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AlexGRFan97

Real Life NY Businesses in GTA III

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AlexGRFan97

You've probably seen them thousands of times, but did you know that a large majority of the shops and restaurants in GTA III are (or were) actual businesses that were operating in New York circa 2000 at the time that III was being developed? I discovered this by accident when going through txd.img and looking up a few of the shop names. This is what I've found so far:

 

 

Goodfellas Trattoria

GTA III:

 

Goodfellas.jpg

Note that this texture is used a lot in two variants, this is the lower quality texture but the screenshot was the highest res I could find.

 

Real Life:

 

Now, I could not find a photo of this restaurant in any form except for three photos of the interior from this article dating from 2000, meaning GTA III's shop texture is the only documented exterior photograph of this restaurant in any capacity. The location of this restaurant was 91 Christopher St., West Village.

 

 

(West 109) Gourmet Deli

GTA III:

 

Gourmet_Deli.jpg

 

Real Life:

 

Gourmet_Deli_RL.jpg

This photo was taken a few years after it was used in GTA III and although the logo and fascia is slightly different, the one defining factor that proves it's the same establishment is the bulky air conditioning unit resting awkwardly on top of the doorframe and underneath the awning, in addition to the same font used on the logo.

 

 

H&W Seafood Co. Inc.

GTA III:

 

H_W_Seafood.jpg

Note that some buildings do omit the "H&W" section of the logo, however, on the example pictured above it is not. So this is the picture we will use.

 

Real Life:

 

H_W_Seafood_RL.jpg

A slight name change from Co. Inc. to Co., in addition to what appears to be a changed phone number unless R* meddled with it, but largely remains the same as its appearance in GTA III. Located on 17 Ludlow St., Chinatown.

 

 

Joe's Pizza

GTA III:

 

Joe_s_Pizza.jpg

 

Real Life:

 

Joe_s_Pizza_RL.jpg

Very well known celebrated award-winning Pizzeria on 7 Carmine St., Manhattan. Had a slightly different appearance in LCS, but doesn't change the fact that when it originally appeared in III it was a carbon copy of the real restaurant pictured above.

 

 

(Centre Seafood) Live Lobster & Seafoods

GTA III:

 

Live_Lobster.jpg

Best screencap I could find of it lol, but it does its job.

 

Real Life:

 

Live_Lobster_RL.jpg

Described on Google as "Rustic" and "time-tested", this Chinese Seafood restaurant on 206 Centre St., Little Italy appears to use the same signage today as it did back in the days of III's development when it was photographed.

 

 

(Union Square) Magazine Shop

GTA III:

 

Magazine_Shop.jpg

Note that the texture has been quite clearly edited to the right of "Shop", this is presumably the empty space the text left once the "Union Square" part was crudely removed. In addition, take note of the purple neon towards the back of the shop.

 

Real Life:

 

Magazine_Shop_RL.jpg

The purple neon from before is still very visible on this magazine store located on 43 Union Square East, with this photo that was taken over a decade later. It has since changed its appearance significantly in recent years, but it is still very recognizable from its' impromptu appearance in GTA III.

 

 

Pink Pussy Cat Boutique

GTA III:

 

PPCB.png

The above screenshot may be from the Ghost Town as indicated by the radar, but I swear I have seen this place somewhere before in Portland. Do feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Real Life:

 

PPCB_RL.jpg

This one was copied practically verbatim from the original photo of this boutique located in West 4th Street, all the way down to the ladder extension dangling off the edge of the building, and the neons in the window.

 

 

(MLT Jewelry) [Thunco] Trading Inc.

GTA III:

 

Thunco.jpg

 

Real Life:

 

Thunco_RL.jpg

Was only able to figure out this one due to the address still present on the original texture, 185 Centre St., which was occupied at the time by a business known as MLT Jewelry Trading Co. Inc., and has since renamed itself to New Top Jewelry.

 

 

Note there are more, mostly in the Ghost Town area in cases such as Trattoria Spaghetto but as you just saw plenty of them were on the regular accessible map, so I wonder how R* were never sued for copyright reasons considering these are real places that were put in the game without changing their logos/names. On some of them you can see they changed the phone numbers, but the names were left intact to a lesser or greater degree, a lot of them remaining completely unchanged.

>inb4 "who cares lol it's a 15 y/o game"

Just thought it was something interesting in III that I haven't seen many people talk about, with the wiki making vague mentions on certain articles. Also an excuse to test out my compacted post spoiler format which I plan to put into use on a much larger scale for an upcoming thread of much more importance.

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monq

This is good.

 

By the way, there are some textures, especially around Chinatown, where the numbers (like phone numbers) are crudely removed/modified.

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Rim

Interesting findings. I have one more:

 

GTAIII

 

 

vPvTRGU.png

 

 

 

Irl

 

 

djII6fc.jpgUdEQOr0.jpg

 

 

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Inadequate

Nice findings!

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gts.

Interesting findings. I have one more...

 

GTA III:

 

vPvTRGU.png

 

 

 

Real life:

 

 

djII6fc.jpg

UdEQOr0.jpg

 

 

 

Interesting. All real life photos/images was taken in 1997. Here is some ones more...

 

 

MceATbG.jpg

cKcb9Mf.jpg

 

 

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Gravarty

Holy f*ck.. I'm just realising how poorly made the buildings are.. Just look at rwms. post, the door on the left is bigger than the store itself :D Sure, there are a lot of buildings in all GTA 3D's maps that have wrong sized doors etc.. but this is just ridiculous :D

But nice findings though, this is really interesting.

 

More Stuff:

 

Freiman Coated Fabric Corp:

Liberty City:

 

 

 

jl5yqjxr.jpg

 

 

 

RL

 

 

 

wesr56pw.jpg

 

 

Edited by countergame

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unopieceo

Woooo found one

 

STEPS CLOTHING COMPANY

 

III

 

SfdBP9l.jpg

 

 

IRL

 

Mde6ZcA.jpg

 

 

Im surprised they kept that daggy sign with the painted over "every item $10" for so long

Edited by unopieceo

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crashoverride93

Wow that's crazy

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PhillBellic

That's pretty amazing. I wonder if any of these Businesses ever saw an increase in Trade as a result of the free Advertising?

 

Great Finds, Alex. :):^:

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Doctor Dollars

I'd love to walk in some of those businesses and show them on my iphone that they exist in a video game.

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Indy007

You've probably seen them thousands of times, but did you know that a large majority of the shops and restaurants in GTA III are (or were) actual businesses that were operating in New York circa 2000 at the time that III was being developed? I discovered this by accident when going through txd.img and looking up a few of the shop names. This is what I've found so far:

 

 

Goodfellas Trattoria

GTA III:

 

Goodfellas.jpg

Note that this texture is used a lot in two variants, this is the lower quality texture but the screenshot was the highest res I could find.

 

Real Life:

 

Now, I could not find a photo of this restaurant in any form except for three photos of the interior from this article dating from 2000, meaning GTA III's shop texture is the only documented exterior photograph of this restaurant in any capacity. The location of this restaurant was 91 Christopher St., West Village.

 

 

(West 109) Gourmet Deli

GTA III:

 

Gourmet_Deli.jpg

 

Real Life:

 

Gourmet_Deli_RL.jpg

This photo was taken a few years after it was used in GTA III and although the logo and fascia is slightly different, the one defining factor that proves it's the same establishment is the bulky air conditioning unit resting awkwardly on top of the doorframe and underneath the awning, in addition to the same font used on the logo.

 

 

H&W Seafood Co. Inc.

GTA III:

 

H_W_Seafood.jpg

Note that some buildings do omit the "H&W" section of the logo, however, on the example pictured above it is not. So this is the picture we will use.

 

Real Life:

 

H_W_Seafood_RL.jpg

A slight name change from Co. Inc. to Co., in addition to what appears to be a changed phone number unless R* meddled with it, but largely remains the same as its appearance in GTA III. Located on 17 Ludlow St., Chinatown.

 

 

Joe's Pizza

GTA III:

 

Joe_s_Pizza.jpg

 

Real Life:

 

Joe_s_Pizza_RL.jpg

Very well known celebrated award-winning Pizzeria on 7 Carmine St., Manhattan. Had a slightly different appearance in LCS, but doesn't change the fact that when it originally appeared in III it was a carbon copy of the real restaurant pictured above.

 

 

(Centre Seafood) Live Lobster & Seafoods

GTA III:

 

Live_Lobster.jpg

Best screencap I could find of it lol, but it does its job.

 

Real Life:

 

Live_Lobster_RL.jpg

Described on Google as "Rustic" and "time-tested", this Chinese Seafood restaurant on 206 Centre St., Little Italy appears to use the same signage today as it did back in the days of III's development when it was photographed.

 

 

(Union Square) Magazine Shop

GTA III:

 

Magazine_Shop.jpg

Note that the texture has been quite clearly edited to the right of "Shop", this is presumably the empty space the text left once the "Union Square" part was crudely removed. In addition, take note of the purple neon towards the back of the shop.

 

Real Life:

 

Magazine_Shop_RL.jpg

The purple neon from before is still very visible on this magazine store located on 43 Union Square East, with this photo that was taken over a decade later. It has since changed its appearance significantly in recent years, but it is still very recognizable from its' impromptu appearance in GTA III.

 

 

Pink Pussy Cat Boutique

GTA III:

 

PPCB.png

The above screenshot may be from the Ghost Town as indicated by the radar, but I swear I have seen this place somewhere before in Portland. Do feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Real Life:

 

PPCB_RL.jpg

This one was copied practically verbatim from the original photo of this boutique located in West 4th Street, all the way down to the ladder extension dangling off the edge of the building, and the neons in the window.

 

 

(MLT Jewelry) [Thunco] Trading Inc.

GTA III:

 

Thunco.jpg

 

Real Life:

 

Thunco_RL.jpg

Was only able to figure out this one due to the address still present on the original texture, 185 Centre St., which was occupied at the time by a business known as MLT Jewelry Trading Co. Inc., and has since renamed itself to New Top Jewelry.

 

 

Note there are more, mostly in the Ghost Town area in cases such as Trattoria Spaghetto but as you just saw plenty of them were on the regular accessible map, so I wonder how R* were never sued for copyright reasons considering these are real places that were put in the game without changing their logos/names. On some of them you can see they changed the phone numbers, but the names were left intact to a lesser or greater degree, a lot of them remaining completely unchanged.

>inb4 "who cares lol it's a 15 y/o game"

Just thought it was something interesting in III that I haven't seen many people talk about, with the wiki making vague mentions on certain articles. Also an excuse to test out my compacted post spoiler format which I plan to put into use on a much larger scale for an upcoming thread of much more importance.

This is a fantastic post! Thanks so much for taking the time to share it! I knew about the Joe's Pizza and when I first saw it I was pretty ecstatic because there's also a Joe's Pizza here in LA which of course is part of the same chain in NY. So cool!

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Glumok

Amazing work, AlexGRFan97!

I'm currently working on a HD version of the GTA III textures (I know there are plenty of mods for that, but none is really accurate to the real locations in my opinion).
So, during my research to find the real counterpart of the GTA III businesses, I've found some good ones:

One of the police station is based on this police station located at 306 West 54th St. New York, NY 10019


HSKxKD6.jpg




I also found the real life "Sommers Real Estate", it was located at 353 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (it is now definitely closed).


SqcDzXQ.jpg

 


As for the Goodfellas Trattoria, here is the best comparison I could find:


VA2afVf.jpg

 



Now, there is one location I wonder where it is. Anybody knows?


tLwC8Ms.jpg

 

Edited by Glumok

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Inadequate

Now, there is one location I wonder where it is. Anybody knows?

 

tLwC8Ms.jpg

 

 

This is in-game? Where's it exactly?

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Glumok

 

This is in-game? Where's it exactly?

 

It appears at least once on the central island, not far from the stadium, close to the bridge:

 

 

wSrximZ.jpg

 

 

 

UPDATE: Ah! Got it! It is located at... 366 Brodway, New York City. Unfortunately, I can't find any good front picture of it.

 

 

EcdGN7E.jpg

 

 

Edited by Glumok

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unopieceo

Noice. Broadway wouldve been my first gues thats where R* headquarters are located and from the looks of it they spent a lot of time just wandering around locally taking reference shots

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stef_92

@Glumok you might wanna check this mod before starting your own.

http://gtaforums.com/topic/399016-iii-xbox-version-hd

Maybe the things you wan to do were already done ;) If I remember correctly Rim used the same textures but he found the original sources in high quality.

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gts.

Interesting how R* didn't care about edit at least a little bit the original source, I like it. Great find!

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Glumok

@Glumok you might wanna check this mod before starting your own. [...]Rim used the same textures but he found the original sources in high quality.

Thanks for the info! I've already checked this mod (among some others) to see what the quality is. He and his team did an amazing job!

But I'm looking for way higher image resolution for the textures. See the comparison below:

 

 

G18AkXH.jpg

 

 

 

Also, here is an other real life place I've located in GTA III. I don't know how this building is named in the game, but it is based on the Rockfeller Plaza entrance, located at 50 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan:

 

 

TQ7TWbv.jpg

 

 

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gts.

Hahaha, this is amazing. Great find Glumok, I always liked that building in GTA3.

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stef_92

2048x2048 is way too high for an old engine like renderware. GTA 3 graphics are poorly optimized. If all building textures are like that the game would run slow even on some high end machines. 512x512 is a good alter ative and it's still better ghan the vanilla128x128 textures. But if you have the time retexturing LC I would be interested to see the results. It would be laggy af on my PC but I can give it a try.

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Glumok

2048x2048 is way too high for an old engine like renderware.

Oh this I know! It's not to run the game with, but rather for rendering in a 3D software :)

It's crazy how, even with such low-poly modeled city, high resolution textures plus a global illumination/ambient occlusion combo can give a "realistic" rendering to old Liberty City!

 

 

FexSmUc.jpg

 

 

 

That being said, if anyone is willing to convert those 2048x2048 targa textures to 512x512 txd textures, it'll be a pleasure to share them!

Edited by Glumok

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stef_92

These renders look awesome. Even better than the static light/shadow maps implemented in the xbox version. Well you should contact Rim and show him some of your textures. He might like them.

Edited by stef_92

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Rim

Also, here is an other real life place I've located in GTA III. I don't know how this building is named in the game, but it is based on the Rockfeller Plaza entrance, located at 50 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan:

 

 

TQ7TWbv.jpg

 

 

That's a brilliant find, Glumok. I always wondered where this place really was IRL.

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Glumok
Posted (edited)

Hey!

 

I'm back with some more news comparisons of businesses in GTA 3 versus in real life!

 

 

I start with the "Video Video" video shop:

 

 

INOiOFv.jpg

 

In real life, it is located at 727 6th Avenue, NYC

 

 

 

Then, the "Margot Bistrot Café":

 

 

Ob5C2Y0.jpg

 

In real life, it is located at 27 Prince Street, NYC

 

 

 

"Trattoria Spaghetto"

 

 

wc1YGcM.jpg

 

It is located at 232 Bleecker St, NYC

 

 

 

"Birthday Suit" (I can't decipher the name on the awning. "The Jack Toe/Doe"?)

 

 

I2Ymnoz.jpg

 

Located here at 163 West 4th Street, NYC. Trivia: it is just next to the "Pink Pussy Cat" Boutique!

 

 

 

And finally, this random "Coffee Shop Bar" neon sign.

 

 

wWVBEBw.jpg

 

Location is unknown.

 

 

Edited by Glumok

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gts.

Hey!

 

I'm back with some more news comparisons of businesses in GTA 3 versus in real life!

 

Then, the "Margot Bistrot Café":

 

 

Ob5C2Y0.jpg

 

In real life, it is located at 27 Prince Street, NYC

 

 

Nice editing to censore the real phone number. :D

 

As always, great findings!

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jaljax

This is very interesting , nice find's.

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GTA_CAT

It's amazing how actually game developers really took inspiration from real places just to make the game deeper and more real. I would have never said that this fact was true. Nice posts though. How did you find all those places?

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Glumok
Posted (edited)

How did you find all those places?

 

The easiest ones are the ones with the name on it (such as the Margot Bistrot Café), a simple search on Google and it's done!

Some others are more tricky to find, I search the bits of info available (partial phone number on the texture image, name of the files in the game files, ...) on internet, until I find something.

Finally, I found some of them by dropping the texture image into Google Images and, with a bit of luck, there is a good result with an image similar to the texture (such as the Rockfeller Plaza entrance).

Edited by Glumok

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AlexGRFan97

Came back to this thread to see how it got on in my absence, still fairly active and thanks very much to @Glumok for picking up where I left off. Anyone know why the pics in OP no longer work? Did GTAForums change their policy on images this past year or something?

There's one shop back in 2016 I couldn't find evidence of at all no matter what search terms I used and I believe it was a heavily decrepit Steve Madden store, judging from what was left of the front fascia. It's one of the very run-down buildings with boarded up/smashed windows and the like.

Then, the "Margot Bistrot Café":

 

 

Ob5C2Y0.jpg

 

In real life, it is located at 27 Prince Street, NYC

 

 

Not too sure on how old that photo is, but notice how even the AC unit still has the same dents/marks as it did back in 2000 when it was photographed for GTA III?

This whole thing is still very odd to me even now. How this game was released, bought by millions upon millions of people and regularly played for so many years and yet no-one noticed the shops they drove past were real places. Especially players from the New York area who would've seen those shops on a day to day basis back in the late 90s/early 00s. I'm occasionally reminded of the constant developmental headaches Team Soho had when they made The Getaway which ended up releasing with half the cars hidden away due to manufacturers not wanting their cars associated with a game like this, as well as BT who demanded the game be recalled as one of the missions involved the main character impersonating one of their employees to kill a cop. And that game sold one eighth the amount that GTA III did.

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