New York City is one of the most cinematic locations in the world, outside of Hollywood. If Broadway alone doesn't draw actors and actresses, then the city's magnetic atmosphere and unlimited diversity of locations draw directors and cinematographers. From Home Alone 2 to The Godfather Part II, Hollywood has filmed some of its most iconic scenes in the city. Refresh your memory before the Oscars by touring the locations of the best, classic New York City movie scenes, from 1947 all the way to 1993.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The classic Christmas film, directed by George Seaton, made the Macy's flagship store on 34th St. Herald Square famous for its Christmas displays. Every year, the store outdoes itself with animatronics, music and projections that draw thousands to the sidewalks around the store. New Yorkers avoid the impossibly-crowded area but anyone on a movie tour should stop to see the latest display in the place where Santa Claus listens to children's Christmas wishes and promises them toys. Macy's still brags that it's the "world's largest store," so it's a fitting place for a Santa to offer lots of gifts in front of unfortunate parents.
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
1955 brought cinema one of its most iconic, and most New York, scenes. Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch put Marilyn Monroe on top of a sidewalk subway grate in a white dress and let the speeding train conjure a breeze. One of the most famous poses by one of the most famous actresses of all time was born. The subway grate in the original takes is on Lexington Ave. at 52nd St., but the crowd was so large and noisy that Wilder had to recreate the scene later on the 20th Century Fox lot.
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The sequel to one of the greatest films ever made shot an iconic sequence at Little Italy's Feast of San Gennaro. The annual festival celebrates the patron saint of Naples with an eleven-day party on Mulberry St. between Canal and Houston. The festival is in September but any trip to Little Italy is worthwhile. While you're there, imagine Vito Corleone hopping across the rooftops that overlook the celebration, racing to Don Fanucci's apartment to assassinate him.
Taxi Driver (1976)
De Niro loves New York City. If he's never said it, we can guess from his movies. Taxi Driver ("You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?"), Martin Scorsese's film about a taxi driver taking revenge on a prostitution gang, gives movie lovers an amazing view of the city and, especially, Times Square in the 1970s. You won't find it full of adult theaters and questionable characters today (you'll find it full of different characters). Try to find the spot just north of the big red bleachers where de Niro was probably walking under the dirty marquees.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
When John Travolta wasn't on the dance floor in Saturday Night Fever, he was in the frame of a romantic shot with Karen Lynn Gorney in front of the Verrazano Bridge. The bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn and then to Manhattan. Travolta's character knows all the facts about the bridge: "I know everything about that bridge. Know what else? There's a guy buried in the cement." Probable. Grab a seat on a bench and take in the sight of the river and the bridge while the music pulses in your head.
The title says it and Isaac's opening lines emboss it. Woody Allen's Manhattan is a film about New York City and its opening scene shows the Queensboro Bridge from a gorgeous, hidden scenic area. Relive the view at Riverview Terrace on Sutton Square beneath the bridge and tell your own love stories about the greatest city in the world.
You can visit the streets around Central Park where the giant marshmallow monster stomped or you can pose in front of the apartment building at 55 Central Park West. Or, you can head to the New York Public Library Main Branch on 42nd St. and 5th Ave. The Schwarzman building's lower levels hosted the first onscreen paranormal appearance in the classic comedy, the ghost-librarian who nevertheless told the Ghostbusters to quiet down.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The restaurant scene, probably the most famous part of the movie, happened in Katz's Delicatessen, the restaurant at 205 E Houston St. Meg Ryan thoroughly embarrassed Billy Crystal in the middle of the packed deli to prove her point, that "men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way." Grab a bite at Katz's on your next trip down to SoHo, though the reenactment joke has probably grown old by now.
Home Alone 2 (1992)
Moviemakers love Christmas in the city and the sequel to Home Alone brought Kevin to the center of it, unleashed with his parents' credit card. He met Santa at FAO Schwarz and beat up Joe Pesci again. The movie's scenes in the Plaza Hotel are off-limits for tourists, so book room 411 for the full experience. Just don't threaten room service with old black and white movie scenes.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
The Empire State Building, the center of the city's midtown district, is where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan finally meet each other in Sleepless in Seattle. And what better, more climactically romantic spot than at the very top of New York City? Reserve tickets to visit the observation deck on a clear day for the best view (besides, perhaps, the World Trade Center) of the city and all of its boroughs. You can see all of the scenes from this list eighty-six floors above midtown Manhattan and know that you're right in the middle of the world.