You've seen New York in the movies a thousand times but nothing beats the real thing. Here's where to add some film-star magic to your stay in Manhattan
Hudson Hotel at 356 West 58th Street. Movie moment: Sex and the City
OK I’m cheating a bit here. This midtown hotel featured in the SATC series rather than the film. But given that Carrie Bradshaw has become almost as much a New York icon as the Statue of Liberty herself, I think we can make an exception.
The Hudson was the location for a party thrown by Samantha Jones’ ex Richard Wright – and later the scene of an ill-advised liaison between the former couple. Dimly lit and uber-stylish, the Hudson was the perfect setting for one of Samantha’s after-dark adventures, and it’s ideal for adding a touch of (reasonably) affordable glamour to your Big Apple break.
The Philippe Starck-designed hotel is home to a residents’ bar that doubles as one of the hottest nightspots in the city, and the sky terrace - with its funky topiary and sweeping views of the city - is not to be missed.
Smith & Wollensky (49th Street and 3rd Avenue www.smithandwollensky.com). Movie moment: The Devil Wears Prada
From her Christian Louboutin boots to her Prada bags, Runway magazine’s terrifying editor-in-chief Miranda Priestley displayed impeccable taste at all times – and that went for her lunch as well as her labels. Hence we see her long-suffering assistant Andi hammering at the door of this famous New York steakhouse to ensure Ms Priestley’s midday snack meets her exacting standards.
In reality, Smith & Wollensky more than lives up to the hype. Whenever you visit you’re likely to find the bustling bar packed with diners waiting to be seated, and when you finally taste one of the mouth-watering steaks you’ll see why. The enormous side orders are equally delicious, with the creamed spinach a particular highlight. Wash your meal down with a martini for an authentic New York experience.
Serendipity 3 (225 East 60th Street www.serendipity3.com). Movie moment: One Fine Day
When Michelle Pfeiffer needed to entertain two fed-up youngsters in One Fine Day, she took them to this kitsch eatery for a treat. Unsurprisingly, the kids opted for one of Serendipity’s trademark choc-tastic desserts – and so should you. Skip the burgers and hot dogs on offer and save your appetite for one of the calorie-packed puds that made this postage stamp sized restaurant famous.
It’s open into the early hours at weekends, so avoid the crowds and nip in at the very end of an action-packed day in the city for a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate or a slice of Creme de la Creme Cream Cheesecake – both of which taste just as good as they sound.
Joe’s Pizza (7 Carmine Street, Greenwich Village www.joespizza.com). Movie moment: Spiderman 2
This unassuming pizzeria boasted none other than a superhero on its staff in the movie Spiderman 2. He may have spent his evenings clinging to the sides of skyscrapers, but Spiderman’s alter-ego Peter Parker had a day job delivering pizzas for this Greenwich Village staple. Before he was sacked that is.
Stop by and order a delicious slice of thin-crust pie to go, and enjoy it as you wander the streets of this relatively peaceful enclave away from the hubbub of the tourist hot spots.
The Empire State Building (350 5th Avenue www.esbnyc.com). Movie moments: Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember, King Kong.
This New York landmark has appeared in too many movies to mention, and no first time trip to the Big Apple would be complete without taking in the view from the observation deck of the sprawling city below.
But while Meg Ryan may be able to waltz in off the street and let the lift whisk her straight to the 86th floor, the frustrating reality is you will have to queue.
At peak times you can expect to stand in line for over an hour to get upstairs, and - even more irritating - you have to queue to get back down again. But if you go prepared for a wait, the unrivalled view of that famous city skyline is undoubtedly worth it.
Tiffany & Co (5th Avenue at 57th Street www.tiffany.com). Movie moment: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Not simply a jewellery store, but now a tourist destination in its own right, Holly Golightly described this 5th Avenue landmark as “the best place in the world, where nothing very bad could happen to you”. Your credit card could take a serious bashing though.
Tiffany’s was also the scene of the most envy-inducing wedding proposal ever in Sweet Home Alabama. The film sees Reese Witherspoon’s dreamy boyfriend surprise her with a trip to Tiffany’s after closing time, where Mr Perfect gets down on one knee, and his new fiancée gets to take her pick from the sparklers on display.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new rock, a mere browse around this world-famous store offers a thrill that is distinctly New York.