New Rochelle in Pop Culture

Maybe the words "New Rochelle" by themselves don't bring any images to mind.

But you know it more than you think -- this lavish suburb has been used time and time again in works of popular American fiction, generally to represent the environments of the well to-do.

You have probably seen or heard about it in any of the following outings:

New Rochelle's Guest Starring Spots

    Frank Abagnale Jr.
  • Steven Spielberg's 2002 movie Catch Me if You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks tells the true story of one of New Rochelle's most infamous residents: con man extraordinaire Frank Abagnale Jr., who swindled over a million dollars by impersonating pilots, doctors and lawyers.

  • E.L. Doctorow's classic novel Ragtime starts out thusly: "In 1906, Father built a house at the top of the Broadview Avenue hill in New Rochelle, New York." And the setup is never forgotten: the following story, an epic Americana tale, is anchored by the reaction of wealthy family who resides in the suburb to events around them at the beginning of the 20th century. The subsequent movie version, directed by Milos Forman, was also filmed there.

  • Hedy LaRue, the female lead in the 1960's American musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying breaks out in song several times, fantasizing about the kind of life she will live once she gets married. And her wishes are expressed like this: "New Rochelle, that's the place where the mansion will be for me and the darling bright young man I've picked out for marrying me."

  • Dick van Dyke Show
  • Michael Clayton, the 2007 drama that earned George Clooney his third Oscar nomination, was shot in New Rochelle. In fact, Clooney himself would return to it a year later to shoot the Coen Brother's Burn After Reading next to Brad Pitt.

  • Fans of vintage television may remember that the house Dick van Dyke shared with Mary Tyler Moore in the classic sitcom The Dick van Dyke Show (1961-1966) was set in 148 Bonnie Meadow Road, in New Rochelle. While the show was shot in a Los Angeles studio lot, it does convey the ups and downs of a normal suburban family from upstate New York.