New York City Off The Beaten Path Tips by Jefie
New York City Off The Beaten Path: 983 reviews and 1,285 photos
90 Bedford Street
Sylvain and I were huge fans of the TV series "Friends". Even though the series was filmed in California, the story was set in New York City, with the characters of Monica, Rachel, Chandler and Joey living in Greenwich Village. As we were walking in the area, we decided to make a quick detour to see the building standing at 90 Bedford Street, which was used for exterior shots of the four friends' appartment building. As soon as we reached the street corner, we were able to recognize it - the only difference is that instead of the Central Perk coffee house, where the characters all spent so much time, there is a small Mediterranean restaurant called "The Little Owl". So even though Gunther wasn't there to serve us a cup of coffee, it was still neat to see the building we'd seen on TV so many times.
Tom's Restaurant on Broadway
As you walk up Broadway Avenue heading for the Columbia University campus it is impossible not to recognize Tom's Restaurant, which was featured in the TV show "Seinfeld" as the main characters' favourite diner, Monk's Cafe. The interior scenes were filmed at a studio in California, but it's still worth taking a quick peak inside or even better, stopping for lunch or dinner. You don't have to worry about stepping into a tourist trap - Tom's Restaurant has long been a popular spot with Columbia University students and although they do sell t-shirts and postcards, we took a look at the menu and the restaurant offers typical diner food at a very reasonable price. I guess this one is a must for any Seinfeld fan!
Tom's Restaurant is located at 2880 Broadway, at the corner of W 112th Street in Morningside Heights.
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Hotel Chelsea, in New York City
Another New York City hotel that's been associated with literature for over a century is Hotel Chelsea, located at 222 West 23rd Street (between 7th and 8th Ave). Built in 1883, this hotel has always doubled as a long-term residence for writers and artists, and its famous guests list includes writers Mark Twain, O. Henry, William S. Burroughs, Arthur Miller, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Thomas Wolfe, Arthur C. Clarke (he wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying at Hotel Chelsea), Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, film director Stanley Kubrick, actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, musicians Dee Dee Ramone, Édith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen and Anthony Kiedis.
The hotel also has a bit of a gruesome history: in 1953, Dylan Thomas collapsed in his room after having had one too many drinks and he died of alcohol poisoning a few days later. Charles R. Jackson, author of "The Lost Weekend", committed suicide in his room in 1968. Also, Nancy Spungen was found dead at Hotel Chelsea in 1978, possibly stabbed to death by her boyfriend Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.
The Dakota, at 1 W 72nd Street
As you get to the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West, you usually find a small crowd of people taking pictures of The Dakota, a private appartment building that was built between 1880 and 1884. Although this very elegant building has had its fair share of famous residents, including Judy Garland, Jack Palance and Roberta Flack, none were perhaps as famous as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It was in the main entrance to the building that the ex-Beatles was shot by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980. Many fans and visitors come to pay their respect, often leaving flowers at the nearby Strawberry Fields memorial, located across the street in Central Park.
On a different note, The Dakota was also featured in Roman Polanski's 1968 horror movie "Rosemary's Baby", which was based on the novel by Ira Levin (one of the scariest books I've ever read!). The Dakota was featured as The Bramford, a New York City appartment building with a long history of strange deaths and murders.
Algonquin Hotel, in New York City
For 10 years, from 1919 to 1929, a group of New York writers, critics and actors got together every day to have lunch at the Rose Room of the Algonquin Hotel, located at 59 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Ave). They sort of recreated the atmosphere of English and French literary salons, adding a good deal of wit and wisecracks to the tradition. Members included the likes of Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woolcott, Robert Benchley, Franklin P. Adams and Harold Ross, then editor of the New Yorker magazine.
The Algonquin Hotel was built in 1902 and is now a New York City Historic Landmark. Famous guests include Laurence Olivier, Jeremy Irons, Graham Greene, Anthony Hopkins, Orson Wells, Gertrude Stein and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Among the many traditions associated with the hotel, my favorite has to be that for the past 70 years or so, a cat has been running the hotel. Matilda, a 12-year-old ragdoll cat, is currently in charge of the Algonquin and may be reached at the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
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