Second Street, Athens, NY, "War of the Worlds"
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member UncaBee
N 42° 15.581 W 073° 48.478
18T E 598319 N 4679297
Quick Description: Athens, N.Y. was one of several sites used in the production of Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 1/5/2006 6:26:04 PM
Waymark Code: WM5PH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member UncaBee
Views: 206

Long Description:

In December of 2004, 1000+ successful recruits converged on the small town of Athens, New York for three cold nights from 8 PM to 6 AM the following morning. Athens' normal population is less than 1,700. We were the “extra” extras for the backgrounds of Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

The entire Athens location appears for about seven minutes on screen.

My shot up Second Avenue:

Frame cap from the movie:

This is a good cover shot in the film looking up Second Street, from the ferry point of view showing the entire site. The alien tripod was added later in special effects, but those 1000 people running down the hill and over the dock onto the ferry were really there. I was one of them and it was a lot of fun.

All of the Athens' scenes take place on the DVD between approximately Chapter 12, 00:56:12 and Chapter 13, 01:02:33. The frames at Chapter 13, 01:00:10 are about as close to my pic as possible.

Here are a few highlights of the Athens shooting site. I may post some other views in the future. There really is an Athens but there is no “Hudson Ferry”, at least not here. The posted coordinates are the approximate spot that Tom Cruise stood in the scene as the burning train goes past. It is in the middle of the street. If you go to Athens, you will find that there is no rail line cutting through the street. The tracks and gates were all really there, extending about 50 feet either side of the intersection, down the middle of Water Street. They were constructed just for this scene, and removed at the finish of the shoot. The train itself was a special effect added later. The Stewart House really does exist and is still there. This building was used as a base of operations for the film crew during the production in Athens. You can see the Stewart House on the right in my uploaded pic.

The Athens Riverside Park is nice area with a pavilion overlooking the Hudson River next to a small cove at the edge of the Hudson River. This is the site where ferry dock and loading ramp bridge were completely constructed several weeks in advance just for the production. It was all removed after the shoot wrapped. It is also the area where the ticket booth for the Hudson Ferry was built just for the production. It is not there now. There is a crane shot of the ferry pulling away in the film which reveals a blue tent in the lower frame. We are to believe in the film that this is a military operations center of some sort, however in reality, this is where Spielberg himself and the other production people were directing the action from. The cars being pushed off the ferry into the river really happened except they were foam mock-ups of cars with battery powered headlights. Guys on ATV's towed them up out of the water and back to the ferry each time the scene was reset for another take. People falling from the rising bridge deck really happened too. The ones that actually went into the freezing water had special cold water diving suits under their costumes. There was a real ferry parked at the dock for the shoot and it really does pull out toward open water, but all of the rest of events on the ferry including the tipping over, were special effects added later or shot on studio locations.

Athens is about 20 miles south of Albany, the capital of New York State. There is nothing left to indicate that there was a War of the Worlds on this spot, but it is a nice little town in the heart of the Catskill Mountains.

Here’s an Athens website for more information on the city.

Movie or TV Show: Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds

Year Released or First Aired: 2,005.00

IMDB Link: [Web Link]

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Wingnut71 visited Second Street, Athens, NY, "War of the Worlds" 7/18/2014 Wingnut71 visited it