New York City has appeared in thousands of television shows and movies; it’s hard not to walk down the street in the Big Apple without passing something that looks familiar. You could spend days going from Lower Manhattan to the upper east and west sides spotting famous TV and movie locations and still not see them all.
Here, then, in no particular order, is a rundown of some of our favorite NYC hotels and restaurants from the silver screen.
Considered the city’s “Grande Dame,” the Art Deco-style Waldorf Astoria New York is just two blocks from Rockefeller Center and four blocks from the Theater District. A legendary landmark on Park Avenue, the hotel’s luxuriously appointed guest rooms are elegant and timeless. The Waldorf Astoria is where Prince Akeem, (Eddie Murphy) is confined in Coming to America, where Al Pacino dances the tango in Scent of a Woman, and where Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) get back together in Serendipity. It has had cameos in dozens of other films, too, from Mr. and Mrs. Smith to Analyze This.
On Fifth Avenue, in the heart of midtown, The St. Regis New York is the epitome of modern elegance, as guest rooms appointed with custom furnishings. The hotel is three blocks from both Rockefeller Center and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The St. Regis is seen twice in The Godfather, and makes appearances in The First Wives Club and The Devil Wears Prada.
The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City, on Madison Avenue, was built during the 1920s and named after Theodore Roosevelt. The hotel’s Grand Ballroom is where Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) gave his Academy-Award winning “Greed is Good” speech in Wall Street. In season 2 of Mad Men, Don Draper lives at this hotel. (Music fans, The Roosevelt also was the setting for Rascal Flatts music video for “I’ll be home for Christmas.”)
Luxuriously renovated to the tune of US$140 million dollars in 2013, The New York Palace is located on Madison Avenue across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. You might recall St. Patrick’s unique Gothic architecture from the movie, Spiderman. In the movie 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigl’s character attends a posh affair at The New York Palace. It also has been seen as the home of Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass and the Van der Woodsen family.
Many of New York City’s restaurants have had starring roles, too. Rarely did an episode of Seinfeld go by without Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine meeting up for a bite to eat. More often than not, you would find them at Tom’s Restaurant, a diner on the corner of 112th Street and Broadway, on the Upper West Side. Another popular haunt from this show: The Soup Nazi, which is located on West 55th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue, in Hell’s Kitchen. As the colorful shop owner liked to say on TV, “No soup for you!”
Viewfinder Tip: On warm summer days, rent paddleboats near the Loeb Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park.
The Loeb Boathouse Restaurant, in Central Park on Park Drive North near East 72nd Street, has been the romantic backdrop for many memorable movie moments. In an episode of Sex and the City, for instance, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) meets Big (Chris Noth) there for lunch and an unexpected swim in the lake.
Another famous eatery: Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side. Who can forget the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally? When you visit this restaurant, it’s easy to spot the very table that made the Big Screen; just look for the sign that hangs above it and says: “Where Harry Met Sally…Hope you have what she had! Enjoy!” Remember, no visit to Katz’s Deli would be complete without a pastrami sandwich.
Buddakan, is a trendy and upscale and the restaurant where Carrie and Mr. Big had their infamous rehearsal dinner in the Sex and the City movie. It’s located on 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District, and is worth a visit for the dim sum even if you aren’t a fan of SATC.
(Also from the SATC department: the West Village’s Magnolia Bakery. One particular episode of Sex and the City put this bakery and its cupcakes on the map. If you go, avoid lunch hour and weekends, when the lines are longest.)
Two other restaurants that have made cameos in the movies include Cafe Lalo and The Russian Tea Room, both on the Upper West Side. Lalo was where Joe (Tom Hanks) stumbled upon Kathleen (Meg Ryan) in You’ve Got Mail. At night, trees outside the restaurant are illuminated by tiny white lights that cast a romantic glow on the café’s floor to ceiling windows. The Tea Room, on the other hand, is where Dustin Hoffman shows up dressed as a woman in Tootsie–an attempt to revive his acting career. This restaurant, which boasts the best vodka menu in all of New York, has appeared on Gossip Girl and in the Woody Allen flick, Manhattan.
Where have some of your favorite TV shows and movies been filmed?