Friends: 10 places of the TV show to see in New York

Joey, Phoebe, Monica, Ross, Chandler and Rachel together form the group of friends most associated with the city of New York. The series was, however, shot in Burbank, California but several scenes from NYC were inserted to create the illusion. These places, for example Monica’s building, continue to attract fans from all over the world...

Monica's building

The series has made this building world famous and it has become a must for all fans.  Still now, it is photographed dozens of times every day.  It’s a typical New York construction and appears as a prologue to scenes taking place in Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Monica’s (Courtney Cox) apartment or that of Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc).  As we mention in our Guide New York of 1000 cult movie, series, music, comics, novel locations the producers chose this building simply because it is also John Shaffner’s, the artistic director of the series.

Phoebe's apartment

Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) lives in this building situated just five minutes on foot from Monica’s.  Impossible to be more exact as to what floor she lives on as the number on her apartment door changed over the episodes!  She’s the owner of the dwelling as her grandmother left it to her upon her death.  At one moment Phoebe houses Rachel temporarily and at other times her various boyfriends.

Lucille Lortel Theatre

Joey has a role in a play with Kate Miller (Dina Meyer) in this theatre built in 1926.  Although he can’t stand her at the beginning, he ends up falling in love.  Not knowing how to express his feelings for her when she decides to leave for Los Angeles, he resolves to say good-bye to her through his character in a scene as emotional as it is hilarious.

Chandler's office

Chandler at work is probably the least enthralling character and one that nobody understands. But at least his office is located in a remarkable edifice: the Solow Building, a 50-storey skyscraper with a superb curved façade that was built in 1974 near Central Park.  Office space rentals in this building are some of the most expensive in Manhattan.

New York Museum of Prehistoric History

After having succeeded in his palaeontology studies, Ross (David Schwimmer) works in this rather oddly named museum under the direction of Dr. Ledbetter (Michael Ensign).  He invites Rachel for a romantic evening which ends up on animal hides.  This museum of Prehistoric History doesn’t exist but the American Museum of Natural History is quite real and fascinating.

New York University

Founded in 1831, NYU is the biggest private non-profit university in the country with 40,000 students each year.  As of season 6, Ross works there as a professor in palaeontology.  This is where he meets Elizabeth Stevens (Alexandra Holden), one of his students whom he dates despite the opposition of her father, played by Bruce Willis.

Saks Fifth Avenue

In season 1, Rachel gets a job interview for the position of professional buyer in this department store, one of the biggest in New York.  Unfortunately she doesn’t get the job.  Saks Fifth Avenue is an American chain founded in 1924.  The building is the original one.

The Plaza Hotel

Chandler and Monica go to the Plaza with their friends to celebrate their engagement.  Don’t be mistaken, the Grand Army Plaza fountain, located just in front of the main entrance, doesn’t appear in Friends, despite the fact that several guides and websites state the contrary.  It has to be said that the mistake is easily made as its design is very similar to the one visible in the series…..but it’s located in Burbank, California.

Bloomingdale's

Rachel works in this very big high-end clothing store during season 3.  Founded in 1872, the Bloomingdale Brothers’ brand experienced rapid growth.  In 1886, they set up shop on the corner of 59th St and Lexington Ave and then took over the entire block in the 1920s.  Expansion continued to such an extent that today, there are about 50 Bloomingdale’s in the USA.

Ralph Lauren

A fashion lover, Rachel ends up getting a very important position with Ralph Lauren.  She even runs into him in the elevator one day! Like in the series, this establishment is a multi-storey luxury store with well thought out scenography.  The design of the building entices you to enter, the interior decoration keeps you there, but the prices may astound you.

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