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Video Shoot Locations NYC: 6 Famous Places
The abundance of eclectic, vivid, evocative, and historic video shooting sites in New York City is unparalleled, as these six famous film and TV locations exemplify.
1. The Plaza Hotel
This iconic site in one of New York City’s richest residential neighborhoods started as the vision of several wealthy financiers who spent $12 million to turn a 15-year-old building of 19th-century design into a then-modern hotel with 19 stories. In 2008, the building underwent a $450 million restoration and renovation to ensure it could retain its legendary status among hotels near and far.
For more than a century, the Plaza Hotel has hosted presidents, kings, and stars of Hollywood and Broadway and even The Beatles, as well as the most lavish, high-society affairs. If you’re looking for video shoot locations NYC offers for setting scenes in the lap of luxury, few sites can satisfy like The Plaza.
Many popular films were shot within its walls, including North by Northwest, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, American Hustle, Sleepless in Seattle, and scores more. The Plaza has also made an appearance in many hit TV shows, including Friends and The Sopranos.
Particular locations within The Plaza of note:
- The Palm Court courtyard – Where the timeless tradition of Afternoon Tea at The Plaza occurs
- Grand Army Plaza – The Civil War memorial opposite its main entrance
- The Oak Room – Formerly a “men only” bar
2. The Flatiron Building
Built in 1902 to fit in a triangular property wedged into the corner of Broadway and 5th Avenue, the distinctive Flatiron Building gives videographers a uniquely dramatic backdrop for setting a variety of shots and scenes. At 307 feet tall, stretching 22 stories and only 6.5 feet wide at its narrowest point, the imposing skyscraper can establish a setting as distinctly New York as easily as it can create a sense of disorientation or an alternate reality.
Shooting video at the Flatiron Building also gives you the opportunity to shoot in the picturesque Flatiron District surrounding it, including Madison Square Park and Met Life Tower.
The design of the building features limestone over a steel frame with a facade of terra-cotta. Lining the hallways to the Executive Managing Director’s office is a collection of rare, historic artifacts from the building’s past. You can also shoot in front of the original coal boilers remaining in the building’s basement, in the stairwell of all cast-iron steps, or in the little-known balcony office.
Among the Flatiron’s appearances in film include The Usual Suspects and the first three Spiderman movies. The Flatiron Building was even destroyed in the 1998 movie Godzilla.
3. Merchant’s House Museum
The sole remaining 19th-century home preserved in New York City today, the Merchant’s House Museum affords visitors and video audiences alike a peek into family life within the wealthy class of the time, down to chamber pots and bedsheets. The walls bear elaborate decorative plasterwork, and there’s even a lavish garden and restored servant’s quarters out back.
Considered one of NYC’s notorious haunted sites as well, the Merchant House is rife with stories of ghosts and paranormal experiences, most notably the apparition of Gertrude Tredwell, the youngest daughter of the home’s original residents for over a century, who died within its walls at 93 years of age.
Among the many films shot here was the Academy Award-winning The Heiress.
4. The New York Public Library
Home to more than 16 million books, the country’s biggest public library is also considered one of the world’s most renowned libraries due to its rare collections and incredible architecture. The NYPL is also renowned for its marble lions guarding its entrance, the hiding place of the Cowardly Lion in the film, The Wiz.
For scenes meant to evoke timeless, almost otherworldly, majesty, or man’s infinite, eternal quest for immortality and omnipotence, or the solution to the latest unsolved mystery, the NYPL offers a setting like no other. This was also the intended site of Sex and the City protagonist Carrie Bradshaw’s fated wedding. In all, over 50 movies and TV shows present some part of New York Public Library’s vast interiors and exteriors.
5. FDNY Ladder 8
Best known among film audiences as the firehouse headquarters of the Ghostbusters in both installments of the film series, FDNY Hook and Ladder 8 firehouse may be best known around NYC, the country, and the world as the HQ of those firefighters who were among the first responders and heroes of September 11, 2001.
The building itself is built in a Beaux-Arts style featuring an arched red doorway big enough for fire trucks to enter and exit and rows of tall windows along every story.
FDNY Ladder 8 also appeared in the film Hitch and an episode of the hit TV show Seinfeld.
6. The Dakota Building
The Gothic style of The Dakota Building isn’t the only thing that makes it one of the most popular video shoot locations NYC offers for filming spooky and scary moments. It’s also the location outside which John Lennon was assassinated. Lennon’s famous widow, Yoko Ono still resides there and claims she’s seen her deceased husband’s ghost playing at his beloved white piano. What’s more, while still alive, the former Beatle claimed he had witnessed a ghost as well, this of a woman crying. Aptly, then, The Dakota is also where the classic horror pic Rosemary’s Baby was shot.
A number of other world-renowned celebrities who didn’t have tragic deaths or spooky experiences there also called the Dakota home, including Tchaikovsky, Steinway of the famous pianos, and Lauren Bacall.
Notable features of the Dakota Building for videographers include original fireplace mantels and doors in most rooms, sterling-silver floors in one apartment that belonged to the former owner, and a distinctive absence of fire escapes.
Video Shoot Locations NYC: A Recap
NYC is home to some of the most popular, historically rich, and uniquely designed video locations in the United States and in the world. It’s a location where camera crews are provided with endless options for shooting any type of video project. From music videos to classic movies, to business videos, as a videographer, you can find the perfect setting and backdrop in New York City where there are plenty of both indoor and outdoor locations to film.
Need a camera crew for a video project in New York City? Let us help. Contact us for tips on shooting video in New York City, and info on how we can put together a professional and experienced camera crew to make your video shoot a success.