president. “What they’re doing is creating New York in the early 1920s in 3-D.”

Those historical images will be part of a new GAHS exhibit, “Northern Boulevard in The Footsteps of Gatsby,” which opens Monday night.

The exhibit features early images of several Queens streets and neighborhoods that featured predominantly in the book and new film, including Northern Boulevard, the route that links Jay Gatsby and the other characters to Manhattan from their gilded Long Island homes.

Other Queens locations to appear in the film include a swath of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park — a former ash dump that inspired the book's “Valley of the Ashes" setting — as well as the Queensboro Bridge, which Fitzgerald referred to as "the great bridge."

According to Singleton, most of the Luhrmann film was shot against blue screens in Australia, meaning the New York scenes had to be re-created based on the historical images.

"It's pretty neat," he said, adding that the exhibit will show their own archived photos as well as stills from the movie, so visitors can see the recreation firsthand.

"What the exhibit shows is how the film company worked with us as historians," he said.

GAHS will open the exhibit Monday night with a lecture on the history of Northern Boulevard, followed by a look at the film's interpretation of the locations. The lecture starts at 7 p.m. and costs $5, while the photo exhibit will be on display through June.

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