Welcome to Gadling’s weekly series on the Big Apple, Undiscovered New York. If there’s one place outside of Hollywood or Bollywood that is inextricably connected to the movies, it is New York. From the city’s important role in the beginnings of the American movie industry in early 1900’s to its starring role in films like The French Connection and Ghost Busters, New York and the movies tend to go hand-in-hand.
Not only is New York a great place to discover the filming locations of the silver screen, it’s also a great city for people who love good movies. Whether it’s Hollywood’s latest blockbuster, the latest art-house indie film or a vintage classic, you’re bound to find a theater showing a copy sooner or later. And that’s nothing to say of New York’s great lineup of yearly film festivals, random movie-star sightings and fantastic stores catering specifically to rabid movie collectors.
Ever wonder where they filmed scenes for movies like Goodfellas or When Harry Met Sally? Looking to track down that vintage Casablanca movie poster or an obscure film-noir classic on DVD? Get comfortable, grab a bucket of popcorn and come along for Undiscovered New York’s guide to New York and the movies…
Famous Movie Locations
Perhaps the best part of movie culture in New York is that it is literally being remade, each and every day. New York is a living breathing film set. In addition to the numerous television shows and commercials that film in New York each year, there are countless movies. Over the course of any given day, there’s a good chance you might stumble upon a film crew setting up or even an well-known actor or actress preparing their lines.
If you tend to be the self-starting type, there’s a number of online guides that will take you on guided tours of some of the city’s most famous movie locations, allowing any visitor to quickly track down some of their favorite movie moments. A number of companies, like On Location Tours also offer guided tours of some of the city’s more memorable cinema spots.
Movie Theaters Galore
Given all movie-making that goes on around town, New Yorkers tend to be rather particular about their movies. This has led to one of the country’s most competitive and diverse theater markets, providing options for just about every taste. No matter what your preference, there’s a movie theater to suit you.
Chin-stroking cineastes tend to head to theaters like Manhattan’s Film Forum, which regularly screens the latest and greatest in non-Hollywood fare as well as long-lost classics. Other art-house movie theater favorites include the Angelika, the Sunshine Cinema and BAM Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn. Movie-goers looking to throw popcorn at the screen and whoop it up at the latest Hollywood action blockbuster should check out theaters like the Regal Union Square or AMC Empire 25 near Times Square. Make sure to yell at the screen, it’s a New York movie-watching tradition!
Not only is New York spoiled for choice when it comes to movie theaters, the city is also the first to see some of the newest films at one of the city’s many annual film festivals. The events tend to bring out an eclectic cast of the movie industry elite’s biggest-name directors and actors, industry regulars and the plain curious.
The best part of New York’s film festivals is that many screenings are open to just about anyone who can get their hands on a ticket. Screenings not only include a first run viewing, they often also include Q&A’s and behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew at the film’s conclusion. The Tribeca Film Festival in late April and the New York Film Festival in September/October are two of the biggest. Make sure to check out the festival websites as the start dates approach to get your hands on some passes.
Movie Memorabilia and More
Not only is New York a great city for watching movies, it’s also one of the best spots anywhere to pick up a piece of movie history. As you might expect in one of the world’s great shopping cities, it’s easy to find a movie-themed gift to please even the most finicky movie fan.
East Village institution Kim’s caters to the more eclectic end of the spectrum, stocking all manner of subtitled foreign films and obscure B-movie classics on DVD. Meanwhile Chelsea’s Chisholm Larsson Poster Gallery carries an incredible selection of rare original movie posters that’s sure to please even the most jaded movie fan.