Tag Archives: famous buildings

The Beekman Tower Hotel

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While there are several restaurants in New York that I LOVE, there is one in particular that stands out far above the rest.  That restaurant is named the Top of the Tower and it is located on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower Hotel.  Although the Top of the Tower has been one of my favorite places in all of New York for several years now, I had yet to blog about it because up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize it was a filming location – in one of my dad’s favorite movies no less!  Two weeks ago, while looking at the Top of the Tower website, I noticed a small section mentioning that it had been used in film and video shoots.  So I asked Mike, from MovieShotsLA, to call up the hotel to ask what exactly it had been featured in.  For some reason making phone calls like that absolutely terrifies me. I love speaking with people face to face, but phone calls – ugh.  Mike, on the other hand, dreads the face to face, but likes making phone calls.  LOL  What can I say – we make the perfect team.  🙂  So anyway, Mike called up the Beekman Tower for me and found out that among other things, the exterior of the hotel was featured in the Matt Damon flick The Bourne Supremacy.  And voila, a blog post was born.  🙂

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The landmark art deco style Beekman Tower Hotel was built in 1928 by John Mead Howells.  The building’s many ornamental Gothic details were designed by sculptor Rene Chambellan.  The building, which was previously named the Panhellenic Tower, was originally built as an affordable apartment complex for recent female college graduates belonging to the Greek, or Panhellenic, system – hence the name.  According to the book One Thousand New York Buildings, the Panhellenic instantly became a landmark building as it was “a perfect example of vertical force”.  The twenty-six story building housed 400 separate living spaces, a roof solarium with 360 degree sweeping views of Manhattan (that space is now the Top of the Tower restaurant), and a cocktail lounge.  Not bad for affordable housing, huh?  🙂  The Greek Alphabet, which was carved just to the left of the building’s entrance, is still visible to this day.  In 1964 the Panhellenic was sold to a private company who turned it into a regular apartment building.  In the early 90s the building was sold once again and was completely renovated and remodeled and turned into the upscale, all suite Beekman Tower Hotel.  You can view some great photographs of the Panhellenic Building here.

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The Beekman Tower has had several brushes with celebrity.  Katharine Hepburn’s sister was a resident of the Panhellenic Tower in its early years and Ms. Hepburn visited the building frequently.   The photo shoot for Jennifer Hudson’s March 2007 cover story for  Essence Magazine took place at the Top of the Tower.  You can see behind the scenes pics of that photo shoot here.  In November of 2008, a party to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” album was also held at the Top of the Tower.   And as I mentioned earlier, the exterior of the Beekman was used in the filming of The Bourne Supremacy.

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I really can’t recommend stalking the Top of the Tower enough!  The food is amazing – the mashed potatoes and mushroom risotto are some of the best I’ve ever had! – the art deco ambiance is beautiful, and the service is perfection.  But more than anything else, it is the breathtaking views that set this restaurant apart.  The Top of the Tower has some of the most amazing views I have ever experienced in my life – especially at night when the city lights make New York extraodinarily spectacular and romantic.  If you only have one night to spend in Manhattan, the Top of the Tower is the place you should spend it.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It:The Beekman Tower Hotel is located at 3 Mitchell Place, at the corner of 1st Avenue and 49th Street, in New York City.  You can visit their website here.

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The Father of the Bride Apartment

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I must bow down yet again to Mike over at MovieShotsLA for finding a filming location that has eluded me for years!  Ever since seeing Father of the Bride Part II  way back in 1995 – has it honestly been that long??? – I have been obsessed with Kimberly Williams’ Spanish style apartment building from the movie (pictured above).   I can still remember sitting in the theatre thinking that one day I wanted to live in an apartment building just like hers!  So the other day when Mike called me and asked if there were any locations I was currently stumped on, I remembered my obsession with the Father of the Bride  apartment and enlisted his help in locating it.  Sure enough, not even an hour later I got an email from him with a link to the address!  I am telling you, the guy is unbelievable!    So, bright and early the following morning I ran right out to finally stalk Annie’s apartment building.  🙂

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The small building, named La Casa Torre, is located in Pasadena and actually consists of eight condominium units situated around a picturesque central courtyard area, complete with a fountain.  The complex was built in 1927 by renowned Pasadena area architect Everett Phillips Babcock, who is famous for designing numerous Spanish style residences in the San Gabriel Valley.  Babcock started off his career working for prominent Los Angeles architect Wallace Neff, who just happens to have designed the famous French Normandy style home Brad and Jen lived during their married years.  In his design of La Casa Torre, Babcock implemented numerous Italian, Spanish, and Moorish details and each apartment boasted a real wood burning fireplace, mahogany floors, and travertine walls.  Adding to the building’s charm is the fact that no two units are alike.  La Casa Torre was featured in the 1996 book Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles  and is currently under evaluation by the City of Pasadena to receive historic landmark status. 

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Although it has been over fourteen years since Father of the Bride Part II  was filmed at this location, the building looks very much the same today as it did in the movie.  The foliage is somewhat overgrown now and the courtyard is not quite as picturesque as it appeared onscreen, but for all intents and purposes La Casa Torre hasn’t changed much since filming took place.  And I can’t tell you how excited I was to be seeing it in person!

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Ironically, it turns out that I used to work just down the street from Annie’s building and must have driven past it about a hundred times, but never recognized it.  In reality, the central courtyard is located behind and off to the side of the main building and therefore the complex doesn’t look like your typical couryard apartment building.  So I never stopped to check it out.  LOL  La Casa Torre is located just down the street from the house that was used as Steve Martin and Diane Keaton’s home in both Father of the Bride  movies.   Looks like when Annie moved out of her parents’ house she didn’t go very far.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Annie’s apartment building from Father of the Bride Part II  is located at 611-627 California Boulevard in Pasadena.  Annie lived in Unit 619.  Remember the building and courtyard are private property  – while it is OK to look, it is not OK to trespass.  🙂

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Law and Order

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One New York filming location that will look familiar to anyone who passes it – unless they’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years – is the New York County Courthouse.  This massive building, with it’s hundred foot wide grand staircase and towering granite colonnade, has been featured in thousands of productions over the years.  But it should be most recognizable to fans of the crime show genre as the courthouse from all of the Law and Order series.  It is at this courthouse that McCoy and Briscoe, Benson and Stabler, and Eames and Goren see all of their cases tried.  Besides being featured weekly on the three Law and Order series, the courthouse has also been featured in Miracle on 34th Street, Twelve Angry Men, Legal Eagles, Regarding Henry, Nuts, Wall Street, Good Fellas, The Devil’s Advocate, Married to the Mob, City Hall, The Hurricane, Kojak, Cagney and Lacey, Naked City, NYPD Blue, The Equalizer, The Godfather, and Aftershock: Earthquake in New York.

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The New York County Courthouse was built back in 1919 by Boston architect Guy Lowell, who also built the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Guy actually won the commision of the building in a 1913 design contest.  His original winning design for the courthouse featured a circular shape, but plans changed and he ended up building the courthouse in a six-sided, hexagonal form (bird’s eye view pictured above).  Looking at the building from the front, one would never know it was built in this way.  Very cool!  The building, which was made a New York City Landmark in 1966, is absolutely beautiful – and overwhelming – in person.  I am telling you, we don’t have anything like this in L.A.! 

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In the Sixth Season of Sex and the City Carrie reported for jury duty at the United States Courthouse, which is located right next door to the Law and Order Courthouse.  In the episode, entitled “Hop, Skip and A Week”, Carrie and her boyfriend Berger share a “Hollywood kiss” on the courthouse steps just before she checks in to perform her civic duty.  At first I thought Carrie and Berger had their kiss on the steps of the Law and Order Courthouse, but upon closer inspection I realized it was a different Corinithian-style building altogether.  The two courthouse buildings look amazingly similar, and are both very beautiful, especially because they are situated right next to each other.  They create quite an imposing view as you come upon them.  The U.S. Courthouse was built in 1933, a bit later than the New York County Courthouse.  It was designed by Cass Gilbert, who also designed New York’s Woolworth Building. Even though I am pretty sure New York jury duty is nowhere near as fun as jury duty in L.A., I think it would be very cool to perform my civic duty in such a historic building.

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: The New York County Courthouse is located at 60 Centre Street in Lower Manhattan.  Carrie reported for Jury Duty at the US Courthouse located right next door at 40 Centre Street.

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Park Avenue Princess

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Today I thought I’d write yet another post about yet another Sex and the City: The Movie  filming location – Charlotte York’s Upper East Side apartment.  🙂  From the beginning Charlotte York was Sex and the City’s  reigning Park Avenue Princess – a role I’d like to see myself in someday 🙂 – and, in real life, her apartment really was located on New York’s prestigious Park Avenue.  Well, the exterior of it anyway.  All of the interiors of Charlotte’s apartment existed only on a soundstage at New York City’s Silvercup Studios.  I found the location of Charlotte’s pad, once again, thanks to my go-to SATC  locations guide.   

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This apartment originally belonged to Charlotte’s first husband, Trey.  The two moved into it after they got married in the third season of Sex and the City.  After their divorce in Season Four, a fight for the apartment ensued and Charlotte ended up winning it thanks to her divorce lawyer – and future husband –  Harry Goldenblatt.  Charlotte’s building was built in 1916 by New York City architecture firm Schwartz & Gross.  The 13-story building is situated in the elusive Carnegie Hill area of New York and houses only 24 apartments. 

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The scene from Sex And The City: The Movie  that took place at this location was quite memorable as it was the first time in the film that we saw Carrie in her wedding attire – complete with a blue bird on her head.  LOL   On the morning of her would-be nuptials, Carrie and the girls head out of this building and into a waiting limousine.  Carrie’s huge Cinderella dress has to be carefully pushed into the limo, causing her wedding planner Anthony to lament, “It’s like pushing a cream puff through a key hole.”  LOL

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Charlotte and Harry’s apartment is located at 930 Park Avenue on New York’s stylish Upper East Side.

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The Ransom Apartment

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This past December while in New York I dragged my boyfriend out to stalk Mel Gibson and Rene Russo’s Upper East Side apartment building from the 1996 movie Ransom.  I found this location in fave stalking book New York: The Movie Lover’s Guide.  The apartment building is very beautiful in person, with ornate stone balconies, large windows overlooking Central Park, and a green slate roof.  The building  just screams “wealthy”, so it is easy to see why producers chose to use it as the residence of Mel’s mega-millionaire character in the movie.  I actually haven’t seen Ransom  in quite a few years and I can’t remember exactly what his building looked like in the film, so I can’t say if it looks the same now as it did twelve years ago when filming took place. 

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But one thing I do remember from the movie is Mel’s huge stone balcony overlooking Central Park.  The balcony was featured several times in Ransom, most memorably as the place Rene Russo runs to after Mel screams at the kidnappers “Give me back my son!”  That balcony really exists on the top floor of the Ransom building and I can only imagine the views it must have!  The balcony seems much smaller in person than I remember it being in the movie, but that is most likely because it is located so high up.

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The Ransom building was built in 1917 by C.P.H. Gilbert, an extremely popular New York architect during the early 1900’s.  The boutique apartment building, designed in the Francois I style, was only the second upscale apartment building to ever be constructed on Fifth Avenue .  The building, although huge, consists of only 12 different apartments, one on each of the building’s twelve floors.  One is currently for sale at the bargain price of $12,950,000.  🙂  You can sneak a peek inside of the building at the apartment’s real estate website.  I’ve never considered myself at all voyeuristic, but I seriously can’t get enough of stuff like this.  Open houses, real estate websites, vacation rental sites, etc.  LOVE THEM! 🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Ransom apartment is located at 1067 Fifth Avenue on New York’s Upper East Side.  It is situated almost directly next door to the Frank Lloyd Wright architectural masterpiece the Guggenheim Museum, which is located at 1071 Fifth Avenue.

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“Welcome Home, Baby”

Got home from New York on Tuesday afternoon and was already so homesick for my favorite city in the world that I had to immediately sit down and watch the Sex and the City  movie in its two and a half hour entirety to make myself feel better.   So today I thought I’d blog about one of the SATC  locations I visited while in the Big Apple.

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While in New York I just had to make a pilgrimage to the Fifth Avenue building where Carrie and Big purchase their dream apartment in the SATC  movie.    The building shows up at the very beginning of the movie, in the scene when Carrie and Big go apartment hunting and discover “real estate heaven” in the building’s stunning penthouse apartment.  While Carrie walks around the space, musing about what it would be like to live in such an incredible apartment, Big says “Welcome home, baby.”   Oh how I wish I was being welcomed home at New York apartment, too!  🙂

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The apartment building looks exactly the same as it did in the movie and while I was standing there I could almost picture Carrie running across the street to meet Big under the front awning.  🙂  I found the location of this building in the Sex and the City: The Movie  book, which features an entire chapter devoted to locations featured in the movie.  LOVE IT!  🙂  According to the book only the exterior of the Fifth Avenue building was used in the filming of Sex and the City.  The interiors were shot at a Spanish Style four story walk-up located on 62nd street.  You can actually tell in the above screenshots that the front doors of the interior shots do not match up with the real apartment’s front doors.  (The Fifth avenue building has a single exterior door, while the building used for the interior shots has a double door.  The iron work on both sets of doors does not match up, either.  LOL!)  Looks like I am going to have to stalk the building used for the interiors the next time I am in New York.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

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Stalk It: Carrie and Big’s dream apartment is located at 1010 Fifth Avenue, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street.

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The Dakota

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Today is the 28th anniversay of John Lennon’s death, so I thought I would devote today’s blog to him.  I have never really been much into music (my idea of a music icon is Britney Spears, if that tells you anything!) so I was never a fan of John Lennon or the Beatles.  My mom, however, loved The Beatles (especially Ringo Starr) and during her teenage years even climbed up the side of a Japanese hotel where the Beatles were staying to try to catch a glimpse of him.  She also snuck backstage during a Beach Boys concert, ran up to Dennis Wilson, kissed him on the lips, then ran back out, but that’s a whole other story.  Now at least you know where I get it from.  🙂  Anyway, since my family always takes a New York vacation during the first week of December, I often find myself in Manhattan on the anniversary of John’s murder.  Last December 8th my boyfriend and I decided to stop by both John’s former apartment building and his memorial to see if anything was going on.  And boy was there!

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Johns’ memorial, which is called Strawberry Fields, is a 2.5 acre tear-dropped shaped section of Central Park that was commissioned by Yoko Ono and designed by landscape architect Bruce Kelly.  The memorial, which is considered an international peace garden, was opened to the public on October 9, 1985 (John’s birthday).  The garden consists of 161 different varieties of flowers and plants, one representing each country of the world.  Each year, on the anniversary of his death, countless fans make a pilgrimage to the memorial to honor his memory.  Last year there were so many people there I couldn’t even get a picture of the famous “Imagine” plaque which was donated to the memorial by the Italian city of Naples.  It’s amazing to me that 28 years after his death John can still draw such a huge crowd.  On the anniversary of his death, most mourners pretty much camp out at the memorial for the entire day, singing Beatles songs, sharing John Lennon stories, and grieving the death of the legendary musician.  It is really a site to behold.  Last year, amid news crews conducting interviews, musicians singing tributes, and tourists taking photographs, I just had to snap a photo of the “Designated Quiet Zone” sign which sits at the entrance to the memorial.  LOL

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After visiting Strawberry Fields, I dragged my boyfriend across the street to John Lennon’s former residence, the Dakota apartment building.  It was at the entrance to this building that John was killed 28 years ago today.  On December 8, 1980, after finishing a session at a recording studio, John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were driven by limo to their Upper West Side apartment just a few minutes before 11pm.  As they made their way to the entrance of the building, deranged fan Mark David Chapman shot Lennon four times in the back.  John collapsed in the entryway of the Dakota and was pronounced dead a short time later while on an operating table at Roosevelt Hospital.

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The beautiful and unique Dakota apartment building has long been a celebrity haven.  John and Yoko weren’t the only stars to call it home.  Lauren Bacall, Judy Holliday, Jack Palance, John Madden, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, Gilda Radner, Paul Simon, Connie Chung and Boris Karloff have all lived at the building at one time or another.  The Dakota is also a popular filming location!  It was featured in Vanilla Sky (as Tom Cruise’s apartment), Rosemary’s Baby (as Mia Farrow’s pad), and House of Strangers.

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Construction was completed on the famous Dakota Apartment building in the year 1884.   It was built by architect Harry J. Hardenbergh, who also designed the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Carnegie Hall and, my favorite building in all of New York, the famed Plaza Hotel.  The Dakota is very similar in looks to the Plaza, actually, with the same peaked slate and copper roofs, corner turrets, and French chateau accents.  The Dakota is absolutely stunning in person and I highly recommend stalking it – even if you aren’t a Lennon fan!

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Dakota is located at 1 West 72nd Street on the Upper West Side of New York.  Strawberry Fields memorial is located just across the street from the Dakota in Central Park.  The entrance to the 2.5 acre memorial begins at Central Park West and 72nd Street.

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