New York: Cinematic Central Park

Some of the most-recognised movies and TV shows have been filmed at iconic Central Park landmarks.

Since the dawn of film, New York’s Central Park has been one of the most-filmed locations on earth, with more than 300 motion pictures featured there along with countless TV shows.

The first film reportedly shot in Central Park was an American-made version of Romeo & Juliet in 1908.

The 3.41 sq km green space in the middle of Manhattan is now the most-popular backdrop in America, if not the world, for movie makers, thanks to its bridges, monuments, paths and hilltops.

Many popular locations – from Bethesda Terrace & Fountain to Bow Bridge – are instantly recognisable in hit movies and TV shows that include Home Alone 2, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, When Harry Met Sally, Stuart Little, theReal Housewives of New York City and Sex & the City

Here are just some of the iconic locations within Central Park that inspire pilgrimages to New York from all over the world, not to mention selfie shots on Instagram.

Wollman Skating Rink

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Wollman Skating Rink, a public ice rink at the southern end of Central Park, has featured in countless movies including Serendipity, Home Alone 2, Stepmom, The January Man and Love Story. In Serendipity(pictured)Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) go for a late night skate at Wollman Rink after sharing a ‘Frozen Hot Chocolate’ at Serendipity 3 Restaurant.

Where: Centred on 830 5th Ave.

Gapstow Bridge

Home Alone 2

Gapstow Bridge is one of the mesmerising icons of Central Park and one of the most Instagrammable spots, no matter if it’s in the depths of winter or on a hot summer day.  It’s no wonder this idyllic bridge has featured in numerous blockbusters, including Home Alone 2 and Weekend at Bernie’s. Most of us will remember it as the place where Kevin runs into the ‘Pigeon Lady’ in Home Alone 2 (pictured).

Where: The Pond at 59th Street.

The Mall and Literary Walk

Kramer vs Kramer

The 40-foot-wide Mall is a straight, tree-lined avenue where street performers strut their stuff in warmer months, while artists draw caricatures and vendors spruik lots of touristy tat. The Mall is lined with American Elm Trees and, at it’s southern end, statues of renowned authors, giving it the name Literary Walk. The Mall features in scenes from Kramer vs. Kramer(pictured) starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, as well as The Godfather, SerendipityBig Daddy and Maid in Manhattan.

Where: Runs through the middle of Central Park, from 66th to 72nd Streets.

Bethesda Terrace & Fountain


Located at the end of The Mall and beside The Lake, Bethesda Terrace is notable for its ornate ceramic tiles and a fountain called Angel of the Waters. Movies filmed here include One Fine Day, Home Alone 2, Stuart Little 2, Mr Deeds and the Disney musical fantasy Enchanted (pictured), which sees animated characters come to life in the modern day. Princess Giselle’s (Amy Adams) song ends in front of fountain on Bethesda Terrace.

Where: 72nd Street Terrace Drive, overlooking the lake.

Loeb Boathouse

When Harry Met Sally

If you’re a fan of Sex and the City, you’ll remember the Loeb Boathouse from the season 3 finale when Carrie meets Big for lunch. When he leans in to kiss her, she tries to back away and they both fall into the pond. The Central Park Boathouse is also where Sally (Meg Ryan) dined with two girlfriends in the movie When Harry Met Sally. It has also featured in Enchanted, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Serendipity and Hannah and Her Sisters.

Where: E 72nd St & Park Drive North.

Naumburg Bandshell

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The Naumberg Bandshell has been the setting for films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’sHair, I’m Not Rappaport and Mighty Aphrodite. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Paul (George Peppard) talked to Fred (Buddy Ebsen), the man who had been following him, at the Bandshell (pictured). Fred was the husband of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) and wanted Paul’s help to get his wife back.

Where: Just south of the Bethesda Terrace, between 66th and 72nd Streets.

Bow Bridge

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Filming Dr Who

Bow Bridge, the elegant cast iron bridge and the largest bridge in Central Park, featured in the Doctor Who episode The Angels Take Manhattan(pictured). The bridge has also made appearances in Glee, Spiderman 3, Made of Honor, The World of Henry Orient and When in Rome.

Where: Centered opposite W 72nd and W 73rd street, a short walk from Bethesda Fountain.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Barefoot in the Park

Love them or loathe them, Central Park’s horse-drawn carriage rides are a Big Apple staple. They’ve featured in films and TV shows that include New Year’s Eve, Home Alone 2, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, Sex and the City, Seinfeld, even The Simpsons. The classic 1967 film Barefoot in the Park, although centred more on Washington Square Park and The Plaza Hotel, featured one memorable scene in Central Park. Corie (Jane Fonda) and Paul Bratter (Robert Redford) take a cutesy ride through Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage (pictured).

Where: 7th Ave & W 59th St.

Conservatory Water

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Stuart Little

Named after the greenhouse conservatory nearby in Central Park, Conservatory Water is a man-made pond popular for model sailboat racing. Conservatory Water gained literary prominence in E.B. White’s children’s book Stuart Little, which later became a film. Conservatory Water has also featured in Stepmom, The Nanny Diaries, Weekend at Bernie’s, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Object of My Affection.

Where: Near Fifth Avenue, centered opposite East 74th St.

Tavern on the Green 

The Out-of-Towners

Movies including Wall Street, New York Stories, Ghostbusters and Mr Popper’s Penguins have shot scenes at Tavern on the Green, the famous restaurant at Central Park West. The Out-of-Towners, a remake of the 1970 Neil Simon screenplay, starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, also filmed here. There’s a moment in the film (pictured) when they are caught in a compromising position out in the park, as dozens of people inside Tavern on the Green watch on, including the former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, playing himself.

Where: Central Park West & 67th Street.

Sheep Meadow

Wall Street

Sheep Meadow, a 15-acre open area on the west side of Central Park, is popular for sun bathing, kite flying and picnicking. It also has a long history as a gathering place for large scale demonstrations and political movements. Sheep actually grazed the meadow until 1934, hence the name.  Sheep Meadow was used for famous scenes from the films like It Could Happen To You, Fisher King and The Manchurian Candidate. Towards the end of Wall Street, the 1980s film about corporate greed, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) confronts Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) at Sheep Meadow (pictured).

Where: The west side of Central Park from 66th to 69th Streets.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

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Sex and the City

Famed for its 2.54 km running track, where Charlotte runs with her dogs in Sex and the City (pictured), the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir runs from 86th Street to 96th Street. In the 1986 comedy drama Hannah and Her Sisters, despondent writer Mickey (Woody Allen) mopes around the reservoir thinking, “Look at all these people, trying to stave off the inevitable decay of their bodies.” The reservoir also features in the 1997 film Devils Advocate, starring Keanu Reeves, and the 1976 film Marathon Man.

© 2019 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved

Did You Know

Around 40,000 location shoots take place in New York City every year, including feature films, TV shows, music videos, commercials and more.


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