Empire State Building
On The Adjustment Bureau, hunted down by agents, David and Elise find themselves trapped at the Top of the Rock.
As we mention in our guide New York of 1000 cult movies, series, musics, comics and novels locations, admire the view from this incredible place where you’ll love the city’s buildings as much as Central Park. For many, it provides the most beautiful vantage point over New York. You can also dine in the Rainbow Room, a few floors down, but know that the great views are reflected on the bill.
On King Kong, King Kong climbing the Empire State Building is one of the best known scenes in world cinema. Even though the building and the movie are inseparable, the filming took place in a studio and the building roof where the giant ape takes the lovely Ann Darrow (Fay Way) is quite different from the real one. By way of anecdote, the directors, Merian Caldwell Cooper and Ernest Beaumont Schoedsack, play the pilots of the planes fighting the huge primate. It’s rather symbolic that the creators put to death their own creature even if one of the movie characters claims,"It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast." King Kong’s metal frame used in this mythical scene was sold at an auction for more than $134,000 in 2009.
Because of its geographic position and its legendary renown, the Empire State Building offers the most famous panorama of New York. Since the building’s opening in 1931, more than 110 million people have taken advantage of the 360° view over the city.
On WTC 9/11, this work by Steve Reich is intimately linked to New York. Created for a string quartet, WTC 9/11 embeds the dialogues recorded between the air traffic controllers and the New York firefighters at the moment of the September 11th, 2001 attacks and some eye-witness accounts that the composer had later collected from his neighbors in Lower Manhattan, near Ground Zero.
Constructed next to where the Twin Towers once stood, One World Trade Center, or Freedom Tower, is the highest building in New York and even the highest skyscraper in the western hemisphere. The glass tower and its antenna rise up to 541m, or 1776 ft, a symbolic figure as it corresponds to the year of the American Declaration of Independence. The rooftop peaks at 1368 feet, the height of the Twin Towers destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. From the observation deck, the view is amazing.
On Gossip Girl, the famous steps of this emblematic museum serve as a lunchroom for the Queen of the high school and her court. For numerous years, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) possesses this title, then Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) takes over. It’s forbidden to sit higher up than the Queen. This position symbolises her superiority.
Feel like experiencing Central Park differently? Embellished with numerous art works, the roof of the enormous Museum of Art provides an original vantage point over the green lung of the city and the buildings in the background. And if you go there in the summer, you’ll be able to sip a cocktail at the Cantor Roof Garden Bar. Careful though, it’s open to the public only as of 11 am and closes an hour before the museum.
On The High Line, by a duo of white New York rappers, a little tour on the High Line in the Lower West Side, the aerial train line no longer in service since the 80s and today featuring lush vegetation. Strongly inspired by the work of Alan Weisman, The World Without Us, this single delivers an anti-deforestation message, but also, and more subliminally, pro-marijuana. They say High…
This old railroad has been progressively transformed into a suspended park, at first the initiative of the area residents and later of the city. Open since 2009, the 2.3 km High Line traverses the Meatpacking district and Chelsea and offers views as unique as they are wonderful over Manhattan and the Hudson River. The rails are visible at certain spots and the cultivated vegetation takes inspiration from the tall grasses and wildflowers that had taken over when the track lay abandoned. The view from the rooftop bar The Standard High Line, the superb boutique hotel that overhangs the entrance to this green belt, is also fabulous.
On Manhattan, this is the location seen on the world famous movie poster where Isaac Davis (Woody Allen) and Mary (Diane Keaton) are facing Queensboro Bridge. Don’t bother looking for the bench the main characters were sitting on. The producers brought it here near the park entrance just to film this scene as the angle of the view was much better.
Even though it may be impossible to sit on the same bench as Woody Allen and Diane Keaton you’ll find one a bit further down in the small square to contemplate this legendary view of the Queensboro Bridge.
On Spider-Man, from the cabin roof, the Green Goblin tries to make Spider-Man choose between saving children’s lives or Mary-Jane Watson’s. But Spider-Man is clever. With your Metro card, don’t hesitate to ride this Aerial Tram to take advantage of the unique view over the city and the Queensboro Bridge.
Gain a bit of height for the price of a subway ticket. Since 1976, this aerial tramway has linked Manhattan to Roosevelt Island by running alongside the Queensboro Bridge, allowing a close-up view of the metallic edifice, the East river and some buildings.
On Friends with Benefits, the bridge and Manhattan are in the background during the nighttime festival on this jetty. It’s here that Dylan gets to know a not-so-friendly Shaun White. The double Olympic half-pipe champion plays his own role.
From this park at the base of Brooklyn Bridge, the view of the south Manhattan skyline at sunset is out of this world. Go all the way and have an ice-cream from the Brooklyn Ice Factory or have a drink at Buzz Bar on the jetty of Fulton Ferry Pier.
On Master of None, the BBQ where Dev Shah (Aziz Ansari) and his cousin Navid eat pork sandwiches, in spite of the latter’s strict Muslim upbringing, is actually located at Smorgasburg. This assembly of food trucks happens every Saturday, from April to October, in Williamsburg, next to the East River Park. It’s a great opportunity to try out flavors from all over the world with a fantastic view of the skyline.
On this bank of the East River, you can admire the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Midtown in general. It’s from here that New Yorkers like to watch the fireworks of July 4th, Independence Day, whereas every Saturday from April to November you’ll find an extraordinary gathering of food trucks. A good way to get there from Manhattan is to take the East River Ferry. The trip from 34th St or Wall St only costs $2.75 and promises an unique view over the city.
On Sex and the City, it is during a crossing with this ferry that Charlotte announces that she will marry this year.
The maritime link to Staten Island offers a beautiful view of south Manhattan and passes very close to the Statue of Liberty. A half-hour total getaway. And what’s more, it’s free!