New York City has served as the backdrop for some of the greatest moments ever committed to film. Visitors to the City can experience the excitement of the entertainment industry firsthand through a digital encounter with King Kong at the Empire State Building Observatory, an afternoon at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, a behind-the-scenes tour at NBC Studios and more. This fun itinerary has stops in all five of the City’s boroughs—but for an even more immersive experience, your clients should consider some of the movie- and TV-themed experiences from local tour operators.
40 Acres and a Mule Studios. Photo: David La Spina
Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood is the setting for Spike Lee’s groundbreaking film Do the Right Thing. The movie had such a big impact that the stretch of Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington Avenue and Quincy Street where many of the outdoor scenes were shot was officially dubbed Do the Right Thing Way in 2015. Much of Lee’s work is set in Brooklyn, and She’s Gotta Have It—both the 1986 film and the recent Netflix series by the same name—take place in the borough’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Fort Greene is also home to Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule studios.
Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Photo: Julienne Schaer
The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, located on the small island in New York Harbor that served as a processing center for American immigrants from 1892 to 1954, is also notable as the setting for a moving moment in The Godfather: Part II. In the scene, the future patriarch of the family crime syndicate arrives in New York as a child and is rechristened Vito Corleone by an immigration officer who mistakes the name of the boy’s village for his surname. Visitors can tour the Great Hall as well as the on-site archive, which contains records of famous passengers like Charlie Chaplin and Cary Grant who passed through the checkpoint on their way to Hollywood.
Empire State Building. Photo: Julienne Schaer
Midtown Manhattan’s Empire State Building played a pivotal role in movies like An Affair to Remember, King Kong, Sleepless in Seattle and many more. On the second floor, your clients can explore a new King Kong–themed experience and even take selfies with the giant ape. The skyscraper's 80th floor is home to several exhibits as well as NYC: Above and Beyond kiosks, designed to let visitors build customized digital itineraries. The 86th-floor’s 360-degree outdoor Observation Deck—which is now heated—is the setting for the emotional final scene of Sleepless in Seattle.
Times Square’s Madame Tussauds New York has lifelike wax figures of countless movie and TV stars—plus the action-packed Marvel 4D Film and Experience, which features superheroes like The Hulk and Iron Man along with some of the franchise’s breakout stars like Brie Larson as Captain America. There’s also the Ghostbusters Experience, which celebrates the 2016 remake of the blockbuster comedy Ghostbusters starring Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig.
Museum of Moving Image. Photo: Kate Glicksberg
The sizable permanent collection at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, displays costumes, set-design sketches and models, fan magazines, posters and more. There’s also a permanent exhibition centered around the work of Muppets creator Jim Henson; it features some 50 puppets from his career in film and television in addition to scripts, sketches and other archival materials.
Courtesy, The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, located on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street and often called the Main Branch, has also been featured on the silver screen. It’s the setting for the eerie opening scene of the original Ghostbusters (1984), the touching moment in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holly and Paul find the latter’s novel among the stacks, and the doomed wedding scene in the Sex and the City movie. Visitors can explore the library’s rotating exhibitions or take free tours at 11am and 2pm Monday through Saturday, and 2pm Sundays (There’s also a free, on-demand audio tour.)
Central Park. Photo: Christopher Postlewaite
On Location Tours offers a number of movie- and TV-related jaunts. The company’s NYC TV & Movie Tour visits many of the spots mentioned in this itinerary and is offered in several languages. Your clients will also enjoy Mrs. Maisel’s Marvelous Tour of New York City, where they can stop in at the Greenwich Village club transformed into the Gaslight for the show and see a variety of filming locations in Gramercy and Greenwich Village. Finally, there’s the Central Park TV & Movie Sites Tour, a walking tour that lets visitors experience more than 30 sites within the park where scenes were filmed for movies like Barefoot in the Park, Taxi Driver and The Way We Were and TV shows like Glee and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Courtesy, The Paley Center for Media
The Paley Center for Media, located on 52nd Street a short distance from the Museum of Modern Art, offers a chance for movie and TV obsessives to experience something new. Visitors can peruse the center’s on-site film library, which has more than 160,000 TV and radio shows and commercials, or attend daily screenings of classic episodes of TV shows like I Love Lucy and The Muppet Show.
Staten Island Ferry. Photo: Christopher Postlewaite
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the masked hero fights a big-screen battle with Vulture on the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry was also the setting of several memorable scenes from Working Girl, which pits Melanie Griffith’s ambitious Staten Island secretary against a cunning executive played by Sigourney Weaver on Wall Street in the late 1980s.
Courtesy, NBC Universal Media LLC
The Tour at NBC Studios lets visitors go behind the scenes at Midtown Manhattan’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where shows like Late Night with Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live are taped. (The building is also the setting for Tina Fey’s note-perfect sitcom 30 Rock.) On the tour, your clients can produce and star in their own short TV segments—which they can download for posterity—as they learn the ins and outs of the creative process and how TV content is distributed to viewers. Groups of 10 or more can enjoy discounted admission by reserving ahead.
Courtesy, New York Yankees. All Rights Reserved
The Bronx’s Yankee Stadium has appeared in movies like Anger Management, Big and more. Seinfeld aficionados will also remember that George Costanza worked for the Yankees for several seasons. While the current Yankee Stadium is not the same building, it’s right across the street from where it stood and shares many of its signature design touches. Your clients can take in a home game or tour the stadium.