Last month, I finally visited New York. It was a dream come true. And while I had some old friends I wanted to see, my main goal during my stay was to do a television and movie tour. Many of my favorite movies and TV shows have been filmed in the Big Apple, and I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my favorite actors. Here’s a list of all the spots I went and some tips to help you get the most out of your tour.
1. Wollman Rink, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992)
Great ideas come from creative environments, and what’s better than ice skating while plotting your next move? It worked for Marv and Harry. This time though, bring your own scarf.
Address: 830 5th Ave, Central Park, New York
Pro tip: As of today, the entrance fee is $40, and the place is quite crowded (especially towards Christmas). If you want a similar experience at half the price, walk 20 minutes south to the rink at Bryant Park.
2. Coffee and diamonds, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)
Still the most elegant opening scene in the history of Hollywood, it’s impossible not to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s without being a bit envious. Walking into the Tiffany’s store in New York, you’ll get a small taste of what it must have been like to be Holly Golightly.
Address: Tiffany’s, 727 5th Ave, New York
Pro tip: If you want to get Audrey’s shot, do as she did. The filming of the scene took place very early on a Sunday morning. Don’t forget the coffee and the Danish pastry!
3. Late-night conversations, “Manhattan” (1979)
“Boy, this is really a great city, I don’t care what anybody says – it’s really a knock-out, you know?” This all-time favorite scene takes place after hours of witty conversation when Diane Keaton’s character asks Woody Allen if he wants to walk by the river. It all culminates in the famous scene under the bridge.
Address: Sutton Place Park near Queensboro Bridge, New York.
Pro tip: The bridge scene was shot around 4-5am in the morning. Unless you want to freeze, save your late-night conversation for summer.
4. Pastrami sandwich, “When Harry Met Sally” (1989)
“I’ll have what she’s having.” Who can forget Meg Ryan’s legendary pastrami sandwich performance at the Katz diner? As a vegetarian myself, I skipped the sandwich, but, for you meat eaters, this is a required addition to the film site visit.
Address: Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 E Houston Street, New York.
Pro tip: The table where they sat can be spotted thanks to a sign affixed above that reads, “Where Harry met Sally… Hope you’re having what she had! Enjoy.”
5. Frozen Hot Chocolate, “Serendipity” (2001)
Two strangers have a “serendipitous” encounter at Bloomingdale’s, then go for frozen hot chocolate. If you want to spot the table where the actors sat, ask for the “Star table.”
Address: Serendipity 3, 225 E 60th Street, New York
Pro tip: The place opens at 11 am, but, to avoid the lines and get the perfect shot of the store, you may want to get there earlier.
6. The One, FRIENDS (1994 – 2004)
Best. Comedy sitcom. EVER. Even if it was all filmed in the studio, the outside of the apartment block where Monica & company lived was an exterior shot from an actual building. Worth the visit if you were raised watching the show!
Address: 90 Bedford Street, New York.
Pro tip: The best shot from the building can be taken from the opposite side of Grove Street, next to the lamp post.
7. Bane vs Batman, “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)
I love this movie, mostly because Bane makes a marvelous villain. From all the pretty epic body-to-body fights between him and Batman, the one that takes place on Wall Street surrounded by his mob and the Gotham police is definitely my top pick.
Address: Wall Street and William Street, Manhattan, New York
Pro tip: The building with tall pillars in which the confrontation between Batman and Bane takes place is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; nevertheless, the scene was shot in the fourth-floor lobby of the Mellon Institute (Gotham’s City Hall).
8. Kathleen Kelly’s apartment, “You’ve Got Mail” (1999)
I’ve always been a huge fan of Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly, maybe because owning a library doesn’t sound like such a bad plan, and maybe because I just love Meg Ryan. Either way, the outside of Kathleen’s apartment, is a must-visit.
Address: 328 West 89th Street and Riverside Drive, New York
Pro tip: If you also want to find Joe’s apartment, don’t let the movie fool you. The building it’s in fact at 210 Riverside Drive.
9. The Met Steps, “Gossip Girl” (2007 – 2012)
“Spotted on the steps of the Met: an S. and B. power struggle.” Going to New York and missing out on Gossip Girl locations is simply unforgivable. To get started on your redemption, there’s no better place to go than the iconic Met steps. Just be careful not to sit any step higher than Blair and her minions; otherwise, your social life could be over.
XOXO, Gossip Girl
Address: The Metropolitan Museum, 1000 5th Ave and 82nd Street, New York
Pro tip: Grab a coffee at Dean & Deluca on 85th & Madison to feel like the true Queen B.
10. The Big Stage
Whoever you are: a Godfather fan; a Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda; a Woody Allen-aficionado; an Audrey Hepburn-lover; or a Wall Street freak, New York is the place to go to see the backdrop of your favorite scenes.
Pro tip: If there is anything to learn from “Begin Again” (2013) it’s the power that music has to transform New York. Before packing your bags, make sure your playlist is on point.