NYC movie scenes in walking tours

Does this look familiar? Lyra Belaqua, played by Dakota Blue Richards, ran down this Manhattan block in the film The Golden Compass. The block of identical wooden houses is on my Washington Heights tour.

Same block in the movie!

This block is on my Brooklyn Bridge  & Brooklyn Heights tour. Why the studio decided to use the blue Brooklyn house as the Washington, DC home of Kay Graham, played by Meryl Streep as the former owner of The Washington Post in the film The Post, is beyond me.

Riffing off Mystery Science Theatre 3000, I call these posters ‘moviesign.’  Printed by the Mayor’s Office of Film and Television, they warn car owners to stay away on certain days so that movie or tv trucks can park there. It’s a great way to learn what movie or TV show is filmed where and when. This one was for the 4th season of the TV show Power, in 2017.  Watch my @tourguidestan Twitter for #moviesign mentions.

Movie directors love to use icons as backdrops.Washington Arch is a New York City icon. Consider every ‘famous city’ movie you’ve ever seen. Are some scenes within sight of a famous icon in that city? You bet.  Because moviegoers will remember their own experience in that spot. That’s a big selling point, so directors use the icons. Washington Square arch has been used for many films. Here is a link to a short YouTube video of mine. In 20 seconds it shows you the exact locations near the arch where scenes in four films were made:

McSorley’s Old Ale House was used in an episode of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. It’s one of my favorite bars in town, for many reasons, one being
I take customers here when we ‘do’ the East Village, and at the end of Mrs Maisel’s Marvelous Greenwich Village.

At the poet’s walk, or the literary walk, in Central Park, film Scenes have been shot here since at least 1979, when Meryl Streep stood by the statue of Robert Burns and Dustin Hoffman took up the opposite spot by Walter Scott. Kramer vs. Kramer.

But that’s only the earliest Literary Walk film scene I can think of. How about some more?


Autumn In New York

Home Alone II: Lost In New York

Icons, baby. It’s all about the icons! And New York holds sooo many icons that it’s the perfect city to shoot in. That’s why as many as 400 movies and TV shows are shot in New York annually. Take some of my tours and stand exactly where the stars stood. Go to or write the email address in this video:

New York Rocks!

Geologic info about NYC structures:

From Canada: The first floor exterior of the Chrysler Building is faced in labradorite, a very shiny dark stone with large greenish black crystals.

All the stone around Bethesda Fountain, except for the stairs themselves, is New Brunswick sandstone. Unfortunately sandstone is a porous, soft rock, and it was badly eroded before they rebuilt Bethesda Arcade 10 or 12 years ago. The third arch in on the right side coming from the stairs has a big hole in it!


I think the stairs at Bethesda Fountain are Massachusetts granite. I think also that the steps at the 6th Avenue entrance by the Jose Marti statue are Massachusetts granite as well. I haven’t researched either of these. Does anyone know?


The Brooklyn Bridge is mostly steel, but the towers are Maine granite and Essex County, New York, limestone. The blocks are held together by Rosendale cement, a natural cement made of dolomite, from Rondout Creek up in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Indiana in Midtown:
17 of the 18 structures in Rockefeller Center are faced with Indiana limestone, specifically Bedford limestone, as seen in the movie Breaking Away.
(The Switzerland building is faced in Swiss marble.)
A cool thing to do with student groups is to have them aim their phones at any wall of the limestone above the granite, and photograph it up close. Then ‘unpinch’ the photo and see actual fossils from the bottom of a shallow ocean that covered the whole region around where the Great Lakes are. Those creatures lived around 250 million years ago. The most recognizable ones are bryozoans, which look like miniature coral.

The Empire State Building is also faced with Indiana limestone. The various kinds of marble in its lobby come from different countries. Swiss people and Irish people swear up and down that it’s Swiss or Irish. And we Irish, by the way, really know how to swear.

Speaking of the Irish, St Patrick’s Cathedral was begun in 1859 but construction was halted when most of the workers went to fight in the American Civil War. As a gesture of healing when construction resumed, the Gothic arches of the windows and doorways are of Tennessee marble from the South. The exterior walls are of Indiana limestone from the North.

Long Islanders:
Tens of thousands of houses were built in Nassau County after the Second World War. Long Island is made of pebbles pushed down from Quebec and Ontario, by 2-mile-high glaciers, during the four ice ages. Most of the pebbles are yellow or white quartz.
There are still a few sidewalk slabs around town that are made of the gravel dug up to clear space for the basements of all those houses on Long Island.
There’s a good number in Brooklyn Heights, for instance on Orange Street right outside the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims. But really, they’re found all over town.

Ohio in the financial district:

Besides the Society of the Cincinnati plaque at Federal Hall, the Federal Reserve is faced with Ohio sandstone.

Connecticut provided most of the brownstone that was used for townhouse facades between 1840 and 1900.

Has your area contributed to the rock of New York City? Please tell us about it in the comments section!

Find my tours at the Tourguidestan channel on YouTube.

Follow on Twitter, @Tourguidestan and @IsleOfNewYorkTr

Can I create a tour for you and your group? Sure I can. Write me at for terms and more information.

Wintertime is Skating Time in New York City

Winter activities in New York… New York has a zillion things to do: all the usual tours and venues, plus Manhattan’s several ice skating rinks.

Yes, you can skate in Rockefeller Center. But the rink is rather small and there’s often a long line to get in. That line can be bypassed, however, by signing up for VIP skate reservations. Packages run from $60 to $150.

The normal charge through January 1 is $32 for adults, $15 for seniors and children under 11. Skate rental is $12.

Just a few blocks south at Bryant Park is a much bigger rink, surrounded by a Christmas village. General admission at Bryant Park is $8 for age 13 and over. Skate rental is $5, both figure skates and hockey skates.

The most popular hours at Bryant Park – meaning the most crowded times on the ice – are between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. After 8 or so, the crowd usually thins out. The rink is open until 10 p.m. and kids under 42 inches (106 cm) in height can rent an ‘EZ Skater’ in the shape of a snowman or penguin that helps them balance. That rental is $5.

Just north of Midtown in Central Park, about a five-minute walk into the park from the 6th Avenue entrance will take you to the Wollman rink. It also is a very large rink, although occasionally sections are set off for skate training for kids. Public skating hours:

10 to 2:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday and Thursday it’s 10 a.m. till 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for kids age 11 and under, and $5 for seniors.

Are you skating in lower Manhattan? Brookfield Place, across the West Side Highway from the World Trade Center, has an ice skating rink facing the Hudson River and harbor. Beautiful views!

Rates are $5 for skate rental; $15 per public session, lasting one and a half hours. On weekdays, there’s a session at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 pm.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, there are 90 minute sessions from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sessions on those days continue at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. These sessions also last 90 minutes each.

Questions? Ask by tweeting me at @TourguideStan.

Or contact me at . You can find information on private, customized walking tours there, as well!