Manhattan is instantly recognizable from its countless appearances in film and television — you can hardly walk down a block without getting that weird feeling of déjà vu that comes from being in the most-photographed city in the world (besides L.A. and Vancouver, which are often trying to pass for NY anyway).
While natives might shrug at the ubiquitous presence of film crews and the occasional disruptions in traffic due to the filming of an action movie set piece, visitors to New York usually have a couple of tried-and-true landmarks in mind. Unfortunately, Manhattan is also one of the fastest-changing locales on the planet, so famous restaurants and exteriors are often closed or unrecognizable. Here are a few of the borough’s longest-enduring hotspots, courtesy of movies from Breakfast At Tiffany’s to American Psycho.
The swanky 21 Club is a natural location for Wall Street, Oliver Stone’s “greed is good” 1980s mission statement, where Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) takes lunch with his acolyte Charlie Sheen. Beginning as a speakeasy during the Prohibition era, the 21 Club went on to become the site of the original “power lunch”.
The original novel on which 2000’s American Psycho is based made an art out of product placement, with every song, suit, and restaurant that happens to catch the homicidal interest of Patrick Bateman getting a lengthy soliloquy. The film version kept many of these, including a seminal scene at clubby steak joint Smith & Wollensky.
“Opulent” doesn’t begin to cover the famous Russian Tea Room, whose hipness and high-price vodka are a bit of an in-joke for New Yorkers. Perhaps its most famous onscreen appearance was in 1982’s Tootsie, where a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman goes to untraditional lengths to revive his character’s acting career.