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Touring New York City’s Epic Film Locations

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli…”

What’s your favorite New York City movie moment? Tom Hanks and Gene Hackman playing chopsticks on the giant FAO Schwarz piano in Big? The Warriors and other rough-and-tumble gangs gathered around Riverside Park in Manhattan? Dustin Hoffman’s “We’re walking here!” proclamation, perhaps?

Films of the Golden Age in Hollywood are regarded as living history. Though many cinematically-loved locales have been subject to demolition or unrecognizable renovation, plenty are still standing. Lucky for all of us, we can hop on a bus and take a tour of classic film locations. Let’s take a look at a few settings…


Look familiar?

Well…how about now? Marilyn’s billowing white gown and this iconic scene from The Seven Year Itch have each taken on lives of their own. Consider this the most famous subway grate of all time. This scene was filmed at 2 o’clock in the morning, yet still garnered a crowd of 5,000 slavering men fans.


The first chunk of North by Northwest features loads of familiar New York scenery, but the scenes in Grand Central (and the opening credits) are especially legit. Particularly when compared to the Mount Rushmore portion of the movie…


Ghostbusters highlights plenty of NYC icons: the 5th Avenue Library, Columbia University, City Hall, that creepy Upper West Side building Sigourney Weaver lives in… But the Stay Puft marshmallow man stomping through Columbus Circle wins the gold medal.


The Queensboro Bridge makes for a stunning shot in Woody Allen’s black-and-white Manhattan. The vast majority of his 50 (!) films include notable New York City landmarks – and pretty much the same plot. Zing!

The namesake opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s features the most glamourous Danish and coffee of all time. Taking a snapshot on Holly Golightly’s apartment steps is also quite popular.

Rumor has it that King Kong director Merian C. Cooper just wanted to make a movie that included a giant ape fighting airplanes atop the world’s tallest building. He developed the rest of story accordingly.

A scene from Rosemary’s Baby with Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes standing in front of the gates of the Dakota building. Not to be confused with the gates of hell. That comes later.

Despite being set in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I just learned On the Waterfront was filmed primarily in Hoboken, New Jersey. Sad. At least Desperately Seeking Susan was actually filmed in New York. Ditto for a few scenes from All About Eve. And close to the entirety of Spike Lee’s cinematic canon. But enough about me…what are your favorites?

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