I’ll start this post with some simple advice on where to go and what to do if you are like me – curious about all things American and New York, food, movies and sightseeing wise. Most of my information is based on what I have seen in those movies, hence this is me pretending I’m the main character in my own movie in the States. And YOU can too!
1.Katz’s deli (“When Harry Met Sally”)
You have to go to Katz’s because first of all, this is where “When Harry Met Sally” was filmed, well, part of it, anyway, the middle table, yes. Second of all, they have a banging pastrami sandwich which you must have, no matter what!
The cafe was established before the dawn of time, that is in 1888, so that makes it the oldest American restaurant. Just kidding. But anyway, you need to go here, really. Back then I didn’t try the Matzo Ball Soup, but hopefully, when/if I go back, I will.
Address: 205 East Houston Street (corner of Ludlow St), New York City
How to get here: Take the F train to Second Avenue Station or F, M, J or Z to Delancey/Essex St Station.
2. Visit Columbia University (“The Mirror Has Two Faces”)
Gosh, I remember how ten years ago I was so in love with that movie, the concept (a silly one, in my opinion) and young-ish Jeff Bridges. His character, as well as Barbra Streisand, work at Columbia University as professors. She is a literature professor, he is maths professor. They meet, they fall in love in the middle of a harsh New York winter. When I was in NYC, I loved the magic, I wanted Prince Charming, and I thought he’d be at Columbia University. Alas, the love story didn’t happen. But instead I found a cool place to hang out. It was early spring, and all the hot students were out in the sun. I enjoyed the sunshine too.
How to get here and how to get around (Yes, it is legal to walk on the uni grounds)
On this website you can download a walking tour of Columbia, and listen in your own private time while checking out the architecture and student life. To access buildings, you of course need a student or teacher’s ID. You can go to the Visitor’s Centre which is located here:
213 Low Library, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY
It is located halfway down College Walk (116th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue). Upon entering Low Library via the main entrance, the Visitors Center is the first door on the left. (Official website directions)
You can email them here if you have further questions. I, myself, prefer, asking questions at location.
Cool fact: Julia Stiles studied here. More on her in Point 3 (below)
3. The Juilliard School of Dance, Drama and Music (“Save The Last Dance”)
This is definitely one of the off the beaten path places. Not many people know, but you can go and listen to New York City’s best aspiring new artists for free at The Juilliard School. Just click on their Performance Calendar* and you’ll see the available performances list. This is absolutely fabulous and so close to the heart because it is this school that Julia Stiles’ character wanted to go to in the already classic teen movie “Save The Last Dance”. If you’re a fan, you’ll go here, if you’re not a fan, you’ll go here because of the amazing music provided by the gifted young musicians from all over the globe here.
*The above link works for May 2017 which goes like /2017/5 in the web address line just change the month or year, if you’re not going in 2017, and it’ll take you to a full list of events, otherwise, the glitch on the website doesn’t show the musical/drama/dance events separately for some reason.
They also have a tiny cafe and a shop where you can get a coffee for cheap and a real Juilliard pen! And you know how I love stationary 🙂
Address: 60 Lincoln Center Plaza New York, NY 10023
The entrance is NOT at the front of the Lincoln Centre, it is at 155 W. 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. You’ll see some glass doors and steps leading up to the entrance.
- No. 1 (Broadway-Seventh Avenue local) to 66th Street Station
- Nos. 2 or 3 (Broadway-Seventh Avenue express) to 72nd Street Station. From this station, Juilliard is six blocks south on Broadway.
- A or C (Eighth Avenue line) and B or D (Sixth Avenue line) to Columbus Circle Station (59th Street). From here, the school is a few blocks north on Broadway.
The following buses stop at or very near Juilliard:
- M5: Sixth Avenue—Broadway—Riverside Drive
- M7: Broadway—Columbus Avenue
- M11: Amsterdam Avenue—Columbus Avenue
- M20: Hudson Street—Eighth Avenue—Central Park West—66th Street
- M66: 66th-67th Streets crosstown
- M104: Broadway—42nd Street
4. New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street (“Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy, “Wolf of Wall Street” with DiCaprio, “Wall Street” with Michael Douglas, “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver)
You used to be able to go on a public tour of the NYSE, however this is no longer the case. You can always admire the business from the outside and imagine how many millions and trillions of dollars and other currencies are being rotated, won and lost here. Quite fascinating, don’t you think? Plus, even if you had the chance to go inside, it’s not so crazy anymore as it was in the 1980s, say. All the transactions are done electronically, as far as I know. No one is shouting and panting for sales anymore, well, on the trading floor anyway. You can visit the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, if you want to see some interesting money stuff closer.
Address: 11 Wall Street, Lower Manhattan
5. Go Watch New York Knicks Play in Madison Square Garden and Knicks City Dancers Dance There Too
(“Trainwreck” with Amy Schumer, “Eddie” with Whoopi Goldberg, and many many more films mention New York City Knicks and the Dancers)
I don’t watch basketball games or dancers (maybe only if it’s “Bring It On” movie), but I decided to go watch the famous Knicks anyway. I believe Joey from Friends supported them too. Correct me if I’m wrong. A big part of the game is the KCD – Knicks City Dancers. It is a big honour to dance with this group, so cheer the girls, they’re doing a great job too.
Order tickets here: http://www.nba.com/knicks/tickets
Address: Madison Square Garden obviously, which is located at Four Pennsylvania Plaza
(7th Avenue between W 31st St and W 33rd St)
How To Get Here: MSG is directly above Penn Station and is easily accessible by taking the 1,2,3, A, C, E trains to 34th Street/Penn Station. You may also take the B, D, F, M, N, R, Q trains to the 34th Street/Herald Square stop and walk one block west to The Garden. PATH trains from New Jersey also stop at 33rd Street/Avenue of the Americas. If you are arriving via Metro-North, you may take the Shuttle or the 7 train from Grand Central to Times Square and transfer to the downtown 1, 2, 3 trains to 34th Street/Penn Station (official website info)
6. Serendipity 3 Restaurant (“Serendipity” with Kate Beckinsale, “One Fine Day” with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer)
Lovely if crowded place, you’d have to wait outside to get the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, you need to be here because of the movie mentioned above, because Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol and Jackie Kennedy used to be frequent visitors to this place. For more celebs frequenting the cafe, click here.
“It was New York’s first coffee-house boutique” says the page on the official website of Serendipity III. They have Tiffany lamps that look terrific against the cold white walls. The piece on their page is well worth reading.
Cool fact: if you have an extra $1000, get the Guinness World Record’s Golden Opulence Sundae, because..it’s gold and opulent.
They do have normal food though, it’s not just ice and chocolate anymore. You can get pastas, sandwiches etc, whatever you wish, really.
Address: 225 East 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
7. Gray’s Papaya (“Fools Rush In” with Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek, “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, “The Back-Up Plan with J Lo)
I simply had to go there and try it, because of Matthew Perry. You know, because… Matthew Perry. The hot dog with coleslaw/sauerkraut was okay, to be honest, but I was completely satisfied, because.. Matthew Perry 🙂
The establishment used to have 3-4 locations scattered across downtown New York, however, after some googling, I learned that now they’re only in one new place now. And it’s at:
612 Eighth Avenue, between West 39th and West 40th streets
8. Rockefeller Center (Home Alone 2 and many others)
Above all, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and many other films are filmed here, near here and in here. Come in winter to see the biggest NYC Christmas tree, and go ice skating. Or in summer, to just look at it, you can also go inside.
9. Bethesda Fountain in Central Park (“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”, “One Fine Day” with Clooney and Pfeiffer, “Fools Rush In”, “Enchanted” with Amy Adams, and many more)
This place is simply beautiful, no matter how many people there are. There’s something very New York-y about it. Just go there and experience it for yourself.
10. Brighton Beach. Because it’s Little Russia (What movie? Just come visit!)
So, when I lived in New York (for two whole months), it’s because my good childhood friend let me crash on her couch for so long. I love her to bits, and she lives in Brighton Beach. First, we lived on Ocean Avenue, then we moved a little bit closer to the underground. But when I first arrived there, it seemed so surreal. I feel like I need to write a separate post about Brighton Beach, because this place is a lot of fun. Many places / shops / restaurants only have Russian speakers, only Russian food, only Russian drinks. And it would be more correct to say that those drinks and foods are Soviet! This was such a huge nostalgia trip in time for me, that it felt crazy.
Russian signs are everywhere and for me it was just unbelievable
But it’s not just the food and drink that you can get here, many New Yorkers, Russian or not, come here for the Atlantic ocean, the vast, the blue and beautiful. The Famous Brighton Beach boardwalk is a place for hangouts with your friends, for a chill stroll to the nearest Russian cafes and for a spot in the sun.
Come on over, and try some pelmeni 🙂 with borscht!
11. Russian Tea Room (“Tootsie” with Dustin Hoffman, “Gossip Girl”, “Manhattan” by Woody Allen)
Okay, it featured heavily in Tootsie and I walked past it once or twice. Obviously I didn’t have money even for tea in this “tea room”, as this is a very expensive restaurant. I snapped a photo of a partial menu, so that people would believe me 😉
The restaurant was opened in 1927 by former members of Russian Imperial Ballet (according to their website), and was naturally a second home to the intellectual elite of NYC.
Here’s a link to their current brunch menu, if you please: http://www.russiantearoomnyc.com/menus/food/brunch/
So! If you ever go there, let me know, I want to know what it feels like to be a rich Russian abroad 😉
Address: 150 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019, United States
12. Paris Cinema (Sex and The City. Season 5, Episode 1 “Anchors Away”)
“When you are single and live in New York, there is no end to the ways to fill your days: Museums, parks, theaters, concert halls, nightclubs and countless restaurants. But one of the most amazing things about living in a city like New York, is that any night of the week you can go to Paris.
– Joy for Two for one. – Enjoy the show. – Thank you” – direct quote from the show.
I did end up going to see The Reader in Paris, the cinema is located on the left side of the Plaza hotel (across the road). It’s very easy to miss the place, as it’s tiny.
It is a lovely small independent cinema, and of course I did get raisins in chocolate just like Carrie Bradshaw. How could I not?
Address: 4 West 58th Street
13. The Plaza Hotel (Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Bride Wars, Crocodile Dundee, It Could Happen To You, The Great Gatsby, The Princess Diaries, Sex And The City and others.)
This is where Nic Cage and Bridget Fonda stayed in one of my favourites “It Could Happen To You” about a policeman who wins the big New York lottery, it is where Leo DiCaprio had lunch with Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, Mr Australia Paul Hogan washed his socks in the bathtub. Well, of course, you must see this if you love Home Alone and Macaulay Culkin having a word with Donald Trump, it’s all here. Come in and see where Kevin (K-E-V) booked a suite with unlimited cookies and ice cream. It’s allowed to look around 🙂
Pardon the photo quality. It was really cool walking around the corridors here, truly was. If you love movies, you must visit this place.
Address: 768 5th Ave
14. Take Staten Island Ferry To The Island and Back (it’s free)
(Seen in movies like “Trainwreck” and “Sex and The city” where Charlotte decides that she’s going to get married this year)
Take in the beauty of the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty, all for FREE.
How to get here: (official NYC.gov info)
The Ferry operates between the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The trip is about 25 minutes long.
The St. George Terminal is located at 1 Bay Street, Staten Island.
The Whitehall Terminal is located at 4 South Street, Manhattan.
Again, the ferry is free and awesome.
15. Grand Central Station (“Madagascar”, “Conspiracy Theory”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Men In Black”, “Friends With Benefits”, “Hackers” and others)
Well, of course! Remember to “Hack The Planet” at Grand Central said by Matthew Lillard, including the young Jonny Lee Miller (whom I “met” through Danny Boyle this winter, of course I mean the 6 degrees of separation. I have “met” Kevin Bacon long ago) and the ever beautiful Angelina Jolie. Come here, take a look at the Clock, the trains, the people. Put on Voodoo People by The Prodigy and lose yourself in the constant flow of people.
16. Brooklyn Bridge (All American movies, amirite?)
My favourite movie about BB is probably still Kate and Leopold. Still in love both with Hugh Jackman (a selfie means a lot in a relationship!) and Liev Schreiber (a selfie next time, I hope, Liev). It is better (in my opinion) to approach Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn side, not the Manhattan one, there are parks where you can stroll, and the view on the pedestrian path to Manhattan would be better, you wouldn’t have to turn around every time you want to see things.
17. Natural History Museum (“Night At The Museum”)
Because you can see dinosaurs, bears and maybe a monkey from that movie. Overall, lots of fun and memories. Better go with someone else. Just saying. It’s more fun.
18. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (Friends?)
Honestly, this is an amazing piece of architecture that contains many pieces of art inside. Plus, Chandler laughed at the name “Guggenheim” in the TV series. I think that’s enough? 😉
Address: 1071 Fifth Avenue on the corner of East 89th Street in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.
Central Park is right opposite the building, so before visiting or after, go in there, enjoy the greenery.
19. Niagara Falls (“Niagara”)
Well, Niagara Falls are not really in NYC, because the trip to see them takes about two days, but I had to include it in the New York City blog post, because I feel that if you’re in NYC, then you just need to go and see Niagara! When I went there with my friends, we rented a car, we stayed in a motel (like they do in the movies!) , we had lots of Russian salami with us, and the next morning we were off in the queue to see the Falls! They gave us special shoes, so that you don’t slip, and a plastic “coat” to cover up. It was fun! It felt grand.
20. Magnolia Bakery (“The Devil Wears Prada”, “Sex and The City”)
Come here for yummy cupcakes and for the lovely atmosphere of the famous Bleecker Street!
Address: 401 Bleecker St (original store)
There is another one in Grand Central Station, at Penn Station, at 200 Columbus Avenue, Rockefeller Center and Bloomingdale’s.
21. Columbus Circle (“Enchanted”)
This was one of my most favourite places to be in, in New York City, I loved the outside, the inside with its Borders bookshop (now closed) and the Whole Foods on the ground floor. It has anything you want to exist. Well.. almost 🙂
And Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden (hello! hot!) were seen filming Enchanted here. Watch it if you still haven’t.
That would be all for now, guys and gals and everyone else. If I remember anything else about movie locations in New York that I personally have seen, I’ll let you know.
Of course, I didn’t say anything about the Friends apartment, or Carrie Bradshaw’s steps, but they’re quite obvious, and maybe a few of these here aren’t? You decide. But I will have another New York blog post about other less known NYC locations. Stay tuned for more 🙂
Thank you for reading 🙂