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Explore New York through Movie Locations

Unique way to explore New York

Following a tourist guide book, taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour or wandering around with your Lonely Planet are all great ways to explore New York. We wanted to do it a little different and we decided to explore the city by visiting iconic locations of our favorite movies, tv series and musicians.

While trying to find these locations you get to see a lot more of New York life than the average tourist. It brings you to unique areas where ‘locals’ live and you stumble upon crazy and amazing things, which you probably never would have seen otherwise. Of course, you still have to do the standard tourist stuff like any other tourist, simply because they are great. We explored New York for about 7 days but of course not enough time to see and do everything.

Taking the movie locations approach of exploring, you will be learning the metro system in no time but also keep in mind that you will walk a lot. It takes some figuring out which is the closest metro station. But, after a couple of days you will know the layout of the city by heart and you will go from one place to another in no time. And cheap, by the way!

So how did we do it exactly? We first scoured various websites with lists featuring the addresses of the locations. When we decided on our final list, we pinpointed these locations in Google maps on our mobile device with GPS. We bought an unlimited 7-day metro card, put on good walking shoes, grabbed our DSLR camera and started exploring the streets of New York.

Tip: Also try and visit a movie set. There are some website which give you a heads up where a particular movie or tv set will be (requires some serious Google search skills to find them). Unfortunately not with a time when they will actually start shooting. This particular try we didn’t have any luck. We eventually discovered the movie set but it seemed like there would not be an actual actor within the next 6 hours or so. But we did discover China Town and Little Italy on the way over there!

 

My location list

(in order of appearance in the video)

  • Friends – Apartment – Bedford Street & Grove Street
  • Jimmy Hendrix – Electric Lady Studios
  • Ghostbusters – Firehouse ladder #8
  • Sleepless in Seattle – Empire State building
  • The Nanny Diaries – Lexington Candy Shop (vintage diner) – 83rd Street & Lexington Avenue
  • Vanilla sky – The Mall & Literary Walk – Central Park
  • 
Rosemary’s Baby – The Dakota – West 72nd Street
  • 
John Lennon Memorial – Strawberry Fields – Near Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets
  • Seinfeld – Restaurant – 2880 Broadway (on the corner of West 112th Street)
  • Gangs of New York – The Dead Rabbit Irish pub – 30 Water Street, near Broad Street
  • Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Time & Life building – 1271 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue)
  • Jimmy fallon – NBC Studios – Rockefeller Center
  • Marilyn Monroe – Flying skirt – Lexington Avenue between 52nd & 53rd Street
  • Big – FAO Schwartz toy store – 767 5th Ave
  • Sex and the city – House of Carrie – 66 Perry Street

Along the way, we kept our eyes open as you will see countless iconic buildings and backdrops used in hundreds of movies and tv series (Times Square, Grand Central station, Brooklyn Bridge, Flat Iron building, Wall Street, Washington Square Park, Metropolitan museum, NY Library, to name just a few).

More tips:

  • For a great website with extensive information about movie locations, visit On the set of New York
  • Watch the movies before you go as sometimes you can’t exactly remember the setting
  • MTA website for more info and pricing of the MetroCard
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