The Upper West Side (UWS) is a beautiful neighborhood in Manhattan that rests between 59th Street and 110th Street, and between the Hudson River and Central Park. Hundreds of movies and TV shows have filmed in this neighborhood over the years! To see cool sites from the golden age of film check out the TCM Classic Film Tour. For those wanting to experience the more recent projects hop on the When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour: A look at filming above Times Square.
The neighborhood is known for being primarily a residential and commercial area, but has its fair share of fascinating history, beautiful parks, and iconic pop culture. The Upper West Side experienced a building boom from 1885-1910 and New York’s first subway, which ran straight through the neighborhood was opened in 1904. Today it is home to a boom in filming that doesn’t revolve around Downtown or Midtown Manhattan.
When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour: A look at filming above Times Square
Seinfeld is of course the most popular show to take place on the Upper West Side. For an up-close photo-op of “Monks” aka Tom’s Restaurant check out the When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour. The restaurant’s exterior, located near Columbia University, 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. Guests will also pass the former H&H bagels, a New York staple that sadly closed its doors in 2011. Kramer had been an employee, but was on strike for nine seasons. When he finally returns to work he is denied taking off December 23rd and promptly goes on strike again.
Romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail filmed at classic locales like Cafe Luxembourg, Cafe Lalo, and Gray’s Papaya to show the quieter more residential side of New York. Television has followed suit; Liz Lemon and Criss (James Marsden) head to the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on 30 Rock, and in Gossip Girl Chuck Bass purchases the whole Empire Hotel, because who rents a room anymore?
Featured on both the TCM Classic Film Tour and When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour is the world renowned Lincoln Center seen in movies like Moonstruck, Ghostbusters and Sweet Home Alabama. Most recently Pitch Perfect 2 features the center as the venue for the A cappella world championship competition.
The Lincoln Center complex is on Amsterdam Avenue from 66th to 70th Street and is New York City’s premiere performing arts facility. Twelve organizations can be found within, 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.
Located on Broadway and 80th Street this specialty deli has been featured in many movies and TV shows. It’s here Kathleen and Joe (Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks) meet by chance in You’ve Got Mail. It’s also where Isaac and Mary (Woody Allen and Diane Keaton) gaze at gourmet treats while strolling up Broadway in the classic film Manhattan.
American Museum of Natural History
The TCM Tour takes a deeper look at filming in the UWS bringing guests right past one of the most famous museums in the world. The American Museum of Natural History found at Central Park West and 81st Street is where Tom Hanks helps Madison escape in Splash, and easily spotted in Miracle on 34th Street as the Thanksgiving Day Parade rolls past.
While not a Turner Classic, the museum has a leading role in Night at the Museum as the spooky museum that comes alive after watchman Ben Stiller releases an ancient Egyptian curse. The exterior is featured extensively but the interior shots were redesigned on a soundstage in Vancouver. Despite the star-studded cast that included Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Ricky Jervais the museum directors didn’t trust the cast and crew with actual ancient artifacts.
Tavern on The Green & Central Park
Located on Central Park West and 67th Street this iconic restaurant sits alongside Central Park and has hosted some major blockbuster moments. In Ghostbusters Louis (Rick Moranis) runs to the restaurant windows while being chased by the Terror Dog and after a confrontation on Sheep Meadow in the 1987 Wall Street Bud (Charlie Sheen) ducks into the bathroom to check the wire he was wearing. The 843-acre oasis behind Tavern on The Green is a haven for filming in New York City. Most recently movies like Trainwreck and TV shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt feature the park’s beauty. To see more of Central Park’s filming magic and see New Yorker’s interact with nature take a Central Park TV & Movie Sites Walking Tour!
The Dakota is a luxury apartment building overlooking Central Park at 72nd Street and was prominently featured in the Roman Polanski thriller Rosemary’s Baby. Unfortunately, the building is more famous for being where John Lennon was gunned down by Mark David Chapman. 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.
Other Great UWS TV & Movie Locations!
One of the area’s most picturesque features of the UWS is Riverside Park, which runs along the Hudson River. 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 Lemon. The park’s 91st Street garden was featured in the famous ending scene of You’ve Got Mail, when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s characters finally realize they’ve been in love the entire time!
The Upper West Side is home to many celebrities and the setting for dozens of other movies and TV shows. Celebrities who currently reside in the neighborhood include Tina Fey, Robert DeNiro, Cyndi Lauper, Matt Damon, Bono and Steve Martin to name a few. 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.
* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.