New York City has been the backdrop to countless iconic shows, movies, and books for many years. It has been the setting for romantic comedies, the battleground of the Avengers, and home to many others. Lucky for us, some of the famous movies set in New York were actually filmed here as well. This week, we compiled the perfect tour of filming locations across the city, starting right here in Morningside Heights and ending on the Lower East Side.
Havemeyer Hall, Room 309
Did you know that Columbia University is home to the most filmed classroom in the country? Havemeyer Hall is home to the Chemistry department at Columbia, and has been used in films such as “Spider-Man” (all three of the original trilogy), “Mona Lisa Smile”, “Kill Your Darlings”, and “Malcolm X”. They also used the space as Abe Weissman’s classroom on Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, and the exteriors for the original “Ghostbusters” movies.
This location is right across the road from Teachers College, so pop over and check out the classroom before heading to Broadway for our next location, which is just a walk away!
Or Monk’s Cafe as they call it in “Seinfeld”. You may have noticed the familiar red neon sign the first time that you passed this place on Broadway & West 112th Street as the restaurant that Jerry and his friends hang out at in the 90s sitcom. While the exterior was used to represent Monk’s Cafe, the majority of the show itself was filmed on a set in Los Angeles. Either way, this local restaurant is great for a bite to eat and to hang out with friends! They even have dishes inspired by the show, such as the “Jerry Salad”.
Bonus: Tom’s was also the inspiration for Suzanne Vega’s song “Tom’s Diner”!
91st Street Garden
You can either walk or take the subway to the next location, which is located on 91st Street in Riverside Park! Fans of classic romantic comedies will love this spot, which was used to film the final scene in “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. While a lot of films set in New York weren’t actually filmed in the city, this one is an exception. Known as a love letter to the Upper West Side, it was filmed all around the neighborhood at sites such as Zabar’s, Barney Greengrass, Cafe Lalo, and more!
Once again we only have a short walk to the next location, which is at Broadway and West 86th Street. If you’ve seen Hulu’s comedy-mystery show “Only Murders in the Building”, then you’ll recognize the Belnord as the famous Arconia building. Just like in the show, you’ll see the well-dressed doormen and equally fashionable residents coming in and out of the building. And if you happen to walk by in the winter or spring you may catch a glimpse of one of the stars of the show, as they also do a majority of their filming on site!
Bonus: If you ever find yourself on the Upper East Side, stop by the local diner, The Mansion, which moonlights as the Pickle Diner in the show!
You can either take a stroll through Central Park to the east side of Manhattan or hop on the M86 crosstown bus to get to our next location: The MET! This place doesn’t need to be caught on film to be iconic, but it certainly adds a little something to your trip to see the art! The grand steps outside are recognizable both from photos of the museum, and as the steps from “Gossip Girl”, where Blair sits with her friends for lunch each day. In addition to the outside, there was also a scene from “When Harry Met Sally” filmed inside the museum!
The Gapstow Bridge (Central Park)
From The MET, the Gapstow Bridge is either a 20 minute walk or a 20 minute bus ride. I’d recommend heading back into the park and walking from there, if you aren’t all walked out yet. This bridge is at the south end of the park, and home to one of the most iconic scenes in one of the most iconic New York movies: when Kevin meets the “pigeon lady” in “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”. This is another movie with many locations around the city that you can stumble upon as you wander around, including Wollman Rink, where Kevin meets the bandits for the first time in the city!
You’ll probably want to hop on the subway to go downtown for our next location, which is located in the West Village. While “Friends” was not filmed in New York, it has become a quintessential part of the city. The show itself took place on a set in Los Angeles, but the outside of the apartment building is right here in New York! Head to the corner of Bedford & Grove for a view of this iconic building. You’ll know you’re in the right spot when you see people lined up on the corner taking photos!
Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment
Although Carrie’s apartment in “Sex and the City” is supposed to be on the Upper East Side, the real apartment that was used for the shots is in the West Village as well! Located just a short walk from the “Friends” apartment at 66 Perry Street, you’ll find quite a few people outside of here taking photos too. That said, the owners of the beautiful brownstone have put up rope to stop people from sitting on the iconic stoop, and even had the street view blurred out on Google Maps.
Of course we have to wrap up this list with another classic romantic comedy from Nora Ephron, “When Harry Met Sally”. In addition to the scene filmed at the MET, Harry and Sally’s iconic lunch date took place at Katz’s Deli. There’s even a sign on the table where they sat, but be aware there’s often a line!
Bonus: Right nearby is Washington Square Park, where Harry and Sally first pulled in when they drove from Chicago to New York City!