New York: TV and Movie Tour

New York is a hotbed of cinematic and television activity: You could throw a stone and hit a dozen locations that have served as the setting for films and shows.
By: Kristin Luna

Ever wonder about the address for Rachel and Monica's apartment building in 'Friends,' or the name of the famed bakery in which 'Sex and the City''s Carrie and Miranda snacked on the world's best cupcakes?

Travel no farther than the Big Apple.

New York is a hotbed of cinematic and television activity: You could throw a stone and hit a dozen locations that have served as the setting for some of the world's greatest films and shows. Companies like On Location Tours Inc. offer guided bus tours of these notable movie and TV backdrops (including specialized routes like 'Sex and the City Hotspots' and 'Soprano Sites'); however, if you want to see some of them on your own clock, consult our outline below and explore at your leisure.

The ghoul-fighting boys of the 'Ghostbusters' franchise took up headquarters at the Hook and Ladder 8 building on 14 N. Moore Street in TriBeCa. The real firefighters who work out of the house are friendly, accustomed to tourists and generally don't mind if you want to take a peek inside (just don't ask to slide down their pole; there they draw the line!). Visitors will even find framed 'Ghostbusters' paraphernalia decorating the walls. For other supernatural trips down memory lane, stop by the New York Public Library (Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets) or 55 Central Park West, which served as Dana Barrett's Art Deco apartment where the heroes battle the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Monica Geller and Rachel Green's aforementioned apartment, where most of 'Friends' supposedly took place (though, in actuality, it was filmed on a lot in California), can be found on the corner of Bedford and Grove streets in the West Village. If you have an eye for detail, you'll notice one discrepancy: There are no balconies off the units of this building. As viewers may recall, the gang spent many an episode fighting, drinking, playing or smooching on their outside patio. Much of the opening sequence was shot in nearby Washington Square Park. And for fans longing for a cup of joe from the usual hangout, Central Perk, sorry to bust your bubble: No such establishment actually exists.

If the façade for The Daily Bugle looks vaguely familiar, that's probably because it's one of Manhattan's most recognizable architectural gems. The Flatiron Building, constructed in a triangular form, is situated on Fifth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets. In the first flick of the trilogy, you'll recall Mary Jane working as a server at Moondance Diner, an actual restaurant located at 6th Avenue and Canal Street, at the border of TriBeCa and Nolita. 'Spider-Man' used other popular Manhattan spots in filming: the New York Public Library (where Uncle Ben drops off Peter Parker before the shooting); Times Square (the background for Spidey's initial encounter with the Green Goblin); and Rockefeller Roof Gardens (where he leaves Mary Jane after saving her for the first of many times), which is no longer open to the public but can be seen from the Top of The Rock observation deck.

Sex and the City
It's no wonder that you might recognize a handful of backdrops from a show focused on four Manhattan gal pals' dating and social life. The most visited is Carrie Bradshaw's stoop. Although the sex columnist supposedly resides on E. 73rd Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues, the building shot for the show stands proudly in the West Village at  66 Perry Street (between Bleecker and West Fourth). While in the neighborhood, you can drop in at Magnolia Bakery at Bleecker and West 11th streets, made famous by the show for its gourmet cupcakes (accordingly, the line usually wraps around the block).

Coyote Ugly
It was the movie that launched a thousand bars (in Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Dallas and more), but the inspiration for the film about a songstress-turned-bartender took place in the raunchy Meatpacking district dive Hogs & Heifers. By weekday, you'll find the crowd fitting - rednecks and meat-packers, more or less what you would expect given its name and derelict interior - though the weekend brings tourists familiar with the bar from its big-screen exposure.

As Central Perk is to 'Friends,' Monk's is to 'Seinfeld.' Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer's beloved diner is Tom's Restaurant at 2880 Broadway, in the Upper West Side (the same eatery Suzanne Vega crooned about in 'Tom's Diner'). The 'Tom's' was omitted early on in 'Seinfeld' to cut back on the costs of having to pay royalties (you'll notice the original sign if watching episodes from the very beginning). If you want to catch a glimpse of the Soup Nazi's former stomping grounds (it has since closed), head over to Al's Soup Kitchen International at 259 West 55th Street, or visit any branch of The Original Soupman, which was launched by the Soup Nazi himself after 'Seinfeld' propelled him to fame.

Ugly Betty
Viewers who find Betty's "beauty is only skin deep" mantra endearing might consider it worthwhile to cruise by the Metropolitan Life Insurance North Building. Located at Madison Square Park, it doubles as the headquarters of fictional Mode magazine where Daniel, Wilhelmina and the whole crew toil away daily for the sake of the greater fashion good.

Home Alone 2
Macaulay Culkin's character Kevin may have had it tough, taking up lodging in a luxury suite in one of the city's classiest hotels while his loony family was celebrating the holidays elsewhere without him. But if you have to be stranded in New York, there are worse places to be stuck than the Plaza (a palatial edifice located at Central Park and Fifth Avenue). Across the street, you'll find toy superstore FAO Schwartz, where Kevin foiled a robbery; in the opposite direction, you can explore Central Park, where our pint-sized hero befriended the Pigeon Lady and escaped the goonish convicts.

The Cosby Show
The exterior of the Huxtable family home was shot from 10 St. Luke's Place in the stylish West Village. However, true Cosby fans will recall that the TV family resided in Brooklyn. Sit on the stairs leading up to the townhouse and relive some classic television moments without even turning on your television.

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