America,  New York City,  TDM,  Travel Journal,  USA

Days 4 & 5 in New York (USA): locations for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Gossip Girl, Sex in the City…

That’s it, after only a few days (cf. days 1&2, day 3), I got a little sick because of the air conditioning. Everything we did in two days below can be grouped in one day (for healthy tourists).

The first time we set foot in NYC in 2015, every 10 minutes, we said “ohhh it’s like in the movies”. From the yellow cab to the skyscrapers, the subway, the places, the people… it’s so familiar but strange at the same time. It’s like going to a place you’ve always known – without having been there.

My vision of New York has been long influenced by watching very girly series like Gossip Girl or Sex in the City, and as I like to go to film/series locations, I dedicated these two days to the locations I found on the Internet. Here are the films/series concerned :

  • Gossip Girl
  • Sex in the City
  • Friends
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Mom, I missed the plane again
  • The International
  • Men in Black
  • The thomas crown affair
  • The woman on the board
  • We’ve already talked quickly about the Empire State Building(Sleepless in Seattle, Gossip Girl, King Kong), Magnolia Bakery(Sex in the City), Rockefeller Center (Mommy I missed the plane) and When Harry meets Sally in another article

Sorry for the long descriptions of movie scenes (especially if you haven’t watched them).

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The cult scene from the movie Breakfast at Tifanny’s or Diamonds on a Sofa (Audrey Hepburn with her crescent in front of the Tiffany store window) was shot in front of the real Tiffany & Co boutique on 5th Avenue . A second scene from the same movie takes place inside the store – very funny, but less cult – apparently they opened the store on a Sunday for the shooting of this scene.

So we went to visit theflagship store , sorry, this whole BUILDING (6 floors). In front of the window where the character of Audrey Hepburn was drooling, there are always tourist guides, so you will know how to recognize THE original window (because there are several).

The 1st floor shocks us – considering the price (with a lot of 0 after the first digit). Like most tourists, we quickly spot the only floor where we can eventually buy something: 3rd floor, silver jewelry. To top it all off, there is an employee in charge of pressing the elevator buttons for us. And a lady in charge of saying hello as soon as the elevator door opens. A saleswoman explains to us that the 1st floor is for show, but not for shopping (I think those who can get out $35,000 don’t even have to go to the store).

This brand is so luxurious that the cheapest ring, very small, silver, without stone, costs 160$. Even if it’s my dream to have a jewel at Tiffany, it’s not worth it I find.

Since the real added value of Tiffany & Co., compared to other luxury brands, is their requirement for the selection of diamonds. Even for small diamonds, they are so demanding that you can be sure that a diamond sold at Tiffany is pure, beautiful, brilliant and without inlay. In fact, it was one of the jewelers at Tiffany who came up with the idea of measuring diamonds using the carat scale. And it is also thanks to Tiffany that we owe theinvention of the setting with 6 claws (for solitaires). This setting allows the stone to be better highlighted, to let more light through – important for diamonds – contrary to the closed setting. By the way, this setting is also called “Tiffany setting” – but it has been widely copied and now all solitaires use this type of setting

Note: Another known crimp called “The Mysterious Crimp” by Van Cleef & Arpels – requires so much mastery, dexterity and technicality, that it has, fortunately, not been copied and pasted everywhere.

The Tiffany & Co store is so well known that it appears in many movies. The famous scene from the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is also reproduced in several series (e.g. at Gossip Girl because Blair identifies very much with Audrey Hepburn – even though the scene was shot in front of another store). In any case, an engagement or wedding ring at Tiffany is the holy grail – given the price and quality.

Well, I can talk to you about jewelry for hours. If it’s a subject that interests you, you can take courses with jewelers in Paris (I talked about it here).

Carnegie’s Hall

This mythical concert hall was for a long time home to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Great artists were produced there on stage (Edith Piaf, the Beatles, Dalida…). Giving a concert at Carnegie’s Hall is like giving a concert at the Olympia. That’s when you know you’ve made a success of your life

Carnegie’s Hall also appears in the movie “Mommy, I missed the plane again”, where the pigeon lady takes Kevin into the attic of Carnegie’s Hall – from where she could secretly attend the concerts.

This is unfortunately the same place where Gad Elmaleh, after several years of struggling as a stand up comedian in the USA, managed to give his show – entirely in English – thanks to Netflix. I say unfortunately that everyone has surely seen the video denouncing his jokes copied/pasted from other artists.

You can visit the interior – but not today I don’t know why – we simply went to see the (free) museum a few doors away – with period tickets and photos of the most exceptional concerts and shows given here (strangely, we didn’t see the head of Gad hehe)

We quickly looked at the program for July 2019 and the entrance tickets aren’t that expensive, starting at 25$.

Right next door is the Carnegie Hall Tower, we got lost and entered the main lobby by mistake. And we were struck by all the signs of wealth: from the luxury chandelier to the marble-covered walls.

The Russian Tea Room

Right next door is The Russian Tea Room. It’s the setting for a rather ridiculous scene in “Gossip Girl”, where Georgina is supposed to trick Perry into giving her an envelope full of money. The interior is sumptuous (check it out) and less crowded than what we see in the series. We wanted to go there for a “tea time” but when we looked at the menu (65$/person), we didn’t hesitate one second and left very quickly. For about the same price, just to give you an idea, we can have a luxury tea time at the Ritz in Paris. So no thanks.

The New York Palace Hotel

One of Gossip Girl’s main locations (that’s where Serena’s family lived). The garden and the metal arcade are well recognizable. This garden is accessible to everyone, the chairs are very comfortable, so don’t hesitate to go there and rest a little.

I had a small glimpse of the reception hall reserved for conference rooms. The hotel lobby is just a few meters away. Again, it’s very flashy. It looks like everything is covered with a layer of gold 😀 Americans have absolutely no problem showing off their wealth to what I see.

Manolo Blahnik

We stumbled upon the overpriced shoe store Manolo Blahnik, the most quoted brand in the Sex in the City series. There’s even an episode where Carrie gets her shoes stolen from a friend’s place and makes her pain in the ass to buy the same ones from her friend. There are tours that take fans of the series to visit the iconic places of the series, and this store is one of the essential stops.

In any case, as we are in the uptown, everything is really nicer, it smells rich 🙂 between two skyscrapers, there are often nice little parks where you can sit down for lunch.

Central Park

It is the setting for countless films and series. The park is very big and walking around makes us forget that we are in New York. In any case, it does us a lot of good: nature, calm, and shade. The Bethesda Fountain is very well known and that’s where we went first. Just in front of it is a nice lake.

A gentleman we met in Beijing told us that he had married his daughter in Central Park and we couldn’t see where that was possible at all, now that we are there again, I think it was not very far from here.

There is a real obelisk coming from Egypt (whose hieroglyphics aren’t very legible) called Cleopatra’s Needle; Many bridges under which street artists play (the acoustics of the place makes the music memorable). And Belvedere Castle from where we can have a beautiful view of a large part of the park.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

The location of the film The Thomas Crown Affair. Several interior scenes of the movie were shot, however, at the New York Public Library (where the failed wedding scene in the movie Sex and the City was also shot). It’s on the nice stairs of this museum where Blair and her girlfriends are having lunch and there’s a rather ridiculous scene where the girls make it clear that no one can sit at a higher step than the high school queen.

I’ve already forgotten how expensive New York museums are. This one is in the 22$/person range I think. And since JB and I aren’t big fans of museums, we ski it with no worries. We can however have access, free of charge, to the rooftop of the museum. You just have to ask the lady at the reception, who will give you a badge to go through the whole museum – to the rooftop. The museum isn’t very high so the view isn’t very satisfactory, but it is a must-see. In 2015, we went there at night, I let you see the picture (sorry for the quality)

Right next to the museum, there is a tree-covered alley, very nice, with painters and artists.

If you are very much a museum, in the area there is

  • Neue Galerie: where two famous paintings by Klim are exhibited. Why they are there instead of being in Austria, their story was told in the film The Woman in the Picture
  • New York City Museum: it is in its courtyard that the scenes of St Jude’s College in Gossip Girl were filmed.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: and its exhibition rooms accessible via a huge snail-shaped stairway/ramp (it reminds us a lot of Turin), location of the filming of the movie Men in Black (chase scene) and The International (shooting scene)

Central Station

Of course, we can’t ignore the central station, magnificent, its huge hall… it makes us want to take a train and leave we don’t know where 🙂

If you are interested in other filming locations, please note that you can also go and see :

  • The staircase of Carrie Bradshaw ‘s building: 66 Perry St, New York, NY 10014. The interior of her apartment is created as a studio, so you will only see the staircase – which is half blocked by the residents of the building. There is a box where you can make donations, in exchange for a selfie in front.
  • The Friends building: the exterior was shot here: 90 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014. And the inside, shot in studio as well.
  • Washington Square: very very nice, with lots of street artists. Shot locations of When Harry met Sally. You also have to go to Columbus Park, where you will see hundreds of people playing Chinese chess.

That’s it for today. I will meet you here for the rest of the trip

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