Saturday, May 25, 2024

Sweet Smell of Success: Brill Building Landmarked


According to the New York Times, the Brill Building has been designated a landmark. It’s safe from greedy real estate developers and university boards of directors.

There’s plenty of history in the Brill Building. In the early 60s it was famously home to the cadre of pop songwriters employed by Phil Spector, Don Kirschner, and others. Many of them actually worked in 1650 Broadway, but the Brill was the center of activity. The result is “the Brill Building sound that gave us — among other things– Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, and “The Locomotion.”

The Brill Building figures in movie history, too. It’s the building where Burt Lancaster’s J.J. Hunsecker lives in “The Sweet Smell of Success.” It’s been altered for the film, but that’s the Brill starring in one of the best movies of all time.Woody Allen also used it for the title character’s office in the brilliant, “Broadway Danny Rose.”

Also landmarked, according to the Times, Lexington Avenue between 71st and 75th Streets. It’s about time. Real New York keeps eroding, or being stolen. If only the commission could have stopped New York University from raping Greenwich Village. But that’s another story.

PS The Brill Building remains vibrant: it is now home to the beloved Broadway Screening Room, and to Lorne Michaels‘ Broadway Video.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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