Given the popularity, prestige and the huge amount of attractions present, 5th Avenue needs and deserves an ad hoc itinerary. Along his 7 miles approximatelyin fact, you will find every type of interest and attraction: from shopping, with countless luxury boutiques, to technology, thanks to authoritative Hi-tech shopping centers, passing through culture, with museums of international importance.
And then, with regard to the world of food, a thousand cafes, diners, restaurants and burgers for all tastes and budgets. The wide road runs from Harlem to Greenwich Village.
- Do you want to know all the attractions of Fifth Avenue? Read our on what to see on Fifth Avenue.
PS: We have made a free ebook dedicated to the most famous film locations in New York. You can find it at This Page.
- Route map
- Film girati all’Empire State Building: da King Kong a Independence Day
- Film girati alla New York Public Library: da Spiderman a Ghostbusters
- Bryant Park Films: From Manhattan Murder Mystery to Frances Ha
- From The Wolf of Wall Street to Breakfast at Tiffany's
- Films shot by Grand Army Plaza: from Scent of a Woman to American Hustle
- Metropolitan Films: From Crime to Wall Street
- The Man in Black scene at the Guggenheim
- The Devil's Advocate
Film girati all’Empire State Building: da King Kong a Independence Day
Unlike road traffic, which runs one-way from north to south, today's itinerary will go in the opposite direction, starting from house number 350 (between 33rd and 34th). In fact, the advice is to start from the most famous skyscraper, the(1) Empire State Building, the undisputed star of the skyline of the entire island of Manhattan and the protagonist of many close-ups loaned to the cinema.
In the blockbuster "King Kong”(1933), at the dawn of cinematography, the most famous frame is certainly represented by the image of the mammoth gorilla climbing right on the gigantic art deco style building. Attacked by the flocks of aviation, however, he manages to save the beautiful actress Ann from her, tied to her by a primordial affection, placing her delicately on a cornice of the skyscraper.
The 102-storey building is also the backdrop to the famous romantic comedy "Insomnia of love"(1993); on the top terrace on the 86th floor, the protagonists, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) and Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), meet in the final stages of the film. It goes without saying that from the terrace you can enjoy a boundless and stunning panorama over the whole city.
In the blockbuster of the end of the millennium "Independence Day”(1996), among the many iconic images, there is certainly also the one relating to the destruction of the Empire State Building through a powerful laser beam that starts from the spacecraft of the brutal alien invaders.
- Read our guide to visiting the Empire State Building
Film girati alla New York Public Library: da Spiderman a Ghostbusters
Continuing the journey on 5th Avenue, between 40th and 42nd, there is another cinematic "monument" of the Big Apple such as the (2) New York Public Library, which, in addition to preserving countless and precious writings, was also a very popular extra for several shots. In fact, many films gravitated towards the building or inside the reading rooms, such as, among many, "Breakfast at Tiffany's"(1961),"The guardians of destiny"(2011),"Spiderman"(2002) and"Sex and the City"(2008).
However, the film to which the New York Public Library is most closely linked is certainly "Ghostbusters"(1984). In fact, in their first mission, the three university researchers of parapsychology Peter, Ray and Egon, played respectively by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, are contacted by the library to try to solve a problem about strange paranormal phenomena.
Peter, initially skeptical of the subject, is convinced by Ray to go with him to the library with this sentence:
“The values of psychokinetic energy are beyond the maximum values! The needle went crazy! This time we are close! I feel!".
In fact, exploring the rooms between the shelves overflowing with books, the three colleagues for the first time establish direct contact with a "full-length and authentic" spectrum.
- Read our guide on how to visit the New York Public Library
Bryant Park Films: From Manhattan Murder Mystery to Frances Ha
Behind the public library lies the dynamic Bryant Park: in this shady and luxuriant oasis it is worth stopping by sipping a coffee purchased in one of the many kiosks present. In the large central lawn, outdoor films are shown in the summer, while, in the winter, a market and an ice skating rink are set up.
In addition to the harmony of the place, (3) Bryant Park it is important because it represents yet another urban redevelopment work in full New York style: in the 70s and 80s, in fact, it was known as the “needle park”. Bryant Park was the setting for a scene from the funny noir comedy "Mysterious murder in Manhattan”(1993), in which Larry (Woody Allen) tries to appease his wife Carol's (Diane Keaton) investigative spirit about the mystery surrounding the sudden disappearance of their neighbor.
In addition to Allen's film, also in the comedy "Frances Ha”(2012), the park appears in the sequences in which Frances (Greta Gerwig), between a chat and the other, eats a bite in the open air with her closest friend, Sophie.
From The Wolf of Wall Street to Breakfast at Tiffany's
Continuing north on 5th Avenue to number 725, stands the (4) Trump Tower, a 58-storey skyscraper completed in 1983 that houses both offices and residential apartments. Although its construction has aroused various controversies, the tower is still an emblematic building in the panorama of the city; Michael Jackson used to stay there when called to perform in New York and the tower also appears on the cover of the famous video game Grand Theft Auto.
In the cinema, the "poor" Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), in the film "The Wolf of Wall Street”(2013), in front of the opulent entrance to the Trump Tower atrium, he is welcomed, with extreme vigor and total resolve, by his wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti) after having surprised him in the company of the new flame Naomi (Margot Robbie).
The shop adjacent to Trump Tower, at the corner of 57th Street, is the legendary jewelry store (5) Tiffany & Co. Imagine semi-deserted 5th Avenue at dawn. A taxi approaches the shop and pulls over a little further on. The "doe-eyed diva", Audrey Hepburn, gets off the car, playing the part of Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"(1961).
She wears a little black dress, designed by Givenchy and auctioned in 2006 for £ 467.200. He wears a multi-strand pearl necklace in pendant with earrings and hair clips. The outfit is completed by the rare RayBan Wayfarer sunglasses with the particular tortoiseshell frame and larger lenses. He approaches with a decisive step towards the jewelery and stops in front of its shop windows to carefully observe the precious items on display.
And that's where the world's most famous breakfast of croissants and hot coffee is consumed. Today the jewelry with offices around the world owes much of its prestige to the global success of the film written by Truman Capote, controversial and enigmatic literary genius.
Films shot by Grand Army Plaza: from Scent of a Woman to American Hustle
Beyond 58th Street, after walking for a long time in the midst of towering buildings with a massive structure, a small crowd of trees will appear on your left which produces, on hot summer days, a providential shadow on the (6) Pulitzer Fountain, in the south side of the Grand army plaza. The magnificent fountain appears in the romantic comedy "Bride Wars - My best enemy”(2009), starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson.
Although the two protagonists, Liv and Emma, have always been friends, they come into conflict for a futile reason: by mistake, the wedding of both is fixed on the same day and in the same place. The harmony that governed their relationship turns into a real war with small and big teasing because neither of them is willing to give up their wedding date.
On the fateful day, they both show up at (7) Plaza Hotel, the place where they always wanted to get married. This popular hotel overlooks the Grand Army Plaza with its austere-looking historic building featuring a high pair of gables. When the script calls for some filming to take place in a luxury hotel in Manhattan, the Plaza Hotel and the Waldorf-Astoria they are certainly the most popular.
In fact, in the film "Perfume of a woman”(1992), Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino) has a sumptuous dinner in the plush Plaza restaurant during his reckless escape to Manhattan. The hotel also hosted little Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) on his extended stay in Manhattan over the Christmas holidays in the hit 1992 sequel to “Mom I missed the plane".
In the hilarious comedy various points of the hotel have been taken up; the entrance stairways adorned with a red carpet, the reception inside the large hall and the room reserved by the boy with the adjoining corridor on the floor where the frightened attendants escape crawling.
Also some sequences of the film "American Hustle"(2013) were filmed both near and inside the prestigious hotel. The film, set in 70s New York and based on real events, deals with the operation conducted by the FBI to put a stop to the rampant corruption in Congress. Despite receiving ten Oscar nominations, he nevertheless failed to win even one.
In the former Monty Python's masterpiece, Terry Gilliam "The legend of the Fisher King”(1991), former DJ Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) sits on the marble memorial dedicated to (8) William Tecumseh Sherman placed in the center of the Grand Army Plaza. Intent on consuming yet another bottle of alcohol, the hypothesis of a sudden exit from the self-destructive spiral in which he has been drowning for years seems far away.
Addressing his "little Italian friend" (a wooden puppet depicting Pinocchio), he explains:
“Nietzsche says there are two types of people in the world: people who are destined for greatness, like Walt Disney and Hitler, and then there are those like us: he used to call us factory scraps. We are teased, sometimes we get close to greatness but we never get there; we are the worthless masses, we are the disposable items, they throw us under the trains, we get spoiled food, we are shot by chance at the supermarket. Do you want to know the title of my biography? "Jack Lucas's life was not a picnic."
Leaving Grand Army Plaza behind and returning to 5th Avenue, at the corner of 61st Street, is the (9) The Pierre, another luxury hotel in the area with great views of the east side of Central Park.
In the comedy "A rainy day in New York”(2019), the young Gatsby Welles (Timothée Chalamet) and Ashleigh Enright (Elle Fanning), book a room here to spend a wonderful weekend, taking a little break from their studies. The girl is delighted after noticing the elegance of the room furnishings and the spectacular view of the green of the immense park.
At 60th Street, on the Upper East Side, Fifth Avenue serves as the eastern edge of Central Park accompanying it along its entire length. This portion is known as Museum Mile, given the presence of at least a dozen high-ranking museums concentrated in about a mile.
Metropolitan Films: From Crime to Wall Street
What more than any other has lent its features to the cinema is certainly the (10) Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), at the intersection with 82nd Street. In fact, multiple sequences were shot both near the entrance to the museum, especially on the staircase, and inside some rooms.
A famous image taken internally in the wing dedicated to Egyptian art, photographs a moment of one of the many exchanges of views between Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan), in the masterpiece "Harry, this is Sally"(1989). It is at the Temple of Dendur, transferred from Egypt in the 2002s when the Aswan dam was built, that Harry throws himself into his tongue twister: "Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash ...", immediately repeated by Sally too for game. The reconstructed temple is placed just before a large stained glass window and also appears in the XNUMX drama "Crime hypothesis”, With Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck.
Woody Allen, also in his comedy "A rainy day in New York”(2019), shoots some scenes in the wing dedicated to European painting. Gatsby, the insightful and nonconformist protagonist son of a wealthy New York couple, in front of the famous painting "Madame X", confides to his friend Shannon Tyrell (Selena Gomez): "My mother would have loved to be painted by Sargent in that pose!".
The French painter's masterpiece received more comments of mockery than appreciation at the Paris Salon, due to an early version in which the woman's shoulder pad was slightly lowered. Sargent then repainted it in the correct position and kept the painting. When he sold it to the Metropolitan, he said, "I think it's the best thing I've ever done." As the name of the picture suggests, he asked the museum to keep the model's name hidden.
The staircase of the museum was also used a lot in film shooting. In addition to the aforementioned "A rainy day in New York"(2019), the following films also affected the popular MET entrance:"Cruel Intentions - First rule don't fall in love"(1999),"Hitch - He does understand women"(2005),"Perfect crime"(1998) and"Wall Street - Money never sleeps"(2010).
One of the most fascinating corners of the museum is the roof garden, from which you can enjoy an astonishing view of both the city and Central Park; the endless expanse of thick trees always leaves you speechless.
- Read our guide to visiting the Metropolitan Museum in New York
The Man in Black scene at the Guggenheim
At the height of 89th Street, stands a masterpiece whose structure will strike your imagination: the (11) Guggenheim Museum; completed in 1959, but whose founding father, Frank Lloyd Wright, did not see the light.
The beauty of the architectural structure almost overshadows the refined art collection it houses. In an opening sequence of the film "Man in Black”(1997), future agent“ J ”(Will Smith) embarks on a long foot chase of a thug with inhuman powers. While the fugitive prodigiously climbs the external structure of the Guggenheim up to the roof, the poor agent, lacking the same agility, is forced to climb it via the tiring internal ramps.
The Devil's Advocate
The last stop on the itinerary is the church, (12) Church of the Heavenly Rest, on 90th Street, inside which an emblematic scene from the thriller took place "The Devil's Advocate"(1997). In the final stages of the film, the wife of the brilliant lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) takes refuge in the church in an attempt to find a peace upset by the diabolical John Milton (Al Pacino).
The young Lomax, sinning with pride, egotism and vanity, finds it hard to believe in the real validity of his wife's terror, mistaking it for a futile disturbance of the mind caused by stress. As the Devil himself confesses:
“Vanity is definitely my favorite sin. Kevin is elementary. Vanity is the most natural opiate "Read all the other cinematic itineraries