Tag Archives: Meg Ryan

Gray’s Papaya

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 I know I have blogged about this location briefly once before in my You’ve Got Filming Locations page, but I think this is one location that is worthy of its very own blog post.  So here goes.  🙂  I have long been a fan of Gray’s Papaya, a small hot dog stand/restaurant chain that was started in 1973 on New York’s Upper West Side.  Today, 36 years later, it is practically a New York institution.  Gray’s serves up the BEST darn hot dogs I have ever eaten in my life.  I honestly don’t know what they put in there that makes ’em taste so darn good, but I sure want them to keep doing it!  Every year, during my December New York vacation, I gain a few pounds in my stomach region thanks to Gray’s and its fabulous hot dogs.  So I was super excited, while watching Sex and the City  reruns this past week, to see Gray’s pop up in a Season 5 episode entitled “Plus One is the Loneliest Number”.

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That episode centers around the launch party for Carrie’s newly published book – a party for which she has no date.  When she leaves the celebration all alone, her limo driver happens to ask her what the party was for.  When Carrie tells her that she has just published a book, the driver says that they have to celebrate the occasion and the two stop off at Gray’s Papaya for a midnight snack.  And, after hearing about Carrie’s new book, the Gray’s worker gives them the hot dogs for free.  This scene was actually based on the real life experience of SATC  write Cindy Chupack.  According to fave book Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell, after winning her first Emmy, dateless Cindy left the post-Emmy party alone and was headed home when the limo driver asked her about her night.  When the driver found out Cindy had just won an Emmy, she immediately headed to a McDonald’s drive-through to commemorate the occasion.  After the driver announced that Cindy had just won the award, the McDonald’s worker gave her a free chocolate shake.  🙂  For the SATC  episode, producers decided to use Gray’s Papaya instead of McDonald’s because SJP has always been a big fan of the hot dog chain.  🙂

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Gray’s was also featured quite notably near the end of You’ve Got Mail, as the location where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks eat lunch just before Meg heads off to meet NY152 for the first time (pictured above). 

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Besides You’ve Got Mail and Sex and the City, Grey’s also showed up in one of my very favorite movies, For Love or Money (pictured above).  It was also featured in Down to Earth, Crossing Delancy, and (very briefly) Die Hard With A Vengeance.

Nicholas A.B. Gray opened up the first Gray’s Papaya in 1973 with the belief that a good hot dog didn’t have to be costly.   Thirty-six years later Gray’s is still serving up excellent dogs at low prices, even if they’ve had to raise those prices a few times over the years.  In October of 2008, due to increased business expenses, Gray’s raised the cost of its ever-popular Recession Special (two hot dogs and a drink) from $3.50 to $4.45.  Still not bad for what is easily the best hot dog in New York.  I highly recommend stalking Gray’s – your pocketbook won’t mind at all.  Your pants’ size might, but not your pocketbook.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: The main Gray’s Papaya – the one that was featured in all of the above productions –  is located at 2090 Broadway Street on New York’s Upper West Side.  There are also two other Gray’s locations in Manhattan.   One is located at 402 6th Avenue and the other can be found at 539 8th Avenue.  All Gray’s restaurants are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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The You’ve Got Mail Brownstone

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A few years ago, while in New York, I dragged my boyfriend out to stalk many of the filming locations from fave romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail.  I had managed to find almost all of the locations except for the most important one – Meg Ryan’s Upper West Side brownstone from the film.  For some reason this location was a tough one for me to find and, unbelievably, I wound up locating it about two days after I returned from last year’s New York vacation.  😦  Talk about bad timing!!!

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Upon my return from New York last December, I popped in my You’ve Got Mail  DVD – which happens to be another known cure for New York homesickness, second only to watching Sex And The City reruns.  🙂  Anyway, in one of the final scenes of the movie, as Kathleen Kelly leaves her house and walks toward the 91st Street Garden to meet NY152 for the first time, she walks past a garbage can with ” W 89″ painted on the lid.  Eureka!!  That little stalking clue led me to search West 89th Street on Google Maps and I quickly found the brownstone used in the film.  On an ironic side note, a guy named Jonathan recently posted a comment on my You’ve Got Mail post alerting me to the garbage can clue.  I guess great minds think alike.  🙂

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So two weeks ago, I was able to finally stalk Kathleen Kelly’s adorable brownstone.  And I am happy to say that it looks almost exactly the same today as it did ten years ago when filming took place.  There are, of course, a few differences, though.  Most notable is the gold intercom that Tom Hanks uses to talk himself into Kathleen’s home in the film.  In real life that intercom does not exist.  Most likely it was just a prop that was added for filming and then removed when production ended.  The brownstone’s front doors are also slightly different from how they appeared onscreen and, again, I believe set decorators brought in new doors for the filming that were subsequently removed.  Aside from that, though, You’ve Got Mail  fans will definitely recognize the brownstone as Kathleen Kelly’s.

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I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally be stalking this location – especially since I had been searching for it for years!  For any You’ve Got Mail  fans this one is a definite must see and I highly recommend stalking it!  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The You’ve Got Mail brownstone is located at 328 West 89th Street on New York’s Upper West Side.

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“I’ll Have What She’s Having!”

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While in New York two weeks ago, I just had to drag my boyfriend to the deli where the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene took place in fave romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally.  I found this location a few years back in my favorite New York stalking book, New York: The Movie Lovers Guide, but had yet to stalk it.   So I was super excited to make the trek during this trip.  And while we didn’t get a chance to actually eat there on this vacation, I, of course, popped my head in and asked the cashier if it would be OK to snap a few pics of Harry and Sally’s table.   He promptly pointed out where filming took place and told me “Sweetie, take all the pictures you want.”  🙂  I so love New Yorkers! 

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The deli, which is named Katz’s, is absolutely HUGE in person, much, much larger than it appeared onscreen.  But other than the difference in size, the deli looks pretty much exactly as it did back in 1989 when the movie was filmed.  And if there is any question as to where the famous WHMS  scene took place, you need look no further than the large sign with the arrow hanging down from the ceiling of the restaurant which reads “Where Harry met Sally . . .  hope you have what she had.  Enjoy.”  🙂   Love it!!!!  While I was stalking the famous deli, Harry and Sally’s table happened to be empty, so I was able to sit down and snap a quick pic.  🙂  A bit of WHMS trivia – it was director Rob Reiner’s mother, Estelle, who passed away this past October at the age of 94, who uttered the now famous line “I’ll have what she’s having”. 

While Katz’s is best known for its appearance in WHMS, the deli has actually shown up in quite a few productions over the years.  It was featured in the movie Donnie Brasco, in the scene where undercover agent Johnny Depp grabs a bite to eat with some of his FBI agent buddies.  It was also featured in Across the Universe, Off Beat, and a Law and Order episode.  Besides being a filming location, the deli is also a big time celebrity mecca and the walls are covered with thousands upon thousands of autographed head shots.  Just a few of the stars who have visited the famous deli are John Voight, Mike Meyers, Elijah Wood, Ben Stiller and his parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Liev Shriber, Keanu Reeves, and Henry Winkler aka “The Fonz”.

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I highly recommend stalking Katz’s as it looks like a very cool place to grab a bite to eat.  Who knows, you might even spot a celeb while dining.  And the place was jam packed while I was there, so you know it’s gotta be good!  🙂 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Katz’s Delicatessen is located at 205 East Houston Street  in New York.  If you’re in the neighborhood be sure to check out the Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s Gift Shop located at 108 Orchard Street.  It’s the BEST New York themed gift shop I’ve ever been to!!!  My boyfriend could hardly drag me out of the place!!  LOL

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“Goose, You Big Stud . . . “

No self-respecting stalker can take a trip to San Diego without visiting Kansas City Barbecue, which is more commonly known as the “Top Gun Bar”.  Kansas City Barbeque was actually featured twice in the 1986 Tom Cruise flick.  It first shows up in the scene where Goose and Maverick serenade Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan with “Great Balls of Fire” and Meg Ryan utters her famous line “Goose, you big stuuuuuud!  Take me to bed now or lose me forever!”  It also appears in the very final scene of the movie, where Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis reunite while “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” plays on the jukebox in the background.  (Yes, that jukebox is still there!)  🙂

Even though Top Gun  was filmed over 20 years ago, fans still flock to the tiny bar on a regular basis.  I’ve even seen huge tour buses pull up out front on occasion.  All of the bartenders there are extremely nice and will tell you all sorts of stories about the filming of the movie.  The place would definitely be considered a dive bar, but it serves up some GREAT food in a super fun atmosphere.  Sitting there, you might wonder how in the heck Kansas City Barbeque wound up in one of the biggest movies of the 80’s.  Apparently, location scouts were out and about searching San Diego for filming locations for Top Gun  and they stopped into Kansas City Barbeque for a cold beer and some lunch.  They ended up loving the place so much, they brought director Tony Scott back there for lunch and he wound up featuring it in the movie.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Goose’s piano and the jukebox can still be found in the Top Gun Bar, although they have been moved from where they stood during filming.  There are tons of photographs and other movie memorabilia located throughout the restaurant – it’s a Top Gun  museum of sorts.   You will for sure recognize it from the movie as soon as you walk in the door and you’ll probably get the urge to sit down at Goose’s piano and play “Great Balls of Fire”.  🙂  Kansas City Barbeque is a super fun place to spend an afternoon or an evening and I highly recommend stalking it!  It has also been voted “Best BBQ in San Diego” for ten years in a row.

Note – my pictures of the Top Gun Bar are extremely old!  I couldn’t find my more recent ones.  But trust me, the bar looks pretty much the same as it did over ten years ago when my pictures were taken.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Kansas City Barbeque is located at 610 West Market Street in Downtown San Diego, just across the street from Seaport Village.  You can visit the bar’s website here.  After hanging out at the Top Gun Bar head across the street to Seaport Village, a cute little outdoor shopping center right on the water.  Edgewater Grill, located in Seaport Village, is an excellent place for dinner!

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You’ve Got Filming Locations!

One of my favorite New York movies is You’ve Got Mail.  On my various trips to NY I have tracked down a few of the filming locations. 

img_0332.jpgYou’ve Got Mail  was filmed entirely on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  The Shop Around the Corner is, in actuality – yes, you are reading this correctly – a cheese and antique shop.  Very odd, I know.  It is called Maya Schaper Cheese and Antiques.  Only the exterior of Maya’s was used for filming and unfortunately it looks very different in person.  The producers brought in a faux exterior that made the shop look much more charming than it does in real life.  And let’s just say the owner of the shop was not as “enchanting” as Kathleen Kelly, either.  She wasn’t very nice or talkative when I went in to ask about the filming.  Not everyone loves a stalker, I guess.  This location I found in the book New York: The Movie Lover’s Guide by Richard Alleman.

img_0335.jpg The Shop Around the Corner was actually based on a real life children’s bookstore in NYC called “Books of Wonder.”  This is a really cute bookshop for kids and I would recommend visiting.  I got this little bit of trivia and location off of the trivia link on IMDB’s You’ve Got Mail  page.

One of the great benefits to stalking is that you often happen upon really great restaurants or places to visit.  One of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat in New York I actually discovered while stalking You’ve Got Mail.  Grey’s Papaya, located on West 71st and Broadway, serves up the BEST hot-dogs you will ever eat!  Its other claim to fame is that it was the location where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks ate lunch in front of a window towards the end of the movie. 

img_0740.jpgThe Starbucks from YGM, where Joe makes a witty observation about decision making,  is located on the corner of 83rd Street and Broadway.  Grab a coffee to go – all this stalking will make you tired!  This location, as well as the next two, I found on the official website for You’ve Got Mail, which has a map of several filming sites from the movie.

img_0738.jpgCafe Lalo, where Joe Fox first realizes that Shopgirl is actually Kathleen Kelly, is a very, very quaint little cafe on the Westside.  I have NO idea how the heck they could possibly film anything inside of it, as the place is truly minuscule.  It is really cute, though, and serves up some great espresso.

img_0743.jpgAnother Westside location for YGM  is Zabar’s grocery store, a fabulous gourmet store on the Westside that is unlike any other grocery store I have ever seen.  It has possibly everything you could ever want – including an espresso bar, cooking utensils, and every cheese imaginable!  Zabar’s was used for the scene where Meg Ryan steps into the “Cash Only” line without any cash to pay for her groceries.

img_1661.jpgLast, but not least, is the 91st Street Garden, where Kathleen and Joe finally get together at the very end of the movie.  This location was easy to find, as the characters kiss right in front of a sign that says “91st Street Garden.”  From that point, I just  googled “91st Street Garden” and it turns out it was right where I thought it would be – on the Westside near 91st street.  The garden is a bit hard to find, as it is off the beaten path in Riverside Park.  It is also extremely small in person, so it was not what I was expecting.  In December, there isn’t much to see, but I am sure it is absolutely beautiful in the spring and summer months!

The one YGM location that has always escaped me is Meg Ryan’s brownstone.  Oh well, there’s always next year’s trip to NYC to stalk it.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!

Stalk It:  Spend a day on the Westside!  Maya Shaper Cheese and Antiques is located at 106 W. 69th Street.  Watch out for the owner – she may bite!  Books of Wonder is located at 18 W. 18th Street.  Grey’s Papaya can be found at 2090 Broadway between West 71st and West 72nd streets.  Get the Recession Special – two dogs and a drink for $3.50 – and eat in the window just like Meg and Tom!  Starbucks is located at the corner of Broadway and 86th Street – don’t get it confused with the 50 other Starbucks on the Westside.  Cafe Lalo is located on 83rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam.  Zabar’s is at 2245 Broadway at 81st Street – bring your grocery list!  Finally, the 91st Street Garden is located in Riverside Park in between 90th and 91st Streets – but be careful, blink and you might miss it! 

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