As Seen on TV: 9 NYC Spots You ALWAYS See on the Small & Silver Screens

Do you want to throw up as much as we do when a director says that New York City serves as a "character" in their movie or TV show? 

Cue Liz Lemon-style eye roll sequence.

Although, we can't be too mad because we can totally understand why someone would want to showcase NYC as much as possible - it's stunning, it's vibrant, and it's the center of everything. 

It's hard to determine whether pop culture has helped make certain spots famous, or whether we see the same spots cropping up in entertainment because they were already established landmarks in NYC. 

But either way, we've come to recognize a handful of NYC locales as more than common settings for a variety of movies and TV shows. Read on to discover what they are. 

1. Katz's Deli


Nothing says NYC quite like Katz's Deli. 


Which is why it's at the center of countless TV shows and movies, the most famous of which is, undoubtedly, the scene between Meg and Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. You know the one we're talking about.

Also, if you've braved more than one episode of The Jim Gaffigan Show, you've undoubtedly seen the famous deli more than five times. 

2. Russian Tea Room


Besides hosting the talents of Madonna before the peak of her fame, this restaurant and lounge has been the setting of movies like Tootsie and TV shows like Gossip Girl.

We usually avoid Midtown, but we'll make an exception to visit such a culturally prominent spot. If we can get a table, that is. 

3. Times Square


You can be pretty much guaranteed to see Times Square, at least a snippet of it, in just about every movie or TV show set in NYC. 

And let's not forget about Dustin Hoffman's famous "I'm walkin' here!" in Midnight Cowboy. We've so been there, Dustin. #relatable

4. Gray's Papaya

Why would anyone eat street meat when you can grab a hot dog from Gray's? It just makes no sense.


This famous fast food joint can be seen in TV shows such as Sex and the City and Louie, cameos which leave us seriously craving some of their greasy deliciousness. 

5. Joe's Pizza


This classic NY pizza joint is the setting for Ben Stiller's pizza grease-patting in Along Came Polly, as well as the workplace of Peter Parker in the Spiderman movies.

But, let's be real: we can't even try to keep count of all the times a slice of NYC pizza is featured or referenced in popular culture. 


6. Empire State Building

In real life, we get inundated with cheesy Instagram posts from people we went to high school with getting proposed to atop the Empire State Building, clearly orchestrated in order to capture the perfect photo memory.  


But Hollywood would have you believe that the NYC landmark is constantly home to reunions as heartfelt and tear-inducing as the closing of Sleepless in Seattle as well as dozens of other rom coms.

And, you know, giant gorilla attacks, a la King Kong

7. Magnolia Bakery


The attention that this bakery has received, mostly on shows like Sex and the City, has inspired an unwarranted amount of popularity. Yeah, the cupcakes are good, but they're not that good.

Broad City poked fun at this in the show's first season when Abbi and Ilana tried to track down Ilana's cell phone that was mistakenly taken by a tourist. They track her phone and follow its location around the city to all of the most cliche, touristy spots, Magnolia's being one of them. #datbananapuddingtho

8. Central Park

TV and film would mistakenly have you believe that you are capable of engaging in a stroll or conversation in Central Park on a weekend without being bombarded by rollerbladers or the stench of horse manure. 


Love Story, Home Alone 2, and Ghostbusters are just a few of the offenders. 

9. Cafe Lalo

Meg Ryan just can't stay away from NYC cliches, can she? 

But we're totally cool with it. This is because the peak of her career brought us some of our favorite films, like the 1998 classic You've Got Mail, a movie which still resonates with us emotionally despite its deeply dated technological-based premise.

Cafe Lalo is prominently featured in the film, and is just as adorably quaint in real life.

Check out 5 Reasons Why the East Village Is the Place To Be Right Now.

[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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