Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

1963’s “Love with the Proper Stranger” was a star-vehicle for Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen, who were trying to make the transition into serious drama. But clearly the studio was hesitant to launch these stars into a completely straight drama, and the result is a movie that is uneven and dramatically shifts tones about halfway through. But it does feature some fabulous New York locations, including the former West Washington Market.

The story is about Angie, a Macy’s salesclerk who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand with a musician named Rocky, and asks him to help her find a doctor to perform an abortion. The first half of the film is played as a straight drama, as they go through several hoops to find a doctor and raise the money to pay for the procedure. Then, after they decide to keep the baby, the tone shifts to one of a romantic comedy, with a rather silly climax outside of Macy’s that involves a banjo.

 

The Musicians’ Union Hiring Hall

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After telling Rocky Pappasano that she’s carrying his baby, Angie Rossini storms out of the musicians’ union hiring hall, inside the Level Club at 253 W 73rd Street.

 

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Realizing Rocky is not going to help her find an abortionist, Angie dashes east on W 73rd Street.

 

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Rocky stares dumbfounded.

 

 

Macy’s Department Store

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Angie leaves her job and heads home, exiting Macy’s Department Store at 151 W 34th Street. She goes through a set of doors (which are no longer there) just east 7th Avenue.

 

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She’s about to enter the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue subway station on the corner, when she notices her brothers calling for her.

 

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Her brothers convince her to ride with them in their truck.

 

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The truck drives off, heading west on W 34th Street.

 

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Later on, Angie’s eldest brother, Dominick, catches her on her way out of the store (with the extant building at 201 W 34th Street in the background).

 

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She tells Dominick she’s going on a date, which doesn’t sit well with him.

Meeting in Washington Market

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Rocky goes to talk to a guy in front of 300 Washington Street (between Duane and Reade) who knows a “doctor” who can perform an abortion.

 

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Rocky and Angie head east on Reade towards Greenwich Street, in search of money.

 

Visiting Parents at a Playground

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The scene begins looking west on E 42nd Street towards the Chrysler Building.

 

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Rocky and Angie exit a bus and walk towards Robert Moses Playground at the corner of E 42nd Street and the FDR.

 

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They enter the playground.

 

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They stop to look around near the restroom.

 

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A neighborhood kid, who’s been tailing Rocky and Angie, makes a phone call.

 

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Rocky stands in the basketball court, searching for his parents (note how much the flanking trees have grown over the years).

 

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Rocky catches up with his mother, who offers him some cash.

 

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Angie looks on, with a curious look on her face.

 

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Over on FDR Drive, Angie’s brothers stop their truck and head towards the playground. 

 

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Rocky and Angie escape from the brothers by running through a courtyard on the west side of the playground, heading towards 1 Tudor City Place.

 

Running into a Church

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With a sudden jump in geography, Rocky and Angie continue their escape from the brothers, now in the East Village on E 10th Street 

 

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They run into the St. Marks Church-In-The-Bowery at 131 E 10th Street.

 

Getting the Abortion

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Once they know the coast is clear, Rocky and Angie walk to the “doctor.”

 

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They look at address numbers along E 11th Street.

 

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They finally reach 214-16 E 11th Street, where Angie is supposed to receive an illegal abortion.

 

Barbie’s Apartment

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Earlier in the film, Rocky stumbles out of Barbie’s apartment, and stands on the northeast corner of W 11th Street and W 4th Street.

 

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Later on, after choosing not to go through with the abortion on E 11th Street, Rocky invites Angie to stay at his “friend” Barbie’s apartment at 255 W 11th Street.

 

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Weary, they head up the front stoop.

 

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The next day, Angie’s older brother forces Rocky to return to Barbie’s apartment.

 

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Donning a fresh black eye, Rocky leads the way up the front stoop.

 

 

Angie’s Apartment

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Rocky buys some flowers on E 10th Street, next to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. 

 

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He then dashes across the street to Angie’s apartment at 301 E 10th Street.

 

Back at Macy’s

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Back at Macy’s, Angie exits the store.

 

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She notices a large crowd surrounding a guy playing the banjo and displaying a peculiar sign.

 

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When she gets closer, she realizes that it’s Rocky.

 

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Angie walks away, going south across W 34th Street.

 

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Rocky chases after Angie, grabs her and gives her a long passionate kiss, much to the amusement of (real NYC) passersby.

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