Upper West Side
Explore Upper West Side TV & movie locations!
Join us on our Central Park TV & Movie Sites Tour for a wonderful experience on New York’s Upper West Side!
The Upper West Side (UWS) is a beautiful neighborhood in Manhattan that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River, above 59th Street. Originally, the northern boundary of the Upper West Side was 110th Street (at the very top of Central Park), but nowadays many New Yorkers consider the Upper West Side to go as far north as 125th Street, covering parts of Morningside Heights, Harlem, and Columbia University’s campus. The neighborhood is known for being primarily a residential and commercial area, but it certainly has its fair share of fascinating history, beautiful parks, and iconic pop culture.
Originally called the "Bloomingdale District," the neighborhood used to contain the farms and country houses of New York’s wealthy. However, development of the area was at a stand-still for decades, even when Central Park was being laid out in the 1860’s and 70’s. It wasn’t until the 9th Avenue elevated train extended uptown and Columbia University relocated to the area that the neighborhood began to change. The Upper West Side experienced a building boom from 1885-1910 and New York’s first subway, which ran straight through the Upper West Side, was opened in 1904.
One of the area’s most picturesque features of the UWS is Riverside Park, which runs along the Hudson River. The park was conceived in 1866, and the first section of the park was acquired through commendation in 1872; construction began shortly thereafter. The waterfront park (which now runs from 72nd Street to 125th Street) was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed the adjacent Riverside Drive. Riverside Drive is home to some of your favorite film and TV characters, from Will & Grace to 30 Rock’s Liz Lemmon. Riverside Park has also been featured in some classic New York movies. The park’s 91st Street garden was the location used in the famous ending scene of You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, and the park was also featured in the 1979 film The Warriorsas the Baseball Furies gang’s home base.
One of the locations seen on the Classics tour is Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City’s premiere performing arts facility. It is the home of twelve organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the Julliard School, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Lincoln Center has been featured in several classic New York movies, including Ghostbusters, Moonstruck, Serpico, and the 1968 Mel Brooks' comedy The Producers.
We also will visit The Dakota Apartments. Most famous for being the building where John Lennon was gunned down by Mark David Chapman, the Dakota is a luxury apartment building overlooking Central Park at 72nd Street. Famous residents of the building have included John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Judy Garland, and Gilda Radner, just to name a few. The Dakota was also prominently featured in the Roman Polanski thriller Rosemary’s Baby.
And of course a tour of the Upper West Side would not be complete without discussing Central Park, the 843-acre oasis that separates New York’s Upper West and Upper East Sides. The largest park in Manhattan, and the second largest in all of New York City’s five boroughs, Central Park is the most filmed location in the world, having been used in literally hundreds of movies. Classic Central Park films discussed on the Classics Tour include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Love Story, The Out of Towners, Marathon Man, and Kramer Vs. Kramer, as well as many others!
Other noteworthy places to visit on the Upper West Side include the American Museum of Natural History, Grant’s Tomb, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the New York Historical Society, Gray’s Papaya (featured in Fools Rush In with Matthew Perry and Selma Hayek), and H&H Bagels (featured on Seinfeld).
In addition, the Upper West Side boasts many fine dining establishments such as the iconic Café de Artistes, Tavern on the Green, Picholine, Jean Georges, Telepan, DB Bistro Moderne, Josephina’s, Sarabeth’s, Ouest, and Good Enough To Eat, just to name a few.
An exciting pop culture location that is not visited on the Classics Tour, but is a quintessential UWS locale, is Tom’s Restaurant… better known as “Monk’s Coffee Shop” from Seinfeld. The restaurant’s exterior, located on the corner of 112th Street and Broadway, was shown in nearly every episode of Seinfeld as the outside of Monk’s. However, the interior diner scenes with Jerry and the gang were shot on a soundstage in Hollywood, California.
The Upper West Side is also known for being home to many other celebrities and the setting for dozens of other movies and TV shows, including more recent films that are not included in the Classics Tour. Celebrities who currently have, or have had, residences in the neighborhood include Jerry Seinfeld, Sting, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Conan O’Brien, Norah Ephron, Better Midler, Maury Povich and Connie Chung, Anna Paquin, Mia Farrow, and Woody Allen. Some other films and TV shows that were/are set on the Upper West Side include Home Alone 2, How I Met Your Mother, Keeping the Faith, Ghostbusters, Eyes Wide Shut,Panic Room, Music and Lyrics, The Brave One, and many, many more.