Lights, Camera, Drive!

Time for a bit of fun and nostalgia from when the Tappan Zee Bridge was new, and tolls were 50 cents. Thanks to Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell and his wife Vicki Hudson for solving the mystery of locations in the famous driving scene from “BUtterfield 8.”

Except a sign providing key information (second still) is unidentifiable, and you, dear readers, can help.

Fixell, who grew up in Valley Cottage two miles from where the below scene was filmed — and whose acuity is sharper than mine — went right to the source (click on the above link). He believes the first still is Route 303 southbound in West Nyack, approaching what is now the Palisades Mall, with the Thruway overpass in the background. I incorrectly pictured our heroine Liz Taylor driving on Route 119 in Tarrytown. Nope.

to the Thruway

The second still is the same general area, only seen from different angles, with the camera looking back up (facing east) the service road to the same traffic light on 303. Oops. I guessed Exit 9 in Tarrytown leading to Route 119. Uh-uh.

Where the road forks to the right (almost in front of the house) is a white sign with dark lettering and arrows indicating direction. If anyone can enlarge that sign to read what it says, please post your results as a comment.

on the road

Notice the toll amount in the third screenshot. When one-way toll collection was adopted August 12, 1970, toll booths on the northbound lanes were removed. And while fares have increased significantly in the past 50-plus years, for the remainder of 2014 they’ll remain at status quo: cars pay $5 cash, $4.75 with E-ZPass®, and commuters pay $3 (20-trip booklet for $60).


Thanks again to Mayor Fixell and Ms. Hudson for identifying the full movie clip, which includes Central and West Nyack, Stony Point, and Elmsford. The eerily empty Thruway approaching the bridge might have been Hollywood’s permission pass to film that day; here’s the same view today seen from a live NYSTA webcam (fifth from the top of the page).

approach to the TZB

While the view is forever changed, it’s documented in a famous car chase with several technical bloopers. I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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