The good folks at On Locations Tours offered me a complimentary ride on their New York TV and Movie Sites Tour. The tour is designed to take you around to famous movie and TV sites around Manhattan.
After getting my name on the list, I got to the corner of 51st and Broadway to wait for the coach bus that would take us around town. There was a crowd of presumably out of towners milling around outside of the diner located at the corner. If I was to guess, I was the only New Yorker waiting for this tour. There is something about being a tourist in your own town, since locals are presumably “too busy” to do something like this.
After the bus arrived, our tour guide Anna checked everyone in and we all got seated. I think the final count was 40. The tone was set by the TV theme songs that played over the intercom. Magnum PI. I Love Lucy. The Munsters. The Cosby Show. A Different World. Bonanza. The songs played whenever there was some downtime to keep us all in the mood. I wish I could film and show you what happened aboard the bus, but that was one of the rules: No filming of the tour aboard the bus. We could film everywhere else.
The bus took off and because it was late Sunday morning midtown Manhattan traffic was relatively light. The first major stop was the area around Central Park South – 59th Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue. Anna went into the all the movies that were filmed in the area including Home Alone at the Plaza Hotel. The Pulitzer Fountain, opposite the Apple Store on 5th Avenue, is the one in the intro to “Friends” that they splash around in.
And the rest of tour was like this. We’d stop or go by a seemingly normal landmark, and tour guide Anna would drop a little nugget on us. This is where “Hitch” was filmed. This is the exterior shot for the Cosby Show brownstone. The Cosby Show family lived in Brooklyn, but the actual house used for the exterior in Tribeca. Law and Order’s dead bodies were found in this part of Central Park. Stopping in front of Peter Parker’s apartment from Spiderman. Gossip Girl fans, there is plenty on this tour for you. Same with fans of Friends. We rolled by Katz’s Deli and that infamous scene in When Harry Met Sally and many other films. Will and Grace. Miracle on 34th Street. Shows and movies you would know immediately. Much, much more that can’t possibly fit into this post.
We stopped in Tribeca for about 30 minutes so people could shop or grab something quick to eat. Two members of the tour decided they wanted to leave the tour to shop. We continued on, rolling on through the concrete jungle while Anna pointed out landmarks and showed clips of movies and shows that showed the landmark we just passed. I liked that as it reinforced what we were being told. We stopped a few more times. There is a famous firehouse the was the headquarters for the ghostbusters in…ummm Ghostbusters. Obvious right? We also got off the bus to take pictures at the house that was used for Will Smith’s home fortress after zombies overan the planet in I Am Legend.
If you love television and movies and pop culture references, you’ll enjoy this tour. I really got engaged and anxiously waited for the next piece of trivia about where we were and what we were looking at. Before you know it 3 1/2 hours had passed and the tour was over. But not before one last stop at the soup place that inspired Seinfeld’s SoupNazi episode. They actually make great soup. I had the lobster bisque. Delicious!