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6 NYC Christmas Movie Filming Locations To Visit This Season

Category General

|by Mark Robinson |


Scope out these festive movie sites

The holidays are here, and we all have our favorite films to watch as we trim our Christmas trees, make cookies and wrap presents. Some of the most beloved holiday motion pictures are set in New York City, a metropolis that transforms into a magical playground when the snow starts to fall and the decorations and lights go up. Here are some of the enchanting Christmas-themed flicks set in NYC, and suggestions on where you can go to visit these special filming locations.

Central Park in the winter is a sight to behold (Photo: iStock)

Central Park in the winter is a sight to behold (Photo: iStock)

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York
The Home Alone movies may well be one of the most beloved chronicles in the annals of Christmas storytelling, following the predicaments of Kevin McCallister a little boy from a large family who is repeatedly misplaced by his parents during the holidays. In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Kevin finds himself accidentally on the wrong flight, whisked away to the Big Apple. There, with the aid of his parents’ credit card, Kevin gets himself a room at the Plaza Hotel, commencing an adventure through some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks. Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Carnegie Hall become the backdrop for Kevin to another face-off with a pair of scheming bandits.

Miracle on 34th Street
A holiday classic that has been brought to the big screen two-times, once in 1947 and again in 1994, as well as on television in 1955, 1959, and 1973,  Miracle on 34th Street (in any incarnation) has always captured an ideal New York City during the holidays. Though most of the 1947 version was filmed at 20th Century Fox Studios, and the 1994 Miracle on 34th Street was filmed predominantly on-location in Chicago (though set in NYC), a handful of the film’s moments were filmed in the Big Apple, including Central Park West for the parade route, and the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park for a romantic night out between Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott’s characters.

Serendipity
The 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale is set in New York City during the holiday season, painting a festive picture of the Yuletide as it magically transforms Manhattan. From Bloomingdales and the Waldorf Astoria to a winter wonderland in Central Park, from the streets of Park Avenue to Chelsea Pier, Serendipity is a veritable tourist’s guidebook of the Big Apple. Of course, the romantic pair end up at the legendary restaurant Serendipity III located at 225 East 60th Street where they share a dessert. The establishment was a frequent haunt of such celebs as Marilyn Monroe, Jaqueline Kennedy and Any Warhol.

Scrooged
A more-contemporary take on the Charles Dickens holiday classic A Christmas Carol, Scrooged sets the story in 1980s New York City where Bill Murray plays Frank Cross (think Ebenezer Scrooge), the heartless president of IBC Television who has little consideration for his employees and their holiday happiness. One of the film’s key locations, the IBC Building, was the New York City-based Seagram Building (375 Park Avenue), and a few other establishing exterior shots on 5th Avenue and the exterior of a subway station let us know that this was most-assuredly set in NYC. In reality, most of Scrooged was filmed on a Hollywood soundstage.

You’ve Got Mail
An enduring story of the holidays began with the Miklos Laszlo play Parfumerie, which has ultimately been turned into the films The Shop Around the Corner and In the Good Old Summertime, as well as the Broadway musical She Loves Me. What you might not know is that it was also the inspiration for the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail.  Filmed predominantly in the Upper West Side of New York City, the story of boutique bookseller who despises the owner of a rival, corporate chain shop owner who eventually fall in love, takes us to such locations as Boat Basin (79th Street on the Hudson River), Café Lalo (201 Wes 83rd Street), Riverside Park (91st Street) and the bookstore “The Shop Around the Corner” at 106 West 69th Street (though it is now a dry cleaner). The film is set between October and spring, with much of the action unfolding in the holiday season.

Elf
Another iconic holiday flick that has worked its way into our hearts is the Will Ferrell comedy Elf. The story brings one of Santa’s Elves (Buddy) from the North Pole to New York City, where the earnest and jolly fellow is looking for his biological dad. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, and the site of the now closed Gimbel’s Department Store all figure into the story as Manhattan becomes Buddy’s playground. Less well-known sites include the subway stop at East 23rd Street and Broadway, and the crosswalk at 188-170 5th Ave.
 

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