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Secrets of New York

The ultimate insider's guide to the best-kept secrets of NYC's must-see places and buzzed-about people.

The exquisite

The exquisite "Godfather" mansion is located on Longfellow Avenue in Emerson Hill, Staten Island. (Credit: Paramount Pictures)


Movies filmed in NYC: Secrets of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's,' 'Godfather' and more

169 E. 71st St., New York, NY 10021

As one of the nation’s cultural hot spots, New York City has been a popular filming location for decades. Hundreds of local museums, parks and historic landmarks have made it into Hollywood features over the years, from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s cameo in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” to Holly Golightly’s Upper East Side apartment in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

More than 300 movies were shot in the city last year alone, according to Julie Menin, commissioner at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Film and entertainment is a $9 billion industry and an enormous economic driver, employing 130,000 workers in NYC, she said.

Here are some behind-the-scenes facts about 10 popular movies that were filmed in at least one of the five boroughs.

Credit: Wendy Lu

Hey, the 'Money Monster' crew had to eat

"Money Monster," starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, filmed outside of the Federal Hall National Memorial, 26 Wall St., and at several other locations throughout the Financial District for two weeks before the film's 2016 release, Menin said. The crew was given lunch money to spend locally while shooting, thanks to the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and Sony Pictures. Consequentially, the filming crew spent $300,000 at neighborhood businesses within a span of 15 days. Menin added that the Andaz Wall Street Hotel, 75 Wall St., was used for actors' wardrobe changes.

Comic enthusiasts know that Peter Parker -- aka

Credit: BPI / Zade Rosenthal

Spider-Man really flies above Manhattan — sort of

Comic enthusiasts know that Peter Parker -- aka Spider-Man -- was raised in Forest Hills. In the 2002 film "Spider-Man," starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, the superhero scoops Mary Jane up off the streets of Manhattan and drops her off at Rockefeller Center's rooftop gardens at 626 Fifth Ave.

If Spider-Man flying above the city looks too perfect to be real, that's because many of the fast-paced scenes shot at remarkable heights were digitally enhanced. But not all of the flying scenes were computer generated. The film crew attached cameras to strong cable cords, about 30 feet high, to shoot scenes in which viewers see the streets through Spider-Man's eyes, according to Tony Lorenzo, 63, an actor of more than 30 years who played a street onlooker in the movie.

"The cable stretches all down the street and it runs from one end of the block to the next. They put a camera on it and the camera comes racing down the cable in kind of a shaky way," Lorenzo said.

The 2006 film

Credit: Raoul's / Karim Raoul

'The Departed' brought Boston to NYC

The 2006 film "The Departed," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, is set in Boston, but it was filmed in New York City. Several interior shots at the Charles Street Brasserie set in Beacon Hill, Boston, where Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) and his friends hang out, were actually filmed at Raoul's, 180 Prince St., in SoHo, according to Stephanie Browne, director of digital media at the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. Nicholson refused to wear a Boston Red Sox hat and wore his New York Yankees hat while filming instead, she added.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

That 'Godfather' mansion wasn't as protected as you thought

"Godfather" mafia boss Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, supposedly lives on Long Island in the 1972 film. In reality, his exquisite mansion is located on Longfellow Avenue in Emerson Hill, Staten Island. Built in the 1930s, the two-story, English Tudor-style mansion is 24,000 square feet. However, the giant stone wall seen outside the property in the movie -- near the front gate -- was created with plaster and papier-maché, said Lorenzo, a member of the Screen Actor's Guild and a city tour guide for Walk NYC Tour.

Credit: Wendy Lu; Paramount Pictures

'Breakfast at Tiffany’s' only featured the facade of this UES brownstone

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) is one of the most popular city-set movies. Tiffany's-obsessed Holly Golightly, an iconic role played by the late Audrey Hepburn, lives on the Upper East Side. About 24 minutes into the movie, viewers get a glimpse of Golightly's apartment when the charming Paul Varjak (George Peppard) comes to visit. Golightly's apartment, as featured in the movie, is a brownstone located at 169 E. 71st St. Although the exterior shots feature the brownstone (pictured), "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was never actually filmed inside the apartment. Those shots were filmed on studio sets in Hollywood.

In Woody Allen's

Credit: Wendy Lu

Alvy and Annie weren't at the Beekman you know in 'Annie Hall'

In Woody Allen's "Annie Hall," a television writer falls in love with a girl from the Midwest. At one point during the film, the writer named Alvy Singer (played by Allen) waits for Annie (Diane Keaton) outside Beekman Theatre, where "Face to Face" by Ingmar Bergman is playing.

While the Beekman can be found at 1271 Second Ave. today, the scene was shot at the theater's original location across the street at 1254 Second Ave., according to the theater company. In 2005, the original Beekman was demolished, and the neighboring cinema was renamed in its honor.

One of Barbra Streisand's popular films,

Credit: Getty Images / Cindy Ord

'Mirror Has Two Faces' shot at Tavern on the Green

One of Barbra Streisand's popular films, "The Mirror Has Two Faces" features a wedding reception that was shot at Tavern on the Green in Manhattan. Lydia Schmitt, an actress who played a wedding guest in the movie, recalled Streisand's directing style. "She likes a lot of takes. She would shoot one scene and then she would change her mind," said Schmitt. Originally a movie extra, Schmitt was given a speaking role out of sheer luck, she said.

"I'd been standing at the right place at the right time. They had given us a break and almost everyone went to the restroom and I didn't," said Schmitt, who wore a chiffon, turquoise cocktail dress in the movie. "[Barbra] just came over to me and said, 'I think you'd be good for this.' They were looking for a waspy type lady. She kind of just picked me out."

Watch closely during the black-tie gala in

Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film

An overnight shoot at the Guggenheim was featured in 'Mr. Popper’s Penguins'

Watch closely during the black-tie gala in "Mr. Popper's Penguins" (2011) and you might recognize the white spiral structure in the scene is actually the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave.

The crew shot overnight, beginning around 4 p.m. and ending early the next morning, according to Schmitt, a movie extra who played a gala attendee. She and other actors had to pretend there were penguins waddling around the museum, she said.

"We had to make believe we were hopping over them, but they weren't really there. We had to insert them [into the movie] afterward digitally," said Schmitt, a member of the Screen Actor's Guild since 1970. "It was a very long, drawn-out night, but it was kind of fun."

In the 2004 film

Credit: Wendy Lu

Columbia University once doubled as a Barnes & Noble

In the 2004 film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Kate Winslet plays a character named Clementine who works at the desk of what's supposed to be Barnes & Noble on Long Island. Many don't know those scenes were actually filmed at Columbia University's bookstore at West 115th Street and Broadway in Morningside Heights. The "Book Information" sign shown briefly in the background when the store's lights go out in the movie is similar to the one that still hangs in the bookstore today.

In 1982's

Credit: Universal Studios

The actual Pink Palace got a makeover for 'Sophie’s Choice'

In 1982's "Sophie's Choice," Meryl Streep plays a Holocaust survivor who lives in a boardinghouse known as the Pink Palace. A two-story town house on Rugby Road in Flatbush was used for the shoot.

In person, the Victorian-style "Pink Palace" is burnt orange, gray and white. For the purposes of the movie, however, the house was painted the same color as a raspberry smoothie.


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