From “Sleepless in Seattle” to “An Affair to Remember,” many of the best romantic films have taken place in New York City. And why not? With its mesmerizing skyline and alluring attractions, it’s where everyone’s vagabond shoes long to stray.
Though many people head directly to the top of the Empire State Building in hopes of recreating the perfect Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan moment (and rightly so), there are plenty of other places in The Big Apple where you can pay homage to some of your favorite, starry-eyed films.
I’ll Have What She’s Having
Yes! Yes! Yes! Thanks to “When Harry Met Sally,” most of us can’t look at a corned beef sandwich without thinking of Meg Ryan pounding on the table of Katz’s Delicatessen in the throes of feigned ecstasy.
And no visit to New York is complete without a stop there.
Not only can you sit in Sally’s infamous spot (marked with a sign overhead), but you can also dine on Katz’s legendary pastrami sandwich or one of their hotdogs, considered by some to be the best in New York.
Harry and Sally’s “pepper on my paprikash” conversation happens in front of the giant windows located in the Sackler Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A great way to see some of the museum while having a bit of devilish fun is to take Museum Hack’s “Un-Highlights” tour.
The tagline “This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Museum Tour,” is more than accurate considering you’ll spend two hours hearing gossip, naughty tidbits and little known facts about some of the exhibits while being prompted to take embarrassing selfies in front of at least one of them, if not more, all in the name of art.
Another movie landmark is Café Luxembourg, a charming bistro on the Upper West Side serving up classic fare like the Luxemburger along more complex cuisine like the Roasted Faroe Island Salmon. It’s the site of the film’s disastrous blind date involving Harry, Marie, Sally and Jess. Keep in mind that it’s probably best just to order the food and skip the double date.
The Shakespeare & Co. bookstore on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is where Harry and Sally meet up for the third time.
Finally, don’t forget to stop at Shakespeare & Co. bookstore. Shop for your favorite books or sip a Macchiato at the bookseller’s café. Either way, it’s the place where Harry and Sally meet up for the third time in the film, starting the journey that eventually ends with him telling her that when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. Aw, tissue anyone?
Two Drifters, Off to See the World
It goes without saying that any homage to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” begins at Tiffany & Co, located on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. While you might struggle to find a Cracker Jack-box ring there, there are enough other baubles and pieces of exquisite jewelry to make any wanna-be Audrey Hepburn happy.
Or like her character, Holly Golightly, you can simply stand outside and gaze into the windows while eating pastries from a bag.
If breakfast on the go isn’t your speed, however, then it’s worth the trip downtown to dine at the Clinton Street Bakery.
There’s a reason that folks wait up to three hours for a table; it’s just that good. Serving up culinary delights like their famous sugar-cured bacon or pancakes served with warm maple butter, it’s the place to go for brunch.
You’ll need to bring cash as they don’t accept credit cards (unless you’re there for dinner), and there will likely be a very, very long wait for a table.
The good news is that there’s a neighborhood bagel shop around the corner, (Heaven’s Hot Bagel, 283 E. Houston St.) serving up warm, fresh bagels if you need something to hold you over.
While Hepburn’s named — but unnamed — “Cat” has long since retired to the great ball of yarn in the sky, you can still get your feline fix at one of the city’s three cat cafes.
Koneko, Meow Parlour and Little Lions all offer patrons the opportunity to snuggle, pet and cozy up to their many resident kitties; all of which are up for adoption, hopefully ensuring that some crazy lady won’t toss them from a cab into the pouring rain.
Finally, like Paul Varjak, who wanders through Central Park followed by the mysterious Doc Golightly, you, too, can visit the world-famous destination (sans the creepy stalker) and learn all about it while taking a CityRover walking tour. This private tour will fill you in on everything you need to know about the park’s fascinating history while taking you through some of its most scenic locations.
Snap Out of It
“Do you love him, Loretta?”
“Aw, ma, I love him awful.”
“Oh, God, that’s too bad.”
Is there anything better than watching Brooklyn bookkeeper Loretta Castorini fall head over heels in love with Ronny Cammareri, the bitter brother of her betrothed, Johnny, in the film “Moonstruck”?
Relive Cher and Nicolas Cage’s dreamy evening at the opera by planning your very own trip to the Met at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Offering two dozen operas each season (September through May), it’s not hard to find one to suit your taste and your budget, too, with tickets to some of the performances going for under $50.
And though there’s no official dress code, many use the night out as an excuse to dress to the nines. No formalwear? No problem. You can always go on a shopping spree or save yourself a few bucks and rent everything from evening gowns to handbags and even jewelry at Rent the Runway, an online business, as well as a brick and mortar store located at 30 W. 15th St. in Manhattan. Depending on the dress, many styles can be rented beginning at just $30 for four days.
Should you require a style update like Loretta’s mid-movie makeover, look no further than Joli Beauty Bar in the East Village. For $175 you can get “The Joli,” which includes full face makeup, hair blow out, skin treatment and eyelash application. For the best chance of getting an appointment, call at least a week in advance.
If the opera isn’t your speed, consider having dinner at Patsy’s restaurant in the heart of Midtown. Short of taking a trip to the old country, Patsy’s is about as authentic Italian as it gets.
Linguini, Bolognese, marinara, oh, mamma mia, they have them all. Family owned and operated for more than 70 years, the iconic restaurant has hosted countless celebrities including Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and even ol’ blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.
A Fortunate Accident
If a chance encounter leaves you wondering whether or not you’ve found “The One,” make sure you exchange phone numbers or at least last names. Seriously. It would have saved Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager of the 2001 film “Serendipity” a whole lot of time looking for each other if they’d just texted or something.
Regardless, John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale’s journey to find one another is what makes the film so adorable, and New York as the backdrop is the perfect place to recreate your own date with destiny.
Start by doing a little shopping at Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. Even if you don’t need black cashmere gloves, try on a pair anyway because you never know what might come of it. Besides, who doesn’t like cashmere gloves?
When you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, take a break at Serendipity 3, the inspiration for the film’s name and cute-as-a-button restaurant where Sara and Jonathan share a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, one of the eatery’s signature drinks. You’ll want to order one too if delicious icy chocolate topped with heaps of whipped cream and chocolate shavings is your thing, and no doubt, it is.
Serendipity 3 has a full menu of other “serious food” items, too, including burgers, steaks, pasta, sandwiches and omelets.
No “Serendipity”-inspired getaway is complete without a few spins around Wollman Rink, an outdoor ice rink in Central Park. Open through early April, it’s the perfect place to spend an enchanted evening skating under the stars. If you can’t skate, don’t worry, it’s almost as much fun to stand on the sidelines just to watch the wall-huggers.
If you play your cards right and plan it for an evening when it snows, all the better.
End your fate-inspired day with a stay at the Waldorf Astoria, New York’s Grand Dame of hotels. With more than 100 years of history tucked inside its luxurious walls, it remains one of the city’s most treasured landmarks.
Depending on when you go, guest rooms start at around $230 and go up from there.
If you book a stay, make sure you make a quick stop on the 23rd floor. It’s the one both Jonathan and Sara pick when allowing destiny to decide whether they are fated to meet up again. With any luck, you won’t run into any little devils along the way.