'No soup for you.' Take an armchair tour of NYC landmarks seen on TV, movies

Karen Croke, Rockland/Westchester Journal News
·8 min read

New York City is empty right now, making it the most attractive place on earth to visit. Problem is: You can't, with landmarks, museums and other attractions closed due to the coronavirus.

To satisfy your wanderlust, NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for New York City, has created Virtual NYC, with virtual tours of places such as museums, galleries and city landmarks; you can even add your own.

Its latest offering is an armchair tour of some city landmarks, street scenes, even living rooms that played a pivotal part on television and film, reports LoHud.com, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.

“In countless landmark films and television shows, New York City plays a starring role,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon. “As people all over the world stay home and stay safe, they can still engage with the City through this powerful medium and be thoroughly entertained until it’s time to visit again.”

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Here, courtesy of NYCgo.com, is a stroll through some places made memorable on screen that you will be able to visit one day soon:

The cast of "Friends" lived in an apartment in this West Village building.
The cast of "Friends" lived in an apartment in this West Village building.

'Friends'

While 'Friends' was primarily filmed in a studio, the West Village apartment where Rachel, Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Ross and Chandler live and hang out is a real building on the corner of Bedford and Grove Streets. Today at street level is The Little Owl, a Mediterranean restaurant in the same space as the Central Perk café where Rachel works and Phoebe famously performs “Smelly Cat.” Additionally, the neighborhood is home to a number of well-known Off-Broadway theaters including the Lucille Lortel Theatre, where aspiring actor Joey performs in the show’s earlier seasons.

MacLaren’s, the bar hangout in "How I Met Your Mother," was inspired by McGee’s, a bar in Midtown Manhattan.
MacLaren’s, the bar hangout in "How I Met Your Mother," was inspired by McGee’s, a bar in Midtown Manhattan.

'How I Met Your Mother'

Ted’s nine-season search for his wife includes stops at countless iconic NYC destinations. At ‘21’ Club, Marshall finds what he declares to be the best burger in NYC; Ted (unwittingly) first meets his wife on the Columbia University campus; additionally, the gang’s go-to watering hole, MacLaren’s, was inspired by McGee’s, a bar in Midtown Manhattan.

'The Last O.G.'

Starring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish, this comedy follows a Brooklynite’s reintroduction to the community where he grew up after serving 15 years in prison. Primarily filmed in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, the sitcom (which debuted a new season on April 7), features locations throughout the borough, including Prospect Park, Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg.

Mrs. Maisel lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side while her pursuit of a career in comedy takes her to iconic clubs in the West Village, such as the Gaslight and Village Vanguard.
Mrs. Maisel lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side while her pursuit of a career in comedy takes her to iconic clubs in the West Village, such as the Gaslight and Village Vanguard.

'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'

The story of Miriam “Midge” Maisel’s foray into the male-dominated stand-up comedy industry gives viewers a peek into 1950s Manhattan. Mrs. Maisel lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side while her pursuit of a career in comedy takes her to iconic clubs in the West Village, such as the Gaslight and Village Vanguard, where she watches new friend and comedy icon Lenny Bruce perform. In the most recent season, viewers get a feel for another borough, as Midge’s in-laws move to Forest Hills, Queens.

The iconic "Monk's Diner" (Morningside Heights’ Tom’s Restaurant) used in the sitcom "Seinfeld."
The iconic "Monk's Diner" (Morningside Heights’ Tom’s Restaurant) used in the sitcom "Seinfeld."

'Seinfeld'

Contrary to Jerry and friends’ experiences on the show, nobody yells, “No soup for you!” at The Original Soupman on West 55th Street in Midtown. Meanwhile, at Morningside Heights’ Tom’s Restaurant (Monk’s Diner), the cast was known to enjoy all the great, no-fuss comfort food and 75-cent coffee their hearts desired. Finally, Gray’s Papaya’s hot dogs were declared by Kramer to be “better than filet mignon!”

'Marriage Story'

The story of Charlie and Nicole’s marriage dissolving is split between New York and LA, with NYC locations including the pair’s shared apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and the theater company in Manhattan where both are employed. Other major scenes are shot in the Flatiron District, Times Square and the West Village.

'When Harry Met Sally'

"When Harry Met Sally" fans visiting New York City head to Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side.
"When Harry Met Sally" fans visiting New York City head to Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side.

Since its release 30 years ago, fans visiting New York City have asked “what Sally was having” at Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side, gone on double dates to Café Luxembourg on the Upper West Side and enjoyed Washington Square Park’s scenery, where Sally told Harry to “have a nice life” at the start of the film.

'You’ve Got Mail'

"You've Got Mail" filmed scenes on the Upper West Side.
"You've Got Mail" filmed scenes on the Upper West Side.

Important locales in this unforgettable ’90s romance are Café Lalo on the Upper West Side, “The Most Famous Café in the City”; Zabar’s, the specialty food market where Joe saves Kathleen’s Thanksgiving; and the 91st Street Garden in Riverside Park, where the film memorably concludes.

'Sex and the City'

The Staten Island Ferry was featured in "Sex and the City."
The Staten Island Ferry was featured in "Sex and the City."

New York City has often been said to be the series’ fifth main character, in addition to Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha. Notable moments across six seasons include retail therapy at Greenwich Village boutiques and Madison Avenue department stores, snacking on cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, riding the Staten Island Ferry, romantic moments at the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge and one of the girls catching a foul ball (and a date) at a New York Yankees game.

'Gossip Girl'

"Gossip Girl" filmed scenes on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Gossip Girl" filmed scenes on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Blair and company famously held lunch breaks on the steps at The Met Fifth Avenue before heading further uptown to Constance Billard and St. Jude schools, filmed at the Museum of the City of New York. Meanwhile, scenes at the home of Chuck Bass and the Van der Woodsen family were filmed at the Lotte New York Palace, a five-star hotel situated just five blocks north of Grand Central Terminal, where Serena makes her dramatic entrance to the show in season 1.

'Girls'

"Girls" filmed extensively in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
"Girls" filmed extensively in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

The story begins at Murals on 54 restaurant in Manhattan, when the main character, Hannah, is told by her parents they will no longer financially support her. As the series unfolds, Hannah and her friends Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna navigate their early 20s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They frequently congregate and enjoy latte’s at Café Grumpy, which is a real coffee shop that is fictionally managed by Ray in the series.

'The Avengers'

The film’s famous battle of New York included scenes across the City, with most of the action taking place in Midtown Manhattan. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye first met the alien attackers in front of Grand Central Terminal, mere blocks from Stark Tower (based on the former Condé Nast Building). In the end, Hulk defeats Loki for good in front of the historic Chrysler Building, with Manhattan still standing, before Thor beams him back to Asgard from Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace.

'Batman'

Scenes from "Batman" were filmed on Wall Street.
Scenes from "Batman" were filmed on Wall Street.

The masked hero that popularized the nickname “Gotham” for NYC has been portrayed in areas throughout the City for more than 80 years. With Wayne Enterprises headquartered at One Liberty Plaza, a block from the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, Batman defeats Bane in the final fight scene of the Dark Knight trilogy on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange, while the Queensboro, Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges play prominent roles in the film.

'Spider-Man'

Hailing from Queens, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has made harrowing rescues all over NYC throughout the decades. In the 2002 Spider-Man film, Peter Parker, played by Tobey Maguire, saves love interest Mary Jane from the Green Goblin in Times Square before defeating the villain on Roosevelt Island. Other high-flying fights in the franchise take place at the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

'Ghostbusters'

The iconic firehouse featured in "Ghostbusters."
The iconic firehouse featured in "Ghostbusters."

In addition, the functioning firehouse Hook & Ladder Company 8 (Ghostbusters headquarters), Spook Central (55 Central Park West) and The New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building are some city locations with major roles in the 1984 film. Upon reopening to the public, the Ghostbusters Experience at Madame Tussauds New York in Times Square will invite visitors to reenact the 2016 film and fight ghosts through a hyperreality experience.

'Men in Black'

A pivotal scene in "Men in Black" was filmed in Flushing Meadows Park.
A pivotal scene in "Men in Black" was filmed in Flushing Meadows Park.

Agent K and Agent J fight aliens all over the five boroughs in this action-packed trilogy. In two memorable scenes, Agent J chases and captures the first alien he encounters on the job in the Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side, and the agents save the galaxy in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, after thwarting the takeoff of the spaceship hidden atop the historic 1964 World’s Fair site.

'Ocean’s 8'

"Ocean's 8" featured a scene in JFK's former TWA terminal.
"Ocean's 8" featured a scene in JFK's former TWA terminal.

In addition to a heist targeting the Costume Institute Gala at The Met — whose exhibition "About Time: Fashion and Duration" is now scheduled to debut October 29 — major NYC landmarks and lesser-known neighborhoods are featured in the latest installment of the Ocean’s franchise. The TWA Flight Center at JFK, now home to the new TWA Hotel, houses the fashion show where Debbie Ocean and crew recruit an integral teammate; the Cartier Mansion guards the necklace they are after; and a Bushwick, Brooklyn, loft acts as the team’s headquarters.

Karen Croke is the Community Content editor for lohud.com and poughkeepsiejournal.com. Reach me at kcroke1@lohud.com

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: 'Mrs. Maisel,' 'Spider-Man', more spots for NYC virtual travel