The Big Apple. The City that Never sleeps. However you call it, New York is one of the most famous cities in the world and one of the most touted in pop culture. It’s the setting of novels and comic book series, the topic of Top 40 songs and anything reading “NYC” is a fashion staple. Here are some of our favourite films featuring New York and where to go to find the settings.
Image credit: Jason DeCrow / AP Images
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1954)
Starring Marilyn Monroe
Even if you haven’t seen this classic film, you’ve probably seen that image of Marilyn Monroe in a white dress standing over windy air vent.
Location: The 6 train, Lexington Ave & E 51st St, New York
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961)
Starring Audrey Hepburn
Another film from the Golden Age of Hollywood gave us another iconic image. Audrey Hepburn stands in front of Tiffany & Co, brekkie in hand, donning some black sunglasses, a black dress, a pearl necklace and a neat updo.
Location: Tiffany & Co flagship store, 727 5th Ave, New York
Image credit: The Humble Fabulist
SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978)
Starring Christopher Reeve
The Daily Planet may be a fictional newspaper, but the building used for filming was once the headquarters of the New York Daily News. 11 years after Superman: The Movie was released, the Daily News Building became a National Historic Landmark.
Location: Daily News Building, 220 E 42nd St, New York
Image credit: Darius Whelan
GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) & GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)
1984 version starring Bill Murray
2019 version starring Melissa McCarthy & Chris Hemsworth
Who you gon' call?
Why call the Ghostbusters when you can drop by their base? Aside from the Ghostbusters franchise, this famous firehouse has also made an appearance in Will Smith’s Hitch and the sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
Location: Hook & Ladder Company 8, 14 N Moore St, New York
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989)
Starring Meg Ryan & Billy Crystal
This is where Harry and Sally had their, shall we say, deep and meaningful conversation. If you’ve seen the film, you will know why that particular scene needs no explanation.
Known as being New York’s kosher-style deli, people come her to try their ‘legendary pastrami’ and ‘mile-high sandwiches’ since 1888.
Location: Katz's Delicatessen, 205 E Houston St, New York
MEN IN BLACK (1997)
Starring Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones
This movie had so NYC landmarks, it was hard to pick one!
One of the ventilation buildings of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel was the MIB HQ in the movie. It can neither be confirmed nor denied whether this site is really an Intergalactic Department of Extra-Terrestrial Immigration in real life.
Now called the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, this is the longest underground tunnel in the whole of North America. It was even the longest underground tunnel in the entire world until 2016.
Other notable locations in the film:
- Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Avenue and East 89th Street, Manhattan.
- Battery Park, Manhattan.
- Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens.
- Shea Stadium, 12301 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. (This is also where the Beatles had their concert in America)
Location: 504 Battery Pl, New York
Starring Kate Beckinsale & John Cusack
As chance encounters are the recurring theme of the film, Jonathan and Sara once again bump into each other at the Wollman ice skating rink. You can recreate this scene with a special someone and also recap your favourite New York city moments, like the couple do.
Location: Wollman Rink, 830 5th Ave, New York
MAID IN MANHATTAN (2002)
Starring Jennifer Lopez & Ralph Fiennes
The Waldorf-Astoria hotel served as the exterior of Maid in Manhattan’s Hotel Beresford. In the film, Fienne’s politician mistakes Lopez’s character for a high profile socialite when she is actually hotel staff.
Aside from Maid in Manhattan, this ultra luxe hotel was featured in The Great Gatsby (1974), Godfather Part III (1990), For the Love of the Game (1999), Serendipity (2001) and Two Weeks Notice (2002).
Location: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Ave, New York
Starring Tobey Maguire & Kirsten Dunst
This is where Uncle Ben told Peter Parker one of the most memorable lines of modern-day cinema: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Location: New York Public Library, 476 5th Ave, New York
When he isn’t patrolling the streets of New York as the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker works at The Daily Bugle as a newspaper journalist. While The Daily Bugle exists only in the Spiderverse, you can take a photo by the Flatiron building which was the news building in the movie.
Location: Flatiron Building, 175 5th Ave, New York
Image credit: Alternative Investment Offices
13 GOING ON 30 (2004)
Starring Jennifer Garner & Mark Ruffalo
After an embarrassing birthday party, 13-year old Jenna Rink wakes up the next day as a 30-year old fashion magazine editor. The setting for Poise Magazine is an art deco skyscraper you can find at 444 Madison Avenue.
Location: 444 Madison Ave, New York
Other notable locations in the film:
- Times square
- Henri Bendel Department Store, 712 5th Avenue and West 56th Street, Manhattan.
- Conservatory Water, Central Park (72nd and 75th Street) Manhattan.
- New York Public Library, 455 West 5th Avenue, Manhattan.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (2006)
Starring Ben Stiller
Imagine working at a museum where all the exhibits come to life at night. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?
The exhibits may not literally come to life but each exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History tells a story. There is so much to see and learn here.
Location: Natural History Museum, Central Park West and 79th St, New York.
Image credit: Vornado Realty Trust
WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013)
Starring Leonardo di Caprio, Margot Robbie
The interaction between Leonardo di Caprio and Matthew MccConaughey’s characters was legendary. McConaughey’s money chant was one of the most memorable and entertaining scenes of the entire film. Yes, it would be a bizarre sight to witness somebody humming and pounding their chest that loudly in a restaurant. It was weirdly inspiring—doesn’t it motivate you to earn some money?
Top of the Sixes restaurant, the location of scene, was said to be the meeting place of top stock brokers and was a symbol of privilege at the time. This posh rooftop restaurant had an amazing view of the Empire state building where you could have 'cocktails in the clouds.' The restaurant had closed down in 1996, with The Grand Havana Room now in its place.
Location: 666 5th Ave, New York
Image credit: Emilio Guerra
Starring Joaquin Phoenix
The Joker is newest movie in this list and has inspired many to go on an Instagram selfie or meme tourism pilgrimage to what is now known as the #JokerStairs in the Bronx. In the movie, Arthur Fleck has become the Joker and dances down this grungy staircase. If you do a quick search on social media, you will see that many have posed and danced along these steps, dressed in their version of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.
Location: W 167th St, between Anderson and Shakespeare Ave, Bronx
Other notable locations in the film:
- ‘Arkham State Hospital’ - Brooklyn Army Terminal Annex Building.
- ‘Donut Store’ - Twin Donut, 3396 Jerome Ave
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