WEEKEND HISTORY: SAN JUAN HILL

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Several commenters on a post about violence in the West 90’s referenced West Side Story and the San Juan Hill neighborhood where some of the scenes in the movie were set. San Juan Hill was a neighborhood in the Lincoln Square area that stretched from about 59th to 65th street, and from Amsterdam Avenue to the 11th Avenue railroad tracks.

The video below, from the New York Times, traces the history of the neighborhood. San Juan Hill was “the most congested most concentrated black neighborhood in Manhattan” and a hugely important area in New York’s musical history.

Image is a screenshot from the video.

HISTORY | 4 comments | permalink
    1. Kenneth says:

      Many of the exterior scenes from the film version of West Side Story were shot in the already emptied neighborhoods slated for demolition to make way for the construction of Lincoln Center. The demolition and subsequent construction were delayed to permit filming.

    2. Bruce Bernstein says:

      I just looked at the video. excellent “lost history” of the West Side. Thank you for posting this.

    3. JEAN LAWRENCE says:

      THANKS FOR THE HISTORY LESSON…. GOOD TO KNOW. MORE, MORE, MORE.

    4. LincolnTowersResident says:

      Thank you for this post. I live in that area and did some research a few years back on San Juan Hill when it was the 50th anniversary of West Side Story. I was fascinated and saddened to learn the lost history of the neighborhood and it was hard to find any photos of the area pre 1960. I found photos of my building 303 west 66, one of the first Lincoln Towers area new building, in some of the promo shots for the film. Want to learn more…