Family Visit to Central Park with TV and Movie Sites Tour. Photo Essay and Travel Tips
I love spending time with my family in New York City’s Central Park any time of the year, but summer is our favorite season to visit. So when On Location Tours invited me and my family to choose a Movie and TV Sites Tour among several options the company offers in New York City – the walking Central Park TV and Movie Sites Tour was an easy choice. I knew that I could not go wrong with a walking tour of Central Park and I was right. This 2-hour tour was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon on a gorgeous recent weekend in May.
843-acres Central Park is the site to hundreds of movies and is considered the most filmed location in the world. Let me show you some (definitely not all!) of the famous movie sites where our tour guide (aspiring actor Peter) took us during the tour. Each place has appeared in multiple films and so as not to spoil your own tour surprise, I will only name some.
The tour started near Plaza Hotel – which is a National Historic Landmark (only one other hotel in New York City -Waldorf Astoria- is awarded this status). Plaza opened to the public in 1907, and as far as movie making goes, it is the most filmed building in the world; it allows filming inside and outside. (Plaza-filmed movies you may have seen: The Way We Were, Big Business, Crocodile Dandee).
The Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza: Fisher King and Serendipity were shot here, but a smaller replica recreated on the Warner Brothers’ studio in California was used for the fountain scenes from Friends‘ opening credits.
Once inside the Park, we were guided to the The Duck Pond and the stone Gapstow Bridge (the scene of Home Alone-2 and Devil Wears Prada).
Here is the view of the upper West Side’s Skyline from the Duck Pond.
Next we strolled the Mall (also known as the Literary Walk), a lively area in the southern end of the Park lined with American Elm trees and monuments to famous poets. Originally called the Promenade by the park creators, it is the widest pedestrian pathway in the Park and is featured in Vanilla Sky, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Kramer vs. Kramer (among many others).
The area is popular with balloons artists, to the delight of my daughter:
At this point, my son and I took advantage of one of the many benches on the Promenade to relax and admire the scenery.
Next was the Bandshall (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Mighty Aphrodite). The stage has featured New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and other prominent music groups.
In the meantime, we are making our way to the Bethesda Terrace, with the famous Bethesda Fountain located in the middle.
In the picture immediately below the Fountain is hidden on the upper area of the terrace.
Now you can see it!
Bethesda Fountain is the site of the musical number at the end of the Enchanted (also featured in Deconstructing Harry, Out of Towners and Avengers. It is the most filmed location in the Park!).
The Fountain overlooks Central Park Lake. The famous Loeb Boat House is in the distance (as featured in When Harry Met Sally and Sex in the City).
Another (side) view of the Boat House in late spring bloom:
The twenty-two acre Central Park Lake offers several boating options (and a gorgeous view of Manhattan) and was featured in the Manchurian Candidate.
Here is another Fountain where the Friends series was NOT filmed. It is no less beautiful. (According to our guide Peter, Will and Grace’s only NYC-shot scene – the wedding – featured this fountain.)
Famous Strawberry Fields, dedicated to John Lennon.
The tour ended at the Sheep’s Meadow (Wall Street) where our family then spent a relaxing couple of hours. (You can buy picknick supplies at the takeout window of the nearby Tavern on the Green).
So here is What to expect and how to best prepare for the walking TV and Movie Tour of Central Park:
1. This is not a lecture on film making history: the focus is on observing the many noteworthy movie and TV sites in Central Park while noting Central Park’s facts and history. This tour is definitely about the Central Park as much as it is about the movies and that is what I loved about it.
2. There is a lot of walking (it’s a 2 hour walking tour!), so dress comfortably and wear walking shoes (I had 4 miles registered on my step meter)
3. While the walking part may be somewhat challenging for the little tots (ours is a trained traveler), tweens and teens will enjoy the tour, and parents know how difficult it is to please this age group!
4. You will be taken through some gorgeous places in the park- have your camera handy.
5. Wear sunscreen/bring water bottles.
6. There are 20+people (from all over the world) on the tour which makes for engaging movie pop quizes; you will get more from the tour if you stay close to the tour guide and ask questions.
(Here I am staying close and taking notes: blogging is hard work!)
Central Park TV and Movie Tour runs Thursday – Sunday and Tuesday at 12pm. Rain or shine. (daily May – Sept.) For complete tour selection and prices, go to NYC TV and Movie Tours. You can use code OLT2015 for $3 off each ticket you book online through onlocationtours.com. While my family and I were invited by the company to take the tour, I don’t receive any compensation for recommending this tour to you and I am doing so because I enjoyed it.
CENTRAL PARK FACTS
1. Central Park stretches from North 110th Street to Central Park South (59th Street), and from Central Park West (8th Avenue) to 5th Ave.;
2. Central Park was the first public park in America; it is completely manmade (took 15 years to build, including planting over 500,000 trees and shrubs);
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