11 Movies That Make You Want to Visit New York City

by NYCgo.com Staff


It's the season for summer blockbusters, and no place looks better on film than New York City. In honor of that, we've put together a short list of essential NYC movies from years past that would inspire any cinephile—or, really, any reasonable person—to visit the five boroughs. Watch 'em for yourselves, and then book a flight to see the sights in person.

Birdman (2014)
For fans of: Broadway theater, inventive indies and the throngs in Times Square
What happens: An actor seeks redemption on the Broadway stage.
Why you'll book a flight: This look at the cutthroat, behind-the-scenes world of Broadway could make anyone want to go to the St. James Theater (currently showing: Something Rotten), where most of the film takes place. Michael Keaton stars as a former movie superhero in this meta-drama about drama that took home the Oscar for Best Picture of 2014. If you come to the City, you can soak up some of that Broadway pizazz (and intense, postshow conflict, like what takes place in the gorgeously restored Rum House—an après-theater hangout in the Hotel Edison) for yourself. Just don't expect to see Keaton running through Times Square in his underwear. —Brian Sloan
Where to go:
• St. James Theatre
• The Rum House 
• Times Square (the block in front of the Marriot Marquis, specifically)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
For fans of: The holiday season in New York City 

What happens: Kevin McCallister hops on the wrong plane, unexpectedly ends up in the City and, again, has a run-in with the world's worst burglars, the Sticky Bandits (aka the Wet Bandits).
Why you'll book a flight: Kevin's in a tough spot, but the movie still shows why New York City is a great place to be during the holidays. Even when you're on the run from burglars and without parental supervision, the luxury of the Plaza Hotel and the majesty of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree are bound to put a smile on your face. And if there's any city where you could still, just maybe, track down a Talkboy, this would be the one. —Tess Kornfeld
Where to go:
• Plaza Hotel 
• Gapstow Bridge, Central Park
• Rockefeller Center

When Harry Met Sally (1989)
For fans of: Romance and shoulder pads
What happens: Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal meet, fall out of touch, meet again, fall out of touch again, meet yet again, stay in touch this time and fall in love.
Why you'll book a flight: Shoulder pads may be out, but New York City attractions like Central Park, the Met and, yes, even Katz's remain romantic all these years later. Late-'80s New York serves as the backdrop for all kinds of key questions: Can men and women ever be friends? Will Harry and Sally ever find love? Can we have what she's having? Head for the Lower East Side, and you certainly can. —Alyson Penn
Where to go:
• Gallery 131 (Temple of Dendur), Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Katz's Delicatessen 
Washington Square Park 
Loeb Central Park Boathouse

Coming to America (1988)
For fans of: Following one's heart, violating franchise agreements
What happens: Akeem (Eddie Murphy), prince of the imaginary African nation Zamunda, goes looking for a future queen in Queens.
Why you'll book a flight: Prince Akeem's attempt to find love and the shape-shifting, multiple-role performances of the stars, Murphy and Arsenio Hall, are metaphors for the ways you can reinvent yourself in NYC. As Akeem tells his love interest, Lisa (whose father owns a familiar-looking fast-food restaurant called McDowell's), "No journey is too great when one finds what he seeks." —Adam Kuban
Where to go:
Waldorf Astoria New York 
Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Working Girl (1988)
For fans of: Big ambition, big hair and making it in NYC against all odds
What happens: A smart, sexy Staten Island secretary conquers Wall Street and Harrison Ford.
Why you'll book a flight: Melanie Griffith's workplace, One New York Plaza, is adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry terminal; some of the movie's best scenes take place on her commute (including a sweeping opening shot featuring the Statue of Liberty, to the tune of Carly Simon's anthemic "Let the River Run"). The sparks between Griffith and Ford fly when they crash a wedding at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, but things get complicated with the return of Ford's girlfriend (Griffith's boss), memorably played by Sigourney Weaver. When Griffith finally ascends to the top, her office with a view is in One Chase Manhattan Plaza, a landmarked skyscraper near the World Trade Center site. You know the drill: if you can make it here… —Brian Sloan
Where to go:
Staten Island Ferry 
Statue of Liberty
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
• Pier 6

Ghostbusters (1984)
For fans of: New York City's magnetic, larger-than-life personalities
What happens: A ragtag crew hunts ghosts.
Why you'll book a flight: You're unlikely to encounter ghosts, ghouls or spirits of any sort on a trip to NYC—though you're welcome to go looking! —but you will find plenty of silver-tongued personalities (and, if you watch TV at the right time, local ads that fit in alongside the Ghostbusters' commercial). Not everyone's going to be as quick with the quips as Dr. Peter Venkman, or as charmingly long-suffering as Janine Melnitz, or as proficient at the cello as Dana Barrett, but if you don't find at least one New Yorker with that distinctly sardonic joie de vivre—a wonderful natural by-product of living in cramped quarters alongside 8 million other people—then someone's not doing their job. (No, we're not going to name names. Don't be rude.) —Jonathan Durbin
Where to go:
New York Public Library
Tavern on the Green 
Hook & Ladder 8 

Splash (1984)
For fans of: Fantasies, metaphorically/literally getting one's feet wet in NYC
What happens: A man falls for a mermaid who comes to NYC to seek him out years after they first met.
Why you'll book a flight: While you may not arrive naked at the Statue of Liberty (at least not if you plan your trip right), Daryl Hannah's adventures as Madison (a mermaid who gets her name, naturally, from Madison Avenue) adapting to life in New York City—and assorted rendezvous with Lady Liberty and other landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge—should be inspiring for humans and mermaids alike. —Heather Liang
Where to go:
Statue of Liberty 
Brooklyn Bridge 
Madison Avenue


The Warriors (1979)
For fans of: Leather vests and interborough travel
What happens: A stylish, leather-clad gang evades the police and rival gangs in an apocalyptic, graffiti-covered NYC.
Why you'll book a flight: Thankfully, the real New York City isn't a dystopia. But it is a place to set free your inner explorer. Throw on a leather vest, find your way to Pelham Bay Park and pretend, in your role as Warriors new de facto leader Swan, that you've got to make your way back to home turf. Stop off in Riverside Park, Central Park and Union Square, before meeting up with your friends—and coming out to play—in Coney Island. —Christina Parrella
Where to go:
Pelham Bay Park
Riverside Park 
Union Square 
Coney Island

Annie Hall (1977)
For fans of: Existentialism, complicated relationships, Marshall McLuhan
What happens: Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) contemplates what went wrong in his relationship with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton).
Why you'll book a flight: This movie promises that NYC will feel like home for neurotic intellectuals who are never comfortable anywhere else. (The quiet of the country makes Alvy nervous and, besides, there's nowhere to walk after dinner out there. As for Los Angeles…well, he's got nothing nice to say about Los Angeles). Alvy remembers a childhood living beneath the Thunderbolt roller-coaster in Coney Island. You can't live there, but you can ride the new version of the since-demolished ride. You can also people-watch at the Central Park Zoo, chat and argue on streets from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village and bring your date to a bookstore and insist that she read The Denial of Death. —Jonathan Zeller
Where to go:
Coney Island 
Brooklyn Bridge
Central Park Zoo

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
For fans of: Breakfast, Tiffany's
What happens: Paul (George Peppard) falls for his neighbor Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), a charming but unreliable eccentric.
Why you'll book a flight: Come chase the mean reds away like Audrey Hepburn does at her stylish best: romp through Central Park, the New York Public Library, Park Avenue, the Upper East Side and, of course, outside Tiffany & Co. with a danish in the wee hours. —Joyce Rutter Kaye
Where to go:
Central Park 
New York Public Library
• Well, obviously Tiffany & Co.

Two Men in Manhattan (1959)
For fans of: Noir, nightlife and NYC enchantment
What happens: Two journalists spend a long day's journey into night trying to pick up a missing French diplomat's tracks.
Why you'll book a flight: Those who want to pack as much into one day, or night, as possible, can use Two Men in Manhattan as inspiration, if not actual template—though it's wonderful to imagine that burlesque joint in Ridgewood, Queens (OK, it doesn't all take place in Manhattan), and the Pike Slip Inn still exist. This quasi-buddy-road-trip movie is part noir thriller and part paean to NYC's big sights and nighttime high jinks: the director is like a kid in a candy store showing off the lights of Times Square and rolling through the City streets. There's smoky jazz, atmospheric bars and 24-hour diners…everything a late night in New York should have; the fact that the interiors were shot in a studio in France should be of little consequence. —Andrew Rosenberg
Where to go:
United Nations 
Times Square 
Pike Slip


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