New York cafes in cinema – Part 2

Gray’s Papaya is as much a character in the real and reel lives of New Yorkers.

This is the second part of the series in which we bring you famous cafes where iconic Hollywood films and TV shows were shot in New York City, where every nook and corner reminds one of some movie or TV show. Enjoy the nostalgic trip and don’t blame us if you want to rush to New York to visit these.

Also read: New York cafes in cinema – Part 1

Also read: Best dishes of New York City

GRAY’S PAPAYA

The yellow sign board of Gray’s Papaya is as much a character in the real and reel lives of New Yorkers as is the yellow taxi. Anthony Bourdain’s favourite local NYC chain also happens to be the lunch spot for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail (1998), Carrie’s night binge in Sex and the City, Jennifer Lopez’s first date in The Back-up Plan (2010), and an accidental appearance in Bruce Willis’ Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995). The Recession special, two high-quality sausages with sauer-kraut in warm buns and a drink, is a sweet deal at $4.45. The Papaya drink (from where the place gets its name) is like sweet nectar and tastes ridiculously good. This 24/7 Upper West Side gem has a community vibe like no other.
Address: 2090 Broadway
Phone: (212) 799-0243

PLAZA HOTEL

 

The Plaza Hotel has been featured in many films.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia/Public Domain

If you too wanted to be lost in New York after watching Kevin McCallister and his shenanigans with the sticky bandits in Home Alone 2 (1992), come to the Plaza Hotel. A stone’s throw from Central Park, this Manhattan landmark is grand and historic. From Eloise, the girl who stayed in the “room on the tippy-top floor” of the Plaza Hotel (Eloise at the Plaza, 2003) to Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway talking in a Plaza suite in The Great Gatsby (2013) several characters have spent their afternoons drinking tea at the Palm Court or having cocktails at night at the unforgettable Oak Room.

To get married in the legendary Grand Ballroom is to be a part of history itself. No wonder best friends and to-be brides Emma and Liv indulge in scamming and self-destruction in the 2009 rom-com Bride Wars. Treat yourself to an elegant afternoon with your best friend or your mom (Like Carmela and Meadow Soprano in The Sopranos) over dainty finger sandwiches, perfectly baked scones alongside tea and relive the beautiful past.
Address: Fifth Avenue at Central Park South
Phone: 759-3000

MAGNOLIA BAKERY

Magnolia Bakery offers an array of cupcakes.
Image courtesy: Bharati Kandhari

We have Sex and the City (1998-2004) to thank for the two very important ‘M’s’ of our lives – Manolo Blahnik and Magnolia Bakery. Sitting on the bench outside this quaint bakery, Carrie tells Miranda, (while devouring a cupcake with pink frosting) “Big wasn’t a crush, he was a crash” Ah, those two! While there’s an array of striking cupcakes (including the ‘Carrie’ cupcake) inside the soothing pistachio coloured shop adorning white lace curtains, the serious eat here is the Banana Pudding. A cloud-like creamy, custardy filling layered between vanilla wafers and slices of banana will leave you walking on sunshine. Available in three sizes – small, medium and large (go for the large) this tub is life-changing.
Address: 401 Bleecker Street
Phone: 462-2572

JOE’S PIZZA

Joe's Pizza became famous when it was featured in Spider-Man 2

Hailed as the quintessential New York slice, Joe’s Pizza is everything. Frequented by a many celebrities, from Leonardo DiCaprio to Bill Murray, and delivered by Spiderman himself in Spider-Man 2 (2004), this iconic joint of Greenwich Village has been feeding New Yorkers since 1975. Who is Joe you may ask? Pino “Joe” Pozzuoli, an Italian immigrant, made his mark on the corner of Carmine Street by selling the humble slice. Plain Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella and Sicilian Square (Pepperoni if its you’re lucky day) by the slice are served on white paper plates with a selection of sodas. The slice is the right amount of crisp, cheese and sauce. Walk to Joe’s after a movie at the IFC or a comedy show in the Village, fold that slice (only way to eat NY style pizza) and have your New York moment. It’s the real deal.
Address: 7 Carmine St,
Phone: 366-1182

THE RUSSIAN TEA ROOM

The Russian Tea Room has hosted the New York elite and artists for years.

Of bold colours and kitsch opulence, of samovars and vodkas, The Russian Tea Room has hosted the New York elite and artists for years and years. Adjacent to the landmark concert venue Carnegie Hall, this restaurant was established by the Russian Imperial Ballet in the late 1920s. From Woody Allen in Manhattan, Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City (yes, she’s been around all of New York) to Gossip Girl’s favourite Upper East Siders, all have walked the corridors of this institution. With classic dishes like the Chicken Kiev (herb butter stuffed chicken with a mushroom gravy), Pelmeni (beef and foie gras dumplings with black truffle), Blinchik (braised beef and cabbage in a delicate crepe), or an exotic Caviar Tasting, you can experience a bit of Moscow in Manhattan at The Russian Tea Room.
Address: 150 W 57th Street
Phone: 581-7100

SERENDIPITY 3

Don't skip the Frozen Hot Chocolate here.
Image courtesy: Bharati Kandhari

Kate Beckinsale brings John Cusack here after a chance meet at Bloomingdale’s in the 2001 film Serendipity. Over the Frozen Hot Chocolate (a must have), they discuss the meaning of ‘serendipity’ (fortune accident or happy coincidence) and their belief in fate, destiny and serendipitous encounters. If like me, you’re a believer of big, old school sundaes come to Serendipity 3.

Served with three scoops of ice cream and toppings of your choice, their classic drugstore sundaes are unconquerable. If you’re ever in the mood to drop $1000, order the Golden Opulence Sundae. Listed as the most expensive dessert in the Guinness Book of World Records, it is served in a Baccarat crystal goblet with worldwide sourced ingredients such as edible gold, dessert caviar, exotic fruit and chunks of pure cacao.
Address: 225 E 60th Street
Phone: 838-3531

AUTHOR'S BIO: When she's not working behind-the-scenes on Bollywood films, Writer/Assistant Director Bharati Kandhari is indulging in her unhealthy obsessions of New York, coffee and banana pancakes. Mentally playing her life as a musical montage, she is on a constant lookout to satiate her wanderlust and find her La La Land.

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