Two warnings/heads ups:
1) this is only for “die hard” YGM fans as there are some “deep cuts” -in other words jokes that only people very familar with the movie would understand- in this blog post
2) I want to apologize that this isn’t as thorough as it should be. I wanted to flesh it out more but I got lazy. Also, I’ve been putting this off for so long that a lot of this information is no longer relevant in terms of the dates it’s referencing.
You’ve Got Mail is legitimately one of my favorite movies. While crashing at Steve’s apartment, we somehow got on the topic of YGM and the next time I was home, I brought it down to watch with him. Well, this past Wednesday I finally got around to watching it. I have a weird thing with movies I really love where I can’t watch them too often or else I ruin them. Luckily I had waited the perfect amount of time so that it felt new again.
I don’t know why it took me so long to go on this excursion. Perhaps I was waiting for the movie to be fresh in my mind but I’m glad I did. One of the key ingredients that makes YGM so great is the soundtrack. Every place I went on the excursion brought up the musical cue for what plays at that location in the movie.
One thing that surprised me was how close every location was in relation to one another. I feel like the characters are so lazy, they never seem to have to go more than a few blocks to get to where they need to go. Regardless, this didn’t ruin the magic, it just surprised me.
I took the B train to 72 street and then walked a few blocks south to begin my journey.
The Shop Around The Corner (106 W69th Street)
Starting at the most southernly point of the map we come to La Mode, the business used to film the fake store front of The Shop Around the Corner.
Gray’s Papya (2090 Broadway)
Next on the list is Gray’s Papya. This is where Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) meet towards the end of the movie and get hot dogs before they split off, in order to meet again at the 91st Street Garden.
Verdi Square – “I keep bumpin’ into you.”
[Verdi Square; I didn’t get my own photo for this location… sorry]
Just across the street I found myself at Verdi Square. This is where Joe and Kathleen stop on a bench; him eating pretzels and her eating a fruit.
79th Street Boat Basin – “Hello New Jersey!”
[79th Street Boat Basin; I didn’t get my own photo for this location… sorry]
Working my way north, I headed west towards the Hudson River and the 79th Street boat basin. This is where the Fox II (Nelson Fox’s boat) and Fox III (Joe Fox’s boat) are docked. I had unknowingly biked past this a few weeks ago while on an epic ride. Additionally, this is the place where Joe meets with his father after they’ve both been dumped and this song plays.
Ocean Grill (384 Columbus Ave)
[Ocean Grill; I couldn’t get my own pic because there was scaffolding in the way]
After a short detour through Riverside Park I made my way east to Columbus Ave and the Ocean Grill. This is the restaurant where Kathleen and Joe get lunch as they begin to become friends.
Zabar’s (2245 Broadway)
Next I headed back to Broadway and north one block to Zabar’s. This is the grocery store where Joe sweet talks the cashier into allowing Kathleen to use her credit card to pay for her groceries despite being in the “cash only” line.
Cafe Lalo (201 W83rd Street)
A few blocks up I found myself at Cafe Lalo. This is where Kathleen waits for her pen pal (email pal?) NY152 to show up but instead is confronted by Joe Fox who, unbeknownst to her is NY152. This is when Joe finds out that Kathleen is Shopgirl, the woman he’s been talking to on the internet.
328 W89th Street
Further north we find ourselves at W89th street. Simply put, this is none other than Kathleen Kelly’s apartment. Just FYI, between this location and the next I popped off at another spot from the film. However, I felt it was best to save that location for the end of the blog post.
210 Riverside Drive – Joe Fox’s apartment
[152 Riverside Drive]
A bit further up brought me to 210 Riverside Drive. This is one of the locations where the film opens up. You might be wondering why I went here and not to 152, his “actual” address. The reason being that apparently they shoot the exteiror for 152 at 210 for some reason. 152 doesn’t even have an awning in real life.
The weird thing about where he lives is just how close he lives to Kathleen. They are literally only a couple of blocks away from each other. They make this apparent in the opening of the film when they’re both walking to work and you can see the other walking several paces behind. I guess strangers don’t really talk in NY but it seems weird that they would live so close and never run into one another.
I was fortunate that the DVD had some really in depth special features. One of which pointed out all of these UWS locations, taking a lot of the leg work out of my scavenger job. However, it doesn’t explicitly point out every location.
Fox Books (W17th Street and 7th Ave) – on the DVD extra Nora Ephron (the film’s writer/director) explains that Barney’s was closing down and so they were able to use the space to build the Fox Books set.
H&H Bagels – this is where Joe Fox has his little speech about the flour cloud that gets poured into basement. Unfortunately the location featured in the movie has since closed down. However, that didn’t stop me from going to H&H Midtown Bagels for breakfast.
The thing that sucks about the old H&H location is that, similarly to Kathleen’s speech about what will become of her store once it’s closed down -“soon it will become something very depressing, like a Baby Gap”- H&H is now a Verizon store.
94th Street between Columbus and Central Park West – this is where Joe takes Annabell and Matt to the little fall fair. Fun fact, when I went to check out the area, I ran into a spring festival/street fair one block over! What are the odds?
Riverside Drive and W111 – this is where Kathleen talks with Christina before entering Birdie’s apartment(?). I forget if that is exactly what is happening when they are talking but this is definitely where it takes place.
W78th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam – this is where Kathleen and Joe part ways before meeting at the end of the movie.
91st Street Garden – This is where Kathleen finally meets NY152 and realizes that it was Joe all along.
Now that I know where it is, I’ve passed it several times on my bike. I had been to Riverside park a bunch before but it wasn’t until I brought down the DVD and opened it up that I realized where spectfically they were standing (it’s highlighted on the inside cover). If you didn’t know, Riverside Park is huge.
Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you to the late Nora Ephron for this fabulous movie.