While Hollywood may be the heart of the American entertainment industry, many of your favorite movies are also filmed in New York City. Whether you’re like Murray Huberfeld and and frequent visitor to the Big Apple or you’re a lifetime resident, it can be a fun (and occasionally eerie) experience to walk around the city and see some of the locations that have been prominently featured in major blockbusters. Here is a look at several spots you can visit to get a taste of film history.
When Harry Met Sally – Katz’s Deli (205 East Houston Street)
Head to Manhattan’s Lower East Side to grab a pastrami sandwich and discover where Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan shot the famous “orgasm scene” from When Harry Met Sally. Once inside, you’ll have no problem spotting the exact table where the two lovebirds sat, as there is a giant sign hanging above it that reads, “I’ll have what she’s having.” You may not know that this iconic line wasn’t originally in the script, but filmmakers decided to try it out on the day of filming. The deadpan actress who says those famous words is actually director Rob Reiner’s mother.
Ghostbusters – Hook and Ladder Company 8 (14 North Moore Street)
The Ghostbusters films are some of the most memorable comedies of the 1980s, and the elite team had their headquarters at a real NYC fire station. Located in the Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca, Hook and Ladder Company 8 is still a working station for the FDNY today, and movie fans will have no trouble spotting its famous façade. If you happen to pass the station when its doors are open, you might be able to see the Ghostbusters II sign hanging inside. There is also a logo painted on the sidewalk out front that somewhat resembles the classic Ghostbusters insignia.
You’ve Got Mail – La Mode Cleaners (106 West 69th Street)
You probably don’t remember a dry cleaner’s in the hit romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, but the movie’s Shop Around the Corner probably rings a bell. The small children’s bookstore owned by Kathleen (Meg Ryan) was actually Maya Shaper’s Cheese and Antique Shop when the movie filmed, but that original location has since shuttered. Today, you can see the same façade, but the building is currently occupied by La Mode Cleaners. Somewhat ironically, the children’s bookstore that inspired screenwriter Nora Ephron to create the movie’s Shop Around the Corner is still in business. You can visit Books of Wonder at 18 West 18th Street.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Tiffany and Co. (200 5th Avenue)
The title of the Audrey Hepburn classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s indicates that its leading lady, Holly Golightly, eats her breakfast standing outside the windows of the classy jewelry store. Fans of this romance can get all dolled up, grab a pastry and coffee, and then head to the corner of 57th Street and 5th Avenue. Stand facing the Tiffany’s window with The Crown Building across the street behind you, and you will perfectly recreate Hepburn’s classic scene.
The Seven Year Itch – East 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue
Picture Marilyn Monroe, and one of the images that will immediately spring to mind is likely to be the actress standing atop a subway grate and attempting to hold her dress as it threatens to blow upward. This iconic scene was filmed at the corner of East 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue on the night of September 15th, 1954. Filmmakers invited every prominent member of the New York press to come witness the filming, and it drew a crowd of more than 2,000 bystanders. You’ll find the exact subway grate in front of the main entrance for a restaurant called Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote.
Spider-Man – The Flatiron Building (175 Fifth Avenue)
When you see the Flatiron Building in real life, it won’t be emblazoned with letters denoting “The Daily Bugle,” but you will certainly recognize its façade as being the headquarters of the Spider-Man newspaper. One of NYC’s most interesting buildings, the “skyscraper” was originally one of the tallest in the city (today it barely measures up to most of the buildings surrounding it). The Flatiron’s wedge shape is what makes it most notable, and it has often been used in establishing shots on TV shows like Friends and Spin City to remind viewers that those series are supposed to take place in New York.
The Big Apple has been so widely photographed that you might recognize almost any location you walk past as having been featured in a memorable movie or television scene. This list gives you several places to begin your tour, but you can always look up your favorite movies to find out where they were filmed and visit those locations as well. Once you have been to famous spots like these in real life, like Murray Huberfeld you’ll be amazed how much it alters the experience of seeing them on screen.