Even New Yorkers have to admit that their hometown looks pretty darn spectacular at Christmas, which is probably why it’s the sparkly backdrop to so many festive films. Here’s where you can relive the moment when Bill Murray berated the Ghost of Christmas Past and Santa Claus crash-landed in Elf…
Gapstow Bridge, Central Park
This romantic bridge has set the scene for many films and TV shows, but no one tugged at the heartstrings like young Macaulay Culkin as lost boy Kevin in Home Alone 2.
This is the spot Kevin first meets the “Pigeon Lady” and later thanks her by giving her a turtle dove ornament: “It’s a turtle dove. I have one, you have one. As long as we each have a turtle dove, we’ll be friends forever.”
The Rockefeller Center
New York’s most famous Christmas tree also happens to be the place where Culkin’s Kevin was finally tracked down in Home Alone 2. This year it’ll be lit from 2nd December until 6th January.
Ideally, walk up to it slowly to the festive jingle of John Williams’ Somewhere In My Memory as Kevin did.
Bethesda Terrace, Central Park
Santa Claus is coming to town… And Elf fans will know that he’ll be crash-landing in Central Park. Pay a visit to Bethesda Terrace, where Santa and his sleigh touched down. Why not start a sing-a-long like Zooey Deschanel while you’re at it?
The Empire State Building
Don’t bother paying to go up the Empire State Building. Just pop into the lobby where Buddy the elf goes in search of his father in. Before you go in, remember to look up – since 1976 the top of the tower has changed colour throughout the year including at Christmas.
If you happen to be in New York on Thursday 26th November ie. on Thanksgiving, Macy’s Parade is a must – if only because it’s where Kris Kringle takes the place of Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street. If you’re not, relive the moment by strolling past the American Museum of Natural History on West 77th Street, on your way to Central Park, as that’s where it happened.
The Plant Shed, West 96th St
What could be more festive than struggling with a giant Christmas tree? Follow in the footsteps of Harry and Sally and admire the plump firs at The Plant Shed, which has been a family business for more than 60 years. Next door is the handsome Church of the Holy Name of Jesus – it was from there that a bemused santa watched the happy couple make their way east on 96th street in When Harry Met Sally.
Make like Bill Murray in Scrooged and head to the Lincoln Center – home of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and New York Philharmonic Orchestra. This is where he found out his taxi driver was the Ghost of Christmas Past and was decidedly unimpressed: “I get it. You’re here to show me my past and I’m supposed to get all dull-eyed and mushy. Well, forget it pal. You got the wrong guy.”
Naturally, the ghost gave as good as he got: “That’s what Atilla the Hun Said. But when he saw his mother, Niagra Falls.”
Wollman Rink, Central Park
And finally, no Christmas film or holiday would be complete without an ice-skating scene. The Wollman Rink in Central Park is where fate brought Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack together twice in Serendipity.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee you and your sweetheart will have it all to yourselves as they did.