New York in Reel Life

by NYCgo.com Staff

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New York is among the world's most filmed cities—in 2011, for example, 188 films were shot on location in the five boroughs, along with 23 primetime episodic television series (this according to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting). With so much movie magic taking place here year after year, the City has quite a collection of sites with ties to famous moving pictures. We've compiled a few for your convenience. Read on and check back soon—we'll be updating this slideshow periodically.

Courtesy, Paramount Pictures

Coming to America (1988)
What happens: Akeem (Eddie Murphy), prince of the imaginary African nation Zamunda, is displeased with the woman his parents want him to marry, finding her overly submissive. So he goes to New York City's borough of Queens, where he falls in love with the daughter of a man who owns a familiar-looking fast-food restaurant called McDowell's.
Notable spots: The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (below) is where the King of Zamunda (James Earle Jones) stays when he comes to New York to retrieve his son. And McDowell's—that fictional fast-food restaurant with many suspicious parallels to McDonald's—is a building at 85-07 Queens Blvd., which is really home to a Wendy's.
Pro Tip: The difference between a Big Mac and a “Big Mick” is that the latter is on a seedless bun.

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Waldorf-Astoria
Courtesy, Waldorf-Astoria

Courtesy, Paramount Pictures

“Crocodile” Dundee (1986)
What happens: A newspaper writer, Sue (Linda Kozlowski), falls in love with her subject, Australian bushman Mick “Crocodile” Dundee (Paul Hogan), and brings him back to New York City—ostensibly to work on her story. There, he has trouble adjusting to City life and must contend with an editor who competes for Sue's affection.
Notable spots: Mick and Sue take in the New York City skyline from Top of the Rock, and Mick has an altercation at Vazac's Horseshoe Bar (below), a dive in the East Village.
Pro tip: Above, “Crocodile” is hanging out on Fifth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets. Go visit, but please don't climb the street signs.

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B7 Bar
Photo: Joe Buglewicz

Courtesy, Paramount Pictures

The Godfather (1972)
What happens: Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) comes to lead his brutal family business in this film, more or less universally recognized as a classic.
Notable spots: The Corleone mansion, a real house, is located in Staten Island. Michael and his fiancée, Kay, stay at The St. Regis. Among many other important locations in the film are St. Patrick's Old Cathedral (below) and the New York State Supreme Court Building on Foley Square.
Pro tip: The fictitious oil-import company Genco Olive Oil (where Vito Corleone's attempted assassination took place) was located at 128 Mott Street. That's a real building, but it's no longer considered Little Italy. These days, it's Chinatown.

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St. Patrick's Old Cathedral
Photo: Will Steacy

Courtesy, Paramount Pictures

The Out-of-Towners (1970)
What happens: George (Jack Lemmon) and Gwen (Sandy Dennis), a couple from Ohio, head to New York City for George's big job interview and plan a nice night out beforehand. Instead, they encounter various obstacles, including transit mishaps, labor unrest and muggers.
Notable spots: George and Gwen arrive in New York City at the landmark Grand Central Terminal. After they're turned away from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the couple has to spend the night sleeping in Central Park (below).
Pro tip: Even if you're shut out of the Waldorf-Astoria, you can find plenty of indoor lodging options on our hotels page.

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Central Park
Photo: Joe Buglewicz

Courtesy, Paramount Pictures

Vanilla Sky (2001)
What happens: Now that's a good question. Something like this: David Aames (Tom Cruise), the handsome, wealthy heir to a publishing company, faces charges for a murder he cannot remember and has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy.
Notable spots: Vanilla Sky features a particularly memorable dream sequence set in Times Square (below)—director Cameron Crowe had the streets closed to traffic, so Tom Cruise is really all alone in what's usually among the busiest places in the City.
Pro tip: Head for the Crossroads of the World and think about all the cool scenes you'd film there if you were a powerful movie mogul.

Buy it on DVD.

Times Square
Photo: Jen Davis

Courtesy, Paramount Pictures

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
What happens: Paul (George Peppard), a writer, falls in love with his glamorous-but-neurotic new neighbor Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn).
Notable spots: As indicated by the title, Holly eats the most important meal of the day outside the window of the titular jewelry store, Tiffany & Co. (below), on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street. Her apartment building is located at 169 E. 71st St.
Pro tip: Find great pastries to eat outside the Tiffany's window at Zibetto Espresso Bar, just about an avenue block from the store.

Buy it on DVD.

Tiffany's
Photo: Will Steacy


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