There are so many itineraries knocking about of what to see and do in New York for any length of time. Just FYI, my absolutely favourite is this super detailed weekend itinerary for your first time in New York. So, I thought I could do an itinerary of a weekend in New York for film fans. Everyone’s favourite film locations, eateries, hotels and tourist attractions immortalized on film.
New York for Film Fans
You’ve arrived in New York after work. Maybe you’ve taken half a day off work to get there and it’s time to relax a little before dinner. There are so many great hotels that you could choose for your stay in NYC.
Perhaps the The Roosevelt Hotel (45 East 45th Street) where Gordon Gecko gives his ‘Greed is Good’ speech in Wall Street (1987).
Or perhaps The Carlyle (5 East 76th Street), which is popular with US Presidents and Woody Allen and has appeared in Hollywood Ending (2002) and Hannah and her Sisters (1986).
However, I’m going to choose The Plaza (768 5th Avenue). Firstly for it’s classic Hollywood movie feel, but also because it was in the 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and F. Scott Fitzgerald used to drink there himself.
Since you’re probably really hungry, Smith & Wollensky’s is the perfect place on 767 3rd Avenue. This is where Patrick Bateman ordered a Steak with no hash browns in American Psycho (2000). If you’re so inclined, you might order the same.
Then, after you’ve had your fill, you can jump on the subway all the way down to Coyote Ugly Saloon on 153 First Avenue from the film Coyote Ugly (2000). This is the joint where the all female staff are famous for being barely clothed and dancing on the bar. So, don’t be disappointed when it’s much seedier than you imagined.
Saturday Morning Breakfast
It’s time to get some breakfast! You could head up to 5th Avenue and 57th Street which is the flagship store of Tiffany’s and therefore have Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). But they don’t open until 10am and their range of breakfast foods is pretty sub par.
How about heading towards Empire Diner. This place recently reopened after a short closure and has appeared in several films and TV shows including Manhattan (1979) and Men in Black II (2002). It’s open from 7:30am on 210 10th Avenue.
Saturday morning activities
Now your day really begins! We’re going to focus on exploring downtown Manhattan. After you’ve finished at the Diner, this will sound illogical, but continue down to 401 Bleecker Street. This is the home of the original Magnolia Bakery, and the one made famous in Sex and the City. Yes, you may not be hungry yet, but it’s a good idea to grab them now to enjoy as a mid-morning snack.
We’re sticking with the Sex and the City theme, because just around the corner 66 Perry Street is the exterior of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment. It has a rope across the front so you won’t be able to make it to the door, but it’s an excellent photo op.
And also just a few blocks away is the corner of Bedford Street and Grove Street, the exterior to Monica’s apartment on Friends. Yours truly also didn’t miss an opportunity to bag this shot.
Friendly neighbourhood Ghostbusters. Oh wait…
7 Carmine Street is the home to Joe’s Pizza. A chain of pizza places all around the city, but this particular one is where Peter Parker is employed in Spiderman (2002). And it’s SO close to the Friends location.
This would be an excellent opportunity to hop over to Washington Square Park to eat those sweet treats you picked up earlier at Magnolia Bakery. This park is where an absolute plethora of TV shows and films have located a scene or two. Including my personal faves, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and When Harry Met Sally (1989).
You might want to hop on the subway as this ones a few blocks south, but is surely not to be missed as one of the most famous movie locations in New York. 12 North Moore Street is the home of the famous fire house from Ghostbusters (1984) and another excellent photo opportunity. The great thing about movie locations is that, not only can they be an exciting thing to hunt out, it costs nothing to look!
Saturday Afternoon Lunch
After all of this walking you’re bound to be getting pretty hungry. There’s only one film-famous deli that will probably serve sandwiches big enough to suppress your appetite, and that’s Katz Deli on 205 East Houston Street. You’ve probably already heard of this place as it was made famous by one of my all time favourite movies When Harry Met Sally. It’s the place Sally proves to Harry just how easy it is to fake orgasms. Right in the middle of the Deli. The ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ quote is written on a sign which hangs glaringly obvious over their table if you want to have a go at recreating the scene.
Saturday Afternoon Activities
After lunch, now this wouldn’t be everyone’s choice, but being a huge Girls fan I’d want to head over the Williamsburg bridge and up to India Street/Green point in Brooklyn. Then sit on Hannah’s stoop and have a mini quarter life crisis in her honour. Not too far away is Cafe Grumpy, where Ray and Hannah work for a short while at 193 Meserole Avenue in Greenpoint. Apparently, this cafe is the best out of the city’s 4 locations of Cafe Grumpy’s. However, this would be a bit of a detour if you’re not particularly bothered by Girls.
If you wanted to stay in the area and weren’t feeling quite hungry enough this morning to partake in any delicious cupcakes in Magnolia Bakery and want something sweet after lunch, then maybe hit up BabyCakes NYC. Its a a bakery on Broome Street which has gluten free and vegan delights and not a million miles away from Katz Deli. This is another Girls addition You can spy Hannah eating one of those cupcakes in the bath. And it’s also in the background when Shoshanna runs into an old camp counsellor friend.
Not too far away in the East Village is East 6th Street. On this street, you can see a young Vito Corleone in Godfather Part II (1974) walking up and down. A large part of the neighbourhood was transformed into Little Italy for 6 months. After that, you can continue going north until you get to 226 East 13th Street. Otherwise known as the location of the final shoot out in Taxi Driver (1976).
After walking/subway-ing your little socks off all around downtown Manhattan, it’s time to relax and enjoy some very fine dining. Since it’s on the way to the final stop, I’m gonna choose The Rose Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel on 2 Lexington Avenue. It’s featured in Almost Famous (2000) and what an awesome film.
Plus, it’s on the way to the Empire State Building on 350 5th Avenue. This building has been in many films. But you know the one I’m going to mention is the beautiful love story of Sleepless in Seattle (1993) which ends on the observation deck. And what better way to see the city by night!
Sunday morning Breakfast
Not far away from The Plaza hotel is a really beautiful cafe called Pershing Square Cafe on 90 East 42nd Street. This is where Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake’s characters have their first official date on Friends with Benefits (2011). The cafe also has an extensive breakfast menu.
After that, what’s a trip to New York without Times Square! Only around 5am would this advertising mecca be anything like it was in Vanilla Sky (2001) which was I-kid-you-not closed to the public for 3 hours one Sunday morning. It was filmed completely empty to avoid CGI.
Sunday morning activities
The next stop on the agenda is, of course, 30 Rockefeller Plaza! The home of NBC, Saturday Night Live and for a few years 30 Rock and I’m sure countless other TV shows. I think you can tour the NBC Studios if you like and they had a costume exhibit recently which sounded pretty good.
A short walk away is the corner of 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue. You’ll get to the very same spot where a steam grate blew up around Marilyn’s legs on Seven Year Itch (1954). And if you’re feeling keen maybe you might give it a go yourself!
If I had to pick my most picturesque New York film location, it would have to be Sutton Square at the very end of 58th Street. There you can recreate the scene from Manhattan (1979) where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton look across the Queensboro Bridge. I imagine at sunrise or sunset this would be absolutely beautiful.
To finish off your film trip to New York and about 1/876 of its film locations, what better than a walk through Central Park just as hundreds of of film characters have done before. You might end up at the Loeb Boathouse on 72nd Street in Central Park which has featured in countless film and TV Shows. Not to mention that quintessential of New York films, When Harry Met Sally.
I know I have touched on only a small handful of locations. When I was in the middle of piecing this together, I realised every street, every door and every insignificant patch of grass has probably been immortalised on the silver screen at one time or another. So whatever trip you may ever have to New York will no doubt be one that was captured long before you on film.
Have you ever been to New York? Did you scout out any of your favourite film locations whilst you were there?