New York City's iconic streets, avenues, buildings and parks have provided the backdrop for numerous movie blockbusters. Come with me on a tour of my top 10 Big Apple movie locations
Stroll through Manhattan and, even though you know you may never have set foot on a particular sidewalk before, the stores, buildings and landmarks look familiar. The truth is, you probably know the location from watching a movie on the silver screen. So many films have used New York as a backdrop that almost every street, avenue and park has, at one time or another, fell under a director’s gaze.
These are my top 10 New York film locations:
Empire State Building, on 5th Avenue has featured in numerous films from King Kong way back in 1933 through to the climax of the 1993 hit romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle and even Will Ferrell’s 2003 cult comedy Elf.
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without making your way up to the viewing decks even if it’s highly unlikely Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan will be waiting for you.
It’s actually worth taking two elevator trips if you can, one in the day and then after nightfall when the lights of Manhattan will evoke different emotions.
Open 365 days a year between 8am-2am tickets cost around $18.45 for adults for the 86th floor observatory (1,050 ft). Tickets for the 102 floor can be booked for a further $15 at the reception desk.
However, check the weather as low cloud, mist or rain severely effects visibility and you are better waiting for a sunny day or clear night sky.
The Flat Iron Building at 5th Ave between 22nd and 23rd St has to be one of New York’s most iconic buildings and has featured in many movies. Scenes were shot at the Flat Iron for the 1998 Bruce Willis hit Armageddon and in 2002, when Tobey Maguire was spinning his way across Manhattan in Spiderman. However, in the 1998 film Godzilla the skyscraper was accidentally destroyed by the US Army as they chased the jolly giant lizard.
Central Park - Merchant's Gate, West 59th Street at Columbus Circle was featured in Robert De Niro’s brooding 1976 classic Taxi Driver. And enter Central Park and you’ll find the sets of a whole host of movies including Love Story, Rosemary’s Baby, Ghostbusters, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, When Harry Met Sally and Home Alone 2.
Visit www.screentours.com/tour.php/central for information on tours of Central Park Movie locations. However, be warned, tours are popular and advance booking is a must with tickets costing around $20.
Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island has been the setting for countless movies scenes. In The Godfather trilogy a young Vito Corleone gazes at the statue as he arrives in New York while Ghostbusters 2 saw some manic moments unfold at the famous statue.
If you are on a budget and don’t want to pay for a boat trip out to Liberty Island take the Staten Island Ferry from the terminal in Whitehall Street, lower Manhattan. The service, which carries 60,000 passengers a day, is free and offers great views of Manhattan as you sail across to Staten Island. And, as it passes close to Liberty Island, you also get great views of the Statue of Liberty.
On arrival at Staten Island, after your 25 minute ride, simply disembark go through the terminal and get back on the same ferry for the return trip and more great views.
The Federal Building at Broad Street and Wall Street was used as the location in Ghost when Patrick Swayze’s character forces Oda Mae Brown, played by Whoopi Goldberg, to hand over a stack of cash to some very shocked but grateful nuns.
Grand Central Station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue has also been the setting for countless films including Men in Black, North by North West and cult Al Pacino classic Carlito’s Way.
I love stopping for coffee at one of the cafes in Grand Central’s main hall, which is more like a cathedral than a railway station, while I watch New Yorkers go about their hectic daily lives. There are daily tours of the station where you can wonder at the gold chandeliers and hear something of the history of the terminal.
Times Square at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue is also at the heart of New York’s Theatre District. An iconic New York landmark Times Square has provided the backdrop for many memorable movie moments including the Oscar nominated Vanilla Sky as well as Deep Impact and I am Legend.
Packed full of tourists and crammed with restaurants, theatres and shops Times Square is an amazingly colourful and atmospheric place to visit.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue at 82nd Street, was just one of the New York landmarks used in Will Smith’s I am Legend. Founded in 1870, The Met, as it is affectionately known, houses some wonderful works of art and has regular exhibitions by great artists such as Picasso.
The Met is not open on Mondays, except for some public holidays. It is open Tuesday to Thursday 9.30-5pm, Friday and Saturday 9.30-9pm and Sunday 9.30am-5pm.
Lincoln Center, 132 W. 65th Street has been featured in several blockbusters including Ghostbusters, Sweet Home Alabama and The Producers. Home to the New York Philharmonic, The New York Ballet and The Metropolitan Opera among others, the 390-seat Opera House and other performance facilities are well worth a visit. Daily tours can be booked.
Katz’s Deli at 205 East Houston Street is famous for its hot dogs, pastrami and that Meg Ryan orgasmic moment in When Harry Met Sally. There’s even a plaque hanging above Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal's table.
Where to eat:
The Bridge Café at 279 Water Street at Dover Street is, in my opinion, the best place to eat in New York City. It’s the oldest surviving tavern and the last wood-built building still standing in the city. The former brothel, built in 1794, has Brooklyn Bridge towering almost overhead and is wonderfully atmospheric with an unbeatable and reasonably priced menu.
For lunch, salads, salmon or burger dishes cost between $10-$27 and dinner dishes, including steaks and citrus poached fish cost between $25-$35. And there’s the mouth-watering sweet menu which will leave you begging for mercy. The great food is complimented by the cosy atmosphere and great service. It might take you two or three runs around the block before you find it but the Bridge Café won’t leave you disappointed.
Where to stay:
Novotel New York - Times Square is located at 52nd Street and Broadway. The bar, Café Nicole, on the seventh floor, has a terrace overlooking Times Square while Central Park is a few minutes' walk away.
This 480-room hotel offers all you’d expect of a modern, contemporary hotel and, being high rise, importantly it has audible fire alarms in all rooms and an easy to follow fire escape plan. Rooms cost between $115-140 a night for a double room.
The Bedford Hotel at 118 East 40th Street is convenient for the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings and is just a short walk from Grand Central. It has a European feel and is smaller and more personal than many big Manhattan hotels. Rooms cost between $120-150 a night for a double room but check out their website for deals and offers.