The West Village is world-famous as a vibrant, fashionable neighborhood, sitting between legendary Washington Square Park and spilling over into the ultra-chic Meat Packing and Greenwich Village districts. So it’s no surprise that many popular films and TV shows have used the West Village as an ideal setting for capturing New York City glamour. Here are some of our favorite West Village movie and TV locations:
Beloved West Village characters
Perhaps the most notable TV show to take place in the West Village is Friends — as it’s set almost entirely in this neighborhood. And although you won’t find Central Perk, it is easy to spot the famous building where Monica, Rachel, Joey and Chandler all lived. Number 90 Bedford Street is in many ways an unremarkable, beige six-storey building built at the end of the 19th century. But that doesn’t stop the hordes of tourists who come to visit this familiar exterior each year.
The next television character of the West Village may come as a surprise to fans who loved Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City. That’s because the character is supposed to live on the Upper West Side. But the exterior shots of her home were actually filmed at 66 Perry Street, in the heart of the West Village. It’s no wonder the show’s producers chose this spot for Carrie: its rich oak doors and large entryway staircase signal it as a chic domestic oasis for New York’s favorite fictional writer.
Finally, another TV resident of the West Village shows a grittier side to the neighborhood from an era before Carrie Bradshaw and Friends. In the 1973 TV movie series “Shaft,” private detective John Shaft lives in a West Village apartment building, painted red to match his fierce personality. You can still see the original location at 55 Jane Street, still as ferociously red as it was 50 years ago.
A cute setting for rom-coms
The personality of the West Village has made it a natural fit for a host of romantic comedies.
If you’ve seen the film “Definitely, Maybe,” you’ll remember the scene in which Will Hayes (played by Ryan Reynolds) finds the copy of “Jane Eyre” at a New York bookstore. While the bookstore in the film is fictitious, the scene was shot at the corner of West 4th Street and Bank Street in the West Village, an area that has a rustic, pedestrian-friendly vibe. Perfect for a quaint small business like a bookstore.
The West Village also hosts the nightclub where Kerry Washington’s character, Nikki Tru, works in the film “I Think I Love My Wife.” It’s a real bar at 57 Gansevoort Street, called the Bijoux Lounge, and it certainly shows the swankier side of the neighborhood.
In one notable film, the whole story takes place around the West Village. In the classic 1967 Neil Simon comedy, “Barefoot in the Park,” Robert Redford and Jane Fonda portray a newlywed couple who move into the fifth floor of a West Village apartment. The storyline that develops around the uptight Redford and the free-spirited Fonda is well-supported by different social strata that could be found in the West Village at that time. The film’s title is a reference to its charming final scene, in which Redford walks barefoot in Washington Square Park.
Historical West Village movies
In the film “Inside Llewyn Davis,” viewers follow the title character through his life as an aspiring folk singer in 1961 New York City — specifically the West Village. But “Inside Llewyn Davis” wasn’t just set in this neighborhood, several scenes were filmed along West 4th Street and Christopher Street, two locations that still look much as they did in the 1960’s. As a final nod to the West Village, the film ends with a young Bob Dylan singing at the famous Gaslight Cafe, which can still be found in its reimagined form — a cocktail bar called The Up & Up.
There’s many ways to experience the multi-faced West Village through television and film, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person. Search out these iconic locations, or scout a spot you want to call your own.