Hollywood isn’t the only heaven for movie lovers. Film buffs will recognize several areas of New York City from their favorite flicks, some of which are total classics. Follow our Movie Lover’s Scavenger Hunt for a fun, completely free way to spend a day in NYC. See if you can find them all!
Subway Grate on 52nd and Lexington – The Seven Year Itch
One of the most iconic scenes in the history of film, and in all of pop culture, took place at the corner 52nd and Lexington – though you probably wouldn’t realize it with just a quick glance. On that corner is a subway grate featured in the movie The Seven Year Itch. Yup, that is THE subway grate that created the infamous image of Marilyn Monroe on the street, dress blowing through the air due to the subway below her. Feel free to stop and take your own Monroe-esque photo. Just beware of impatient New Yorkers walking nearby!
Central Park and Rockefeller Center – Elf
We’ve got a secret for you that might be a little disappointing. Many movies set in New York City are not actually shot in the city we love so much. This includes the Christmas favorite Elf, which was filmed in Vancouver. However, the director wanted at least a little bit of the city’s genuine Christmas spirit to shine in the feature. Scenes like those taking place in Central Park and Rockefeller Center are the real deal. Visit during December for the true Elf experience!
Hook and Ladder 8 Firehouse – Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters is a classic NYC movie, with many of the scenes taking place in an old firehouse acting as the Ghostbusters’ headquarters. You can actually visit this firehouse, located in Tribeca. Believe it or not, it still functions as a fire station today.
The Plaza Hotel – Home Alone 2
The Plaza isn’t just known for Eloise. It’s also the setting for many films, one of the most notable ones being Home Alone 2, where a sequence (with a cameo from Donald Trump!) was shot in the lobby. If you visit, know that not every section of the lobby is open to the public, and the hotel has since been renovated. But it’s still a part of movie history!
Tiffany’s – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Who wouldn’t want to pretend to be Audrey Hepburn for a while? Visit Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s actual namesake, and the setting for many other movies, such as Sleepless in Seattle and Sweet Home Alabama. Hey, window-shopping is free!
Countless movies are set in Brooklyn’s Coney Island, especially the boardwalk and amusement park. Some favorites include The Warriors, Annie Hall, Requiem for a Dream, Cloverfield, and Uptown Girls. Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall was shown as growing up under the wooden rollercoaster Thunderbolt, which unfortunately has been torn down.
Fun fact: the Atlantic City scenes in Beaches were actually also recorded in Coney Island!
Sutton Square Park – Manhattan
This movie couldn’t possibly be the same if it hadn’t actually been shot in the New York. One of the best-remembered scenes from Manhattan featured Woody Allen and Diane Keaton sitting on a bench, looking up at the Queensboro Bridge. You can recreate this image yourself at Sutton Place Park in Midtown East. But you’ll have to bring your own bench; that was just a prop for the movie!
Katz Delicatessen – When Harry Met Sally
Yes, you can eat at the same restaurant – actually, at the same table, noted with a sign – from the infamous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene. Just be ready for a looong wait.
Conservatory Water - Stuart Little
90s kids will remember the movie Stuart Little, based on the beloved book about a family that adopts a mouse as their son. The sequence where Stuart Little races a model sailboat took place at Conservatory Water, known by many as “Sailboat Pond,” in Central Park.
Places You WON’T Find
You can look, but you won’t find these city spots from your favorite movies.
FAO Schwartz – Big
Every kid in the world who saw the popular 90s flicks Big wanted to dance on that giant piano from the toy store sequence. While this was possible from many years at FAO Schwartz, the setting of the scene, the iconic toy store sadly closed a few years ago. Rumor has it, however, that the piano can still be played at another little store called Macy’s!
The New York Public Library – Ghostbusters
Remember that secret about NYC movies we told you before? While most of Ghostbusters was really shot in the city, one of the feature’s best scenes was actually recorded in California: the library scene. Despite the scene being filmed at the Los Angeles Public Library, it still gave a big popularity boost to the New York Public Library, which is awesome!
Carnegie Deli – Broadway Danny Rose
This beloved Midtown restaurant was the setting of parts of the 80s comedy Broadway Danny Rose starring Woody Allen. To the dismay of New Yorkers and future tourists everywhere, Carnegie Deli closed its doors for good at the end of last year.
Want more movie magic? Check out these 5 Things for Movie Lovers to do in NYC!