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007's New York (Part 3)

26th September 2010

See New York City, 007 style. Let MI6 be your guide to exploring locations from Ian Fleming's novels

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Continuing from Part II...

Nightlife
By now you're full and wanting to enjoy some of the nightlife. Bond is a little more adventurous than most of us, and spends most of his nights out in Harlem.

Firstly he goes to Sugar Ray's on 7th Avenue and West 123rd Street, with Leiter. Sugar Ray Robinson was a legendary boxer and is still considered to be by many the greatest boxer that ever lived. His restaurant was frequented by Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole and Jackie Gleason - as well as Commander Bond of the British Secret Service. Leiter and Bond drink Scotch and sodas – Haig & Haig Pinch bottle. Like so many New York establishments of Fleming's time, it's not there anymore.

After their drink at Sugar Ray's, Bond and Leiter go on to Ma Frazier's, described by Leiter as the "best food in Harlem." Here they have a meal of Little Neck Clams and Maryland Fried Chicken with bacon and sweet corn. This restaurant was further up 7th Avenue, but it too seems to have vanished.

Above: (left) The Savoy ballroom in the heart of Harlem and (right) Sugar Ray's, the haunt of the legendary boxer.

Bond and Leiter head out to the Savoy Ballroom. Here they enjoy another Scotch and soda and the dancing girls, before Leiter is able to bribe the location of Mr. Big from someone. The Savoy Ballroom was located on 140th and 141st Streets and Lenox Avenue, now Malcolm X Boulevard. It closed down in 1958 and was later demolished; however you will now find a commemorative plaque where the Ballroom once stood.

From the Savoy they go "Yeah Man" on 7th Avenue and finally on to Mr. Big's "Boneyard" on Lenox Avenue, where they are given table Z that sinks into the floor. The exact location of The Boneyard is not revealed.

Places of Interest
If you want to really look at some rocks, pop into Tiffany's on 5th. Obviously there is a Bond connection there with Tiffany Case. However, if you head to West 46th Street, about half way down is where Fleming describes the location for The House Of Diamonds, where Bond drops off his diamond filled golf balls with Shady Tree in "Diamonds Are Forever". When Bond exits, he turns right towards 6th Ave, which makes The House Of Diamonds on the North side of the street, between 5th and 6th Aves, approximately number 33.

When Bond leaves The House Of Diamonds, he has a feeling he is being followed. He walks down West 46th Street towards 6th Avenue, and then turns right, ducking into the first store that he comes across, which turns out to be a ladies underwear store. Here Felix Leiter gets the drop on him and Bond realises that Leiter was following him from the front. This store would have been approximately 1180 6th Avenue, although the building that was once there has since been knocked down and replaced.

In "Casino Royale", Bond describes how he makes his first kill in New York.

"...the Rockefeller centre, where the Japs had their consulate. I took a room on the fortieth floor of the next-door skyscraper and I could look across the street into his room..."

The Rockefeller Centre is easy to find. It's between 5th and 6th Avenues, and West 49th and West 50th. The location of the building Bond shot from is harder to nail down, seeing as the landscape has changed so much since the 1940s, when Bond would have been there earning his 00.

Stick around the Rockefeller Centre, however, as it is here that Bond makes contact with the English girl who had once worked for the Secret Service and was now, unbeknownst to her, living with a Russian KGB agent. They meet at the skating rink in Rockefeller Plaza, a location picked at the last moment when it became clear that Central Park Zoo didn't have a reptile house.

Above: The impressive tower of the Rockefeller Centre - the locale that Bond describes as the site of his first kill.


Above: The Plaza Hotel.

In 'Diamonds Are Forever', Bond and Felix arrange to meet outside The Plaza Hotel by the horse cabs. This is at the South end of Central Park, on the corner of 5th Ave and W59th, opposite the Apple Store.

In "Live and Let Die", Bond is captured and tortured by Mr. Big in his Harlem base of operations. On escaping, Bond drives several blocks on an unknown road, jumping traffic lights, until he eventually hits traffic and slows. Here he turns left and finds himself on Park Avenue and East 116th.

This does give some indication as to the location of Mr.Big's operation; although it does somewhat contradict itself. The Boneyard, Mr. Big's club, is on Lennox Avenue, only a block or so away from the liquor warehouse that acts as his base, however, Bond's journey would mean that the warehouse was on the other side of 6th Avenue to the East, away from Lennox, as you cannot turn left and head downtown from the West.

When Bond leaves with Solitaire in "Live and Let Die", he goes from Penn Station, 7th and West 32nd street.

Penn Station, from which Bond and Solitaire leave New York City
Above: Penn Station, from which Bond and Solitaire leave New York City.

Unknown Locations
The Hi-Speed Trucking Corp. was the name of Goldfinger's cover company in New York for Operation Grand Slam. Bond is unable to tell exactly where he is as he has only the sounds of the river to go on. Bond surmises it is either on the Hudson or the East River, and its specific location is never stated.

A little known fact is that Bond once owned an apartment somewhere in New York. Where it was, when he lived there and for how long is never revealed.

About The Author
Ben is a freelance writer living in London, with a passion for architecture, design, fashion, food & drink, and travel. Ben has contributed to a number of event reports as well as historical content relating to James Bond lifestyle. He maintains the weblog: doubleonothing.com.

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