How is it possible to go to New York City and not go visit some of the most famous movie sets? It would require an entire blog to thoroughly talk about movies and TV shows taking place in New York City. The Big Apple sure is omnipresent in the pop-geek-cinema culture. So here are a few selected movie shooting spots we’ve explored.
Blowing off some steam at Carl Schulz Park
If there is one director who knows how to shine some light on New York City like no one else, it’s definitely… no, we’re not talking about Woody Allen here but Spike Lee ! He proved it in his masterpiece: “The 25th hour”. Held by Edward Norton at his best who offered us an amazing monologue on a silver platter, the film puts you in the shoes of a New Yorker, Montgomery aka Monty, as he spends his last 24 hours before going to prison. This movie truly is an ode to the beautiful New York City and even goes as far as making believe in an open ending for anyone who doesn’t perfectly know the city.
So it’s at the Carl Schurz Park, in Manhattan, at the corner of the East 86th Street and East End Street, that you’ll have to go to blow off some steam while facing the East River and Queens (the right bench was the one taken on my left-hand side, imagine my frustration !). You will also be able to walk around in the very nice park which is small but enough to forget your in one of the most hectic megalopolis in the world. You might also see people practicing tai chi!
A little (cinema?) history at the Federal Hall National Memorial
Let’s go now in front of one the oldest building in Wall Street. Indeed, it’s here that George Washington gave his oath of office in 1789 and created the first government of the United States of America. Well, the building was replaced in 1812 but still! It keeps a special aura, amplified by the fact that it stands out of its surroundings of very modern and contemporary buildings. Knowing that, it’s not really anodyne to see it in “The Dark Knight Rises” during the final fight between Batman and Bane. You could almost believe that Bane was trying to recreate History, hoping to stand as George Washikngton creating also his “New World” symbolizing his investiture speech by Batman’s defeat. We can also get out of the strict framework of film and do a pretty similar rapprochement at the end of the “Metal Gear Solid 2” video game where the final battle takes place on the roof of this building.
Whether it’s entirely empty like in “Vanilla Sky” (and more recently Mr Robot’s season finale) or swarming with people like in “The Avengers”, Times Square always has a big impact on things! Constant ads on movie screens practicly in IMAX, loopoing breaking news, stock prices and a lot of shops no matter where you look. “Welcome in the american dream” would say cynical people. One thing is for sure, you will feel completely tiny in this crazy environnment! More infos about New York City‘s must-see places here!
F society in Coney Island
And here we are at the South of the Brooklyn borough, in Coney Island. If in the summer, this waterfront boardwalk is welcoming and could look like some kind of New York version of the famous Venice beach, the neighborhoord looks kind of creepy out of the season. The empty luna park, closed during the winter, doesn’t help! So this place is often used in the movies for its heavy atmosphere. And it’s not the scenes in Mr Robot where the Fsociety hacking group settles there or Harry’s hallucinations in “Requiem for a dream” that would say otherwise!
There’s no way we can talk about the movie sets in New York City without talking about Kat’z Delicatessen. This place was made famous by Meg Ryan’s simulated orgasm in “When Harry meets Sally” and it looks like the movie left a pretty big imprint on the place as suggests the sign in the picture below. So no, we aren’t fans of romcoms and we didn’t even see the movie. Nevertheless it was a good excuse for us to try their famous smoked meat sandwiches that are so important in the North American culture. Piece of advice, just take one sandwich for 2, they are huge! More infos about the best spots to eat in New York City here!
You will have to have a pretty sharp eye to spot Tobey Maguire’s employer in “Spiderman 2”. Yes, Peter Parker was one on their delivery guy, pretty dope right? Well if you can’t have a pizza delivered by the Spiderman himself, you will always have the chance to eat a big delicious pizza slice for just a few dollars. You will have to eat it there or while walking down the streets just like a regular New Yorker. And who knows, maybe you will spot one of the many celebrity regulars as their wall of fame suggests.
Friends for life
If you also always wanted to live with a cool roommate, play « Bamboozle », have an evil twin named Ramon, a monkey in diapers called Marcel or if you also wonder why the hell are they feeding the smelly cat, then you will probably have recognized the pictured building. Indeed, it is here that our favorite friends used to live! What, still nothing? This is where Monica and Rachel’s apartment was in Friends as well as Chandler and Joey’s!
If you want more infos to help you set up your New York City trip, check out our New York handy guide!