A Lesson in Cheap Entertainment

I’m pretty sure everyone I know assumes I’m poor because I live in New York City. And while I can’t exactly swim in a pool of my own money, I’m not living on the street either. So I guess I’m doing okay. But there are some weekends I want to get out of the house and do something without spending any money.

Which is where this lovely adventure begins.

A while back, my old roommate and I talked about hunting down the house used for the exterior shots in White Collar, since the show is filmed here in NY. (And because I have an unhealthy obsession with Matt Bomer. Who I literally ran into once. It was awesome.) Then we added a few other places to the list and pretty soon we had an entire TV tour of Manhattan planned. And if we did it right, it wouldn’t cost us a cent. Now, some people are crazy and spend $50-100 on a bus tour that does exactly what we did for free. Stephanie and I are saving you the trouble! Not only is your day almost or entirely free, but you get a workout too. It’s a win-win.

And so, without further ado, I present to you…

Sammy & Stephanie’s TV Tour of Manhattan: Part 1

(because there will be a part 2)

1. The Seinfeld diner (Tom’s Diner) // 112th and Broadway

  • I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get Seinfeld. I don’t watch it, and I’ll probably leave the room if it’s on the TV. But we needed to start somewhere, and breakfast seemed like a great idea. (It’s also the only place we spent money at, and the total was somewhere around $15.) Naturally, we headed to Tom’s. It got pretty busy about ten minutes after we sat down, but the turnaround time for tables was fast, the food was pretty good, and also pretty cheap. And I promise you won’t be the only person standing outside taking pictures if you ever decide to drop by.

    

2. June’s house from White Collar // 351 Riverside Drive. (Riverside and 107th)

  • From Tom’s we walked south on Riverside Drive to find the home used for all of the exterior shots of June’s mansion. It’s actually the Schinasi Mansion, which was built during the American Renaissance and designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill (of Carnegie Hall fame). I wouldn’t mind living there someday, that’s for sure. But the killer view Neil has from his apartment? Definitely not getting it there.

    

    

3. Will & Grace’s apartment // 155 Riverside Drive (Riverside and 88th)

  • We kept heading south on Riverside to get to the building used for the exterior shots of the Will & Grace apartment. No idea what it is now, but I heard someone singing opera. And not very well, if I remember correctly.

    

4. Cosby House // 10 St. Luke’s Place, aka 10 Leroy Street

  • After completing our Upper West Side portion of the tour, we hopped on the 1 train at 86th and headed down to Christopher Street. The Cosbys technically lived in Brooklyn, but the exterior of their apartment is actually a brownstone in the West Village. Which, right now, is covered in ugly ass scaffolding.

5. Friends’ apartment // Corner of Bedford and Grove

  • Just a few blocks north of the Cosby house is the Friends apartment. There was a pretty big tour outside, and not much to see, so we didn’t stay long. But my obsession with owls has me planning a return visit so I can go to the cafe you see in the picture.

6. Carrie’s apartment from Sex and the City // 66 Perry Street

  • Another few blocks north is Carrie’s apartment. I never watched SATC — I think I’ve seen three episodes in total — but we figured we might as well go since it was so close. The home is private property, so sitting on the steps is discouraged, and there was a sign out front telling people to be quiet, but there were still plenty of tourists taking pictures.

7. Holly Golightly’s apartment from Breakfast at Tiffany’s // 169 East 71st Street (between Lex and 3rd)

  • From Carrie’s apartment we headed back to one of the stations in the West Village, then up to 42nd Street to catch the shuttle to Grand Central. A few stops on the 6 (get off at 68th Street – Hunter College), and a few blocks walk, and we were at Holly Golightly’s apartment. Now, anyone who knows me in person knows I’m obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s one of my favorite movies. So this location pretty much made my day. If only a young George Peppard had come wandering down the street…

    

8. The Jeffersons’ apartment // 185 East 85th Street (between Lex and 3rd)

  • A special request from my partner in crime, our last stop was 14 blocks due north. Of course we sang the theme song while standing outside and taking pictures in the street. And yes, people did give us weird looks.

And there you have it! A great way to kill a few hours on a Saturday afternoon without spending money if you don’t want to. (Although we suggest bringing a water bottle. And maybe stopping at Pinkberry because… why not?) (Oh, and wear comfortable shoes. That one goes without saying.)

I have ridiculously detailed instructions for getting around if anyone wants them for future reference. Just shoot me an email and I’ll send them right over.

Also, you can expect a Part 2 sometime in the next few months. Because we’re crazy like that.

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