Hollywood has captured it like no one else on screen but seeing some of these locations in person is a blast. Are you ready? 3, 2, 1... and action!
1. The Friends flat in the West Village
Since its premiere in 1994, the legendary series Friends has never stopped adding new fans to its ranks who are totally hooked on the adventures of this group of friends in their twenties as they try to find their place in New York.
It's been almost twenty years since the show ended but it managed to make its way into the hearts of viewers and we fans haven't forgotten Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe. In fact, it is still in the news as many of us are hoping for a reunion of the main characters in the near future, either in film or television.
Until that long-awaited day arrives, we will always have the fantastic episodes of Friends to revisit and the opportunity to see some of the locations in New York where they filmed a TV and film tour of New York City.
This is the case of the building where Monica, Rachel, Chandler and Joey lived and where most of the action takes place in the series.
Where is it?
It islocated in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood, specifically on the corner of Grove Street and Bedford Street. As you will see, the exterior of the real building differs slightly from the fictional one, as it does not have the terraces from which the group spied on their famous nudist neighbour.
Unfortunately, you can't actually see the inside of the stars' flats as Friends was filmed in studios in Los Angeles.
2. The Ghostbusters Firehouse in Tribeca
Ghostbusters is one of those 80's movies that never goes out of style. We all remember the team of parapsychologists who roamed the streets of New York looking for pesky ectoplasms that got trapped in this world and went on a rampage.
Over time Ghostbusters became a cult film and has so many fans that in fact a remake was made in 2016 with an all-female cast.
In New York you can relive the nostalgia of this film by visiting some of its locations. The most iconic of these is the Ghostbusters headquarters in Tribeca, another stop on the New York City bus tour of film locations.
Where is it?
It'slocated at 14 N Moore Street, in one of New York's trendiest neighbourhoods known for its old industrial buildings that have been converted into residential lofts and trendy cafes and boutiques.
The famous Ghostbusters headquarters is a building that has served as the firehouse for Tribeca's Hook & Ladder Company 8 since 1903. You'll identify it by its distinctive red door.
The offices featured in the film were a set, so the interior of the building is not open to visitors. However, the firefighters who work at Hook & Ladder are well aware of the fame of the place, so they live with the flashbulbs of onlookers who come here to take a souvenir photo.
You can take advantage of your visit to Tribeca to wander around the neighbourhood and explore its designer shops, art galleries, restaurants and bars.
3. Carrie Bradshaw's flat from Sex and the City, Upper East Side
Between 1998 and 2004, Sex and the City was broadcast, the unforgettable sitcom that, with a fresh and fun look, showed the universe of dating in New York through a group of friends in their thirties who had all sorts of ups and downs in their quest to find love.
Such was its success that a few years after the end of the series, fans missed it so much that two more films were made. Such is the nostalgia for Sex and the City that a sequel to the series, And Just Like That..., has recently been released, which will explore the reality of these women's lives and friendships in their fifties.
This miniseries promises to add new locations to the Sex and the City location tour for fans to enjoy, the most iconic of which is Carrie Bradshaw's Upper East Side flat. However, in real life her flat is located in a different neighbourhood.
Where is it?
Carrie's flat is actually at 66 Perry Street in the West Village. In the series she lives on a much less photogenic Upper East Side street, E73rd Street. No wonder they chose the West Village to film!
You'll recognise it by its brownstone façade and the little staircase Carrie Bradshaw used to climb to get into her house. If you were a Sex and the City fan, you'll definitely want to take a souvenir photo at the legendary entrance. However, the influx of curious onlookers is such that the neighbours had to put up a chain to keep people out.
4. The famous Tiffany & CO jewellery store from Breakfast at Tiffany's on Fifth Avenue
Based on journalist Truman Capote's homonymous novel, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Breakfast at Tiffany's became an immediate critical and box-office success upon its release in 1961 and a cult film ever since. It is a loose adaptation of the story of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), a somewhat eccentric young woman who dreams of success and an idealised world that doesn't exist.
She eats breakfast every day in front of a stunning jewellery store and her life is turned upside down when Paul Varjack, a failed writer who also craves success, arrives in her building. When their paths cross, nothing is ever the same again.
Where is he?
We first see Holly Golightly in her iconic Givenchy black dress and pearl necklace having a coffee and croissant for breakfast in front of the window of the famous Tiffany&Co jewellery store at 727 5th Avenue.
During your trip to New York you can recreate the scene with one of Midtown's most delicious croissants nearby at the Eclair Bakery on 53rd Street.
Other Breakfast at Tiffany's in New York City
- Holly's Apartment: Although the film claims that Holly lives at 167 71st Street, it's actually number 169 in this Upper East Side building. You'll recognise it from the scene where Holly hails a taxi with a loud whistle.
- Central Park: New York's most famous park is featured in the film when Holly's old husband travels to the city to see her and has a frank conversation with Paul about her and how he met her. The scene was shot at The Bandshell gazebo and Conservatory Water Lake. Central Park is located between 5th and 8th Avenues and 59th and 110th Streets.
- Seagram Building: This office tower designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is the setting where Holly tells Paul that she loves New York sitting in front of the fountain in this 1950s building. You'll find it at 375 Park Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd streets, not far from the Tiffany jewellers.
5. On the trail of Kevin from Home Alone 2 at the Plaza Hotel
One of the films of our childhood and a Christmas classic, who doesn't remember the mischievous Kevin McCallister? Two years have passed since he used his wits to defeat two clumsy burglars who were trying to rob his Chicago home. This time, the boy is again separated from his family during the holidays and ends up in New York where he is reunited with the thieves.
From this point on, the film presents us with the Big Apple on the eve of 25 December, so it looks spectacular. I recommend you go the Home Alone 2 route at Christmas, when it looks just like in the film.
Where is it?
Kevin is staying at the luxurious Plaza Hotel in New York, located next to Central Park and Fifth Avenue. A symbol of the city with more than a century of history. With his father's credit card, Kevin books a suite where he has a movie marathon while gorging on ice cream and having fun in the hotel pool making bombs.
Other Home Alone 2 New York locations
- Statue of Liberty: The symbol of American freedom and New York's most famous landmark. In the film the scene where the statue appears is very significant because it represents Kevin's independence from his family and his willingness to have a good time. It is on Liberty Island, southwest of Manhattan.
- WollmanRink: This is Central Park's ice rink, which is located in the southeast corner of the park near 59th Street. It is here that thieves Marv and Harry plan their next heist on Christmas Eve.
- Duncan's Toy Chest: Although this shop is featured in the film, it does not exist as such in New York. If you are looking for a toy store of this style it is FAO Schwarz, at 767 5th Avenue, that most closely resembles it. In Home Alone 2 it is here that Kevin and the robbers meet again and... the chase begins.
- Times Square: It has become the city's best-known landmark thanks to its billboards and flashing lights. In the film, when the McAllisters arrive in New York, the mother runs desperately to Times Square to try to locate her son. It is located at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue.
- Rockefeller Center: Every year New York inaugurates Christmas with the lighting of the huge Rockefeller Center tree. A tradition that dates back to the 1930s. In Home Alone 2, this is the emotional reunion of Kevin and his mother after so many days apart. One of the most tender scenes in the film. It is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 49th and 50th Streets.
6. The Avengers at Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan
New York has served as inspiration for the recreation of Metropolis or Gotham City, fictional cities where the adventures of superheroes such as Batman or Superman took place. The streets of the city have served as the great set for many films of this genre, so we can say that New York is a city of superheroes.
If you love Marvel or DC comics, you can't miss the locations of some of the most famous superhero movies in New York. For example, Grand Central Terminal, one of the largest train stations in the United States, was featured in the first part of The Avengers.
Where is it?
Grand Central Terminal is the most important railway station to see in Manhattan and one of the architectural gems of the 19th century. Located at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue, you'll recognise it by its exterior façade designed like a Greco-Roman triumphal arch and its Main Concourse decorated with frescoes of constellations, three large arched windows and its iconic clock.
In The Avengers movie, the team of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow defend New York from an attack by the Chitauri fleet and Grand Central Terminal is razed to the ground.
Grand Central Terminal also served as the lair of Superman's enemy Lex Luthor in the first film starring Christopher Reeve. The building is also featured in the Gotham series.
Other superhero movie and series locations in New York City
- Midtown Comics: Although it is not a film location, it is the temple of the comic book world. Since 1997, this shop near Times Square has been a point of reference for comic book fans and a source of inspiration, so if you're excited about the subject you have to go to Midtown Comics at 200 W. 40th Street (corner of 7th Avenue).
- Times Square: It has been the scene of several superhero battles. For example Spiderman against the Green Goblin in the Tobey Maguire movie or against Electro in the version with Andrew Garfield. This square also appeared in Captain America with Chris Evans.
- Flatiron Building: One of the most emblematic buildings in New York was used to recreate the editorial office of the Daily Bugle, the newspaper where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) works as a photographer in the first Spiderman film.
- Brooklyn Bridge: It appears in The Fantastic Four when The Thing tries to prevent a suicide and results in a big accident that destroys part of the famous bridge that crosses the East River connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.
- Financial District: In this neighbourhood takes place one of the most amazing pitched battles that closes The Dark Knight trilogy. At the foot of the steps of Federal Hall on Wall Street, Batman and Bane fist-fight.
7. Night at the Museum, New York Museum of Natural History, next to Central Park
The little ones may remember the movie Night at the Museum, where a night watchman named Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) had to deal with the creatures and objects inside the Natural History Museum as they were brought to life each night by a magical Egyptian artifact.
Although in real life his collection doesn't come to life at nightfall, it's worth seeing because it's considered the most extensive on the planet and a must-see in New York.
Where is it located?
The Natural History Museum is located on 79th Street just west of Central Park. Here you can visit its ten permanent exhibits spread over forty rooms, some of which are featured in the film.
Night at the Museum locations in New York City
- Theodore Roosevelt Memorial: This room at the museum's most famous entrance, Central Park West, houses the official memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, Governor of New York State and President of the United States. In addition, it also exhibits the giant skeleton of a Barosaurus.
- Mammal Halls: The exhibition dedicated to mammals is a carefully staged display of the characteristics of small mammals, Asian mammals, African mammals, American mammals, New York mammals and the primate hall. Its dioramas are among the most famous on the planet.
- Human Origins and Cultural Halls: This exhibition explores the history of human evolution as well as the different cultures of peoples in Africa, Asia, North and South America and the Pacific.
8. Columbia University, the birthplace of Spider-Man, in the Morningside Heights neighbourhood
The Spider-Man franchise has spawned several films over a couple of decades with New York as the setting.
The story begins when student Peter Parker takes a field trip to Columbia University's genetics lab, where he is bitten by a genetically modified spider and accidentally acquires superhuman powers that will help him fight crime.
Where is he?
Columbia University is located at 116th Street & Broadway, in the Morningside Heights neighbourhood that borders Harlem to the north. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States and the fifth oldest in the country.
It was founded in the 18th century as King's College but changed its name to Columbia College after independence. At the beginning of the 20th century this university was a pioneer in scientific and medical research and today it is one of the most important research centres on the continent.
Other Spiderman locations in New York
- Midtown Comics: Although not a film location, it is a comic book shrine. This shop near Times Square has been a source of inspiration and a reference point for fans of the genre since 1997, so if you love comics you have to go to 200 W. 40th Street (corner of 7th Avenue).
- Flatiron Building: This iconic New York City building was used to recreate the headquarters of the Daily Bugle newspaper, where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) works as the superhero's photographer in the first Spider-Man film.
- Joe's Pizza: This is the pizzeria where Peter works as a delivery boy in the second film. It is located at 233 Bleecker Street but is now actually three doors down at 7 Carmine Street. According to Woody Allen, the best pizza place in New York.
- New York Public Library: It is the place where a thief kills Uncle Ben. The tragic event changes Peter's life forever. It is located on Fifth Avenue, between 41st and 52nd Streets.
- Staten Island Ferry: In this scene Spider-Man tries to fight Vulture and breaks the Staten Island Ferry in half. Things get ugly but thanks to Iron Man's intervention everyone is saved.
- Brooklyn Bridge: In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter proposes to Gwen with a big spider web on the bridge that says 'I love you' and she sees him from a taxi.
9. The New York Stock Exchange in The Wolf of Wall Street, in the Financial District
With its distinctive skyscrapers and suits, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange building is the heart of the Financial District. It is precisely what happens on the trading floor that has been used to tell stories in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street.
Based on a true story, The Wolf of Wall Street tells the story of the rise of broker Jordan Belfort, who makes his fortune by fraudulently buying and selling shares on the American investment market in the 1980s. His extravagant life, marked by excess, was a turning point in the history of Wall Street.
Where is it?
This narrow street in lower Manhattan is one of the most famous in New York and the most important street in the Financial District. If you want to see the atmosphere of Federal Hall and the Stock Exchange Building, the most important buildings in the area, I suggest you visit Wall Street during business hours from Monday to Friday. On weekends the landscape is completely different.
Other locations of The Wolf of Wall Street in New York City
- Equitable Building: This building houses the offices of the New York State Attorney General's Office but in the film it represents the offices of LF Rothschild Bank. It is located at 120 Broadway.
- World Financial Center: Belfort had his yacht Naomi moored near the World Financial Center when he is taken into police custody and is visited by Agent Patrick Denham.
- West 30th St Heliport: The location where Agent Denham arrests Belfort in the middle of filming his TV commercial.
- Milan Building: After achieving success, Belfort and his wife Naomi move into a luxury apartment complex at 300 E 55th Street, between First and Second Avenues.
10. Serena's return to Gossip Girl's Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan
It's been almost a decade since Gossip Girl ended but fans have not been able to forget this series that left its mark on both the fashion and TV worlds. In fact, there's a reboot adapted to the new times that once again features the voice of Kristen Bell as the show's narrator to the delight of fans.
The plot revolves around the lives of a group of wealthy Upper East Side teenagers whose affairs, betrayals and secrets are exposed on the Internet by a blogger named Gossip Girl. All set against the backdrop of New York's swankiest luxury.
The first episode premiered in 2007 and begins with the unexpected return to the city of Upper East Side queen Serena van der Woodsen from boarding school in Cornwall. Her reappearance surprises her former friends and not everyone will be happy to see her.
Where is she?
The first scene of the series shows Serena arriving at a busy train station after a long and mysterious absence, something that Gossip Girl makes a point of spreading the word to its fans. This is Grand Central Terminal, one of the most famous train stations in the United States because of its impressive Main Concourse.
You can take advantage of your trip to take a guided tour of Grand Central Terminal and take a few souvenir photos and snacks in one of the cafes or restaurants. The most famous and oldest of these is the Oyster Bar, which dates back to 1913. It is located at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue.
Other Gossip Girl locations in New York City
If you want to see all the locations where the Gossip Girl Queen did her thing, you can join a Gossip Girl location tour. On this bus tour you will be able to take pictures in some of the scenes of the series.
- The MET: The stairs of this museum were a favourite place for Blair, Serena and their friends to sit after class. This is where the tension brews when Blair doesn't invite Serena to her after-party. Located at 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue.
- Museum of the City of New York: The façade of this building was used to recreate the Constance Billard School of Girls. The museum looks at the history of the city, its present and its future. You'll find it at 1220 Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street.
- Bethesda Terrace: The place where Blair and Chuck got married! It is considered the heart of Central Park. The ensemble is dominated by the Bethesda Fountain but the upper part of the terrace and the beautiful lower passageway decorated with tiles and arches is a highly recommended place to see as well.
- Dan Humphrey's house: Unlike his companions, Dan did not live in the exclusive Upper East Side but in the neighbourhood of DUMBO, in Brooklyn, which was not bad either. It is said that his house was at 455 Water Street.
- Serena's House: The Van der Woodsen family lived in the Milan Building, a luxury apartment complex at 300 E 55th Street. In the series they were said to live on the Upper East Side but in reality the skyscraper is in another part of New York.
- Bass Family Residence: The residence of Bart Bass, Chuck's father, is the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, where every Christmas one of the most beautiful trees in the city is set up. It is located at 455 Madison Avenue.
- Columbia College: This private university is one of the most illustrious in the United States. Serena and Nate are enrolled here and as a curiosity it was also where Barack Obama studied. It is located in the Morningside Heights neighbourhood, at 116th Street & Broadway.
Take the New York Film and Series Tour
If you're a movie and series buff, this tour is one of the most fun you can have in the Big Apple. You'll have a blast following the trail of your favourite characters through the streets of the city and seeing in person the locations where these films were shot.
Doing this tour on your own allows you to visit each place at your own pace but the experience is much cooler with the New York Film and Series Tour, as you'll be accompanied at all times by a local guide/actor who knows a lot about the subject and behind-the-scenes trivia.
At the end of this 3-hour tour you'll see New York with different eyes and you'll learn a lot of curiosities about movies and series, which is what it's all about: Friends, Ghostbusters, Girls, Seinfeld, Spiderman, I Am Legend, Glee or How I Met Your Mother, among many others. It's definitely one of the best tours you can do in New York during your trip - you'll love it!