Your Complete Netflix Travel Guide to Manhattan
Originally published on PassionPassport.com
New York City is an iconic location, and that’s before you consider how many TV shows and movies have been set there. If you love visiting the real-life locations that were either featured in, or the inspiration for some of your favorite on-screen moments, look no further than this streaming guide.
Here are five TV shows and four movies on Netflix that are entirely — or partially — set in the Big Apple’s most densely-populated borough.
Just press play!
Arguably the most well known show to take place in New York City, “Friends” wasn’t actually shot in New York at all. So, unfortunately, you won’t be able to grab a coffee at Central Perk after all (you’d have to take the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Los Angeles to do that). But, there is a bit of a silver lining. While the apartments themselves were built on sound stages in LA, the apartment building that housed the show’s iconic characters is very much real. Head to90 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village and look up at the place Rachel, Monica, Chandler, and Joey (oh, and Phoebe and Ross at one time or another) called home.
MASTER OF NONE
Aziz Ansari’s character Dev traverses all of New York City in search of good food, and since the show shoots in the city, the possibilities of following in his footsteps are endless. Even if you’ve only seen a few episodes, you’ve likely heard a thing or two about the show’s second episode, Emmy-winning “Parents.” When Dev and his friend Brian take their parents out to eat and hear stories of their childhoods before they moved to America, they head to Shun Lee Palacein Midtown East. Follow their lead, grab your parents, and order “the good dishes” when you get there.
THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
After Kimmy Schmidt and her fellow “mole sisters” escape their captivity, they take part in an interview on the “Today Show” at none other than 30 Rockefeller Plaza. After the show, Kimmy leaves her sisters behind and decides to stay in New York City to start a new life — and she makes that decision in the bright, over-the-top Times Square, where she meets her fabulous roommate, Titus. Take in the view from the Top of the Rock, then head down to Times Square and start belting out “the Circle of Life.”
The world of 1960s New York that’s portrayed in this show has almost completely disappeared, but there are still a few Don Draper-esque locations around Manhattan that can be visited if you’re in the right neighborhood. For a taste of the environment Draper and Co. worked in day in and day out, head to the Time-Life Building on Avenue of the Americas. Take a peek inside to see the mural-clad lobby, and then head to Grand Central for a bite of old-school charm. The Grand Central Oyster Bar has been serving patrons and commuting customers for over 100 years. Just try to avoid the disastrous post-oyster and drinks vomiting that occurred in the show.
While this iconic location from the popular TV show appears to be right across from their school, the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are actually a ways across town from Constance and St. Jude’s. That’s movie magic, folks! The entrance to the MET is where Blair Waldorf and her friends — ahem, minions — frequently take their lunch breaks, spending the time, aptly, gossiping about their well-to-do friends and acquaintances. Grab a yogurt, find a spot among the queuing tourists, and watch the world go by. Oh, and don’t forget your headband.
BEFORE WE GO
This film takes its main characters on an all-night journey through Manhattan, so copying their path exactly would be both complicated and exhausting. But the film starts and ends in the same spot: Grand Central Station. This crowded transportation hub plays host to a few key events in the story, and it’s also where the two main characters (played by Chris Evans and Alice Eve) meet for the very first time. Recreate the perfect “meet-cute” and head to Grand Central late in the evening or early morning — when the crowds will have thinned and the cacophony muted.
We’ll give you an offer you can’t refuse. To see where this film’s infamous massacre scene is supposed to have taken place, head to Chinatown, where you’ll find the New York County Supreme Courthouse. Although the steps might not be the best spot for lunch a la Blair and Serena, the hexagonal, Roman-style building is impressive nonetheless. After you’ve studied the courthouse (and kept out of the way of the Corleones), head to the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, which is where Michael attends his nephew’s baptism while the aforementioned massacre is taking place. This Gothic Revival-style church has been a NYC landmark since its completion 200 years ago (in 1815), and it even shows up again in the third movie of the “Godfather” franchise.
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
Elegant, eccentric socialite Holly Golightly lives on Manhattan’s East Side in a posh brownstone apartment, but the real location to visit is right in the film’s title: Tiffany & Co. The movie starts (and ends) on Fifth Avenue, where Audrey Hepburn munches on breakfast and sips coffee while window shopping. The flagship store opened in Manhattan in 1940 and has continued to draw attention ever since. It’s whimsical window displays are always changing, it’s been featured in many a movie since “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and, best of all, you can reenact Holly’s morning routine at absolutely no cost and remain relatively unbothered if you wake before the tourist crowds.
This musical rom-com takes place all across the Big Apple, but some of the most memorable scenes are when Gretta (played by Keira Knightley) takes her makeshift band (including Mark Ruffalo’s Dan) to the city streets to record new songs. They take up instruments and start singing under the arch in Washington Square Park, in rowboats and under Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, and in the subway station at Broad Street. Grab your earbuds, hit play on the soundtrack, and follow along.