This post will explain how you can find the Greenwich Village apartment building used in the hit TV show Friends.
It's also a regular stop on the pay-what-you-like Free Tours by Foot's Greenwich Village Tour.
- Where is the Friends Apartment?
- The Friends Experience
- Could They Afford the Rent?
- Friends Tours and Attractions
- Other TV Shows Based in NYC
- Guide to Greenwich Village
TIP: If you are eager to locate TV and movie locations throughout the Big Apple, which includes many Friends locations, then consider taking the On Location Tours NYC TV & Movie Tour. Reserve here.
These tours are included for free with both the Explorer Pass and the New York Pass.
If you are not sure which pass to get, read our comparison post on the different discount tourist passes.
WHERE IS THE FRIENDS APARTMENT BUILDING?
It's located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street.
Reaching the building used for the exterior shot of the Friends apartment building is relatively easy, thanks to a major subway junction less than a 10 minute walk away.
It's best to use our Google map to get directions to the building.
Most visitors will find it best to arrive at West 4th Street Station, which can be accessed by the A, B, C, D, E, F, and M subway lines.
A closer station is Christopher Street, but this station can only be accessed with the 1 train, which is a local train.
If you are coming from New Jersey or from further north, you might find taking the PATH train to the PATH's Christopher Street Station. PATH accepts NYC subway MetroCards.
Above is a map image showing the subway stations. The red circle on the very left of the map is for the PATH station.
If you are new to the NYC subway, then read our guides on navigating the system and how to choose the best MetroCard.
TIP: Let us take you there on one of our Greenwich Village Tours.
The Friends Apartment is also a stop on our GPS-enabled audio tour of the Village, which you could take any time you like.
Though few people are surprised that there is no Central Perk on the ground level, it's quite obvious by visitor's reactions that they were hoping there might be.
Rather than a coffee house below, there is a restaurant called the Little Owl.
The Little Owl does not resemble the layout of Central Perk, but it's a place you might want to check out for lunch or dinner. The restaurant has excellent reviews.
THE FRIENDS EXPERIENCE
If you really want to see Central Perk and some of the other locations from the show, there's actually a pop-up exhibition called the Friends Experience which has recreated a lot of the best sets in this popular tv series.
Some of the most well-known Friends sets have been meticulously recreated on two floors full of interactive exhibits. Ever wanted to get a selfie on the orange couch? Now you can!
- $52 per person
- Dates: Thursday - Sunday
- Duration: 1 hour
- Purchase tickets or learn more.
COULD THEY REALLY AFFORD TO LIVE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE?
In the Friends television show, the actors are never filmed in New York City.
All of the shots were in a studio in California, except for London in the finale of season four. Even the fountain scene opening the show was filmed in California.
Several issues arose in depicting the Greenwich Village building as the home for Monica and Rachel, and Joey and Chandler.
Monica’s apartment is a two-bedroom unit in an area of Greenwich Village that boasts rents of $3500 a month just for a studio apartment.
During the program, Monica worked as a cook — Rachel sort of served coffee in the first season — and Monica periodically had no job or worked at positions that would not support paying the rent on this size apartment.
The writers and producers said the apartment needed to be large so the audience could see what the actors were doing.
Friends was filmed in front of a live studio audience. Action and conversations had to be visible to the audience, so the floor plan of the apartment was wide open and large.
It looked nothing like a typical New York City apartment.
The writers explained away the problem of the size and its cost as “an illegal sublet.”
This was Monica’s and Ross’s grandmother’s apartment, a rent-controlled unit, and Monica had taken it over.
In New York City, buildings older than 1947 with six or more rental units are rent-controlled.
The city tells landlords how much they can increase the rents based on the length of the lease, which has often resulted in rents much lower than market value.
Some bloggers have said it would have been impossible to obtain the apartment shown at $300 a month, as discussed in the TV program, even in the 1990s.
But, down the block on Commerce Street, a four-bedroom, 1200-square-foot unit rented by an 80-something-year-old gentleman was going for around $332, according to the New York Times. Rent control!
Other issues with the Friends Apartment Building are obvious! The apartment has a balcony in the TV series. None exists on the exterior of the building shown.
In the first year, the Ugly Naked Guy lived across the street, and the Friends spied on him periodically.
In the last few years, Ross lived in the building across the street, and they peeked out into his windows. Not actually possible with the location.
But do not let this deter you from following the Free Tours by Foot tour guides down Grove Street to Bedford Street to view the Friends Apartment building for yourself.
Stand outside, and take a photo.
GUIDE TO GREENWICH VILLAGE
The Friends Apartment is located in what is today called the West Village, or the western half of the greater Greenwich Village.
We have put together a guide to Greenwich Village, which includes a self-guided tour (including a GPS-enabled audio tour) as well as food, hotel, and entertainment recommendations.
We also have a self-guided tour and guide of the East Village. We would love to show you around on one of our tours of Greenwich Village.
We have several that visit the Friends Apartment (see below).
TV AND MOVIE TOURS
You have several options if you would like to tour TV and movie sights associated with shows like Friends, Sex and the City, Gossip Girls and many others.
Here are some:
- Free Tours by Foot - many of our walking and food tours incorporate TV and movie sights into them. However, to see the Friends Apartment, you could take our Greenwich Village Tour, our All-in-One Downtown Tour and our Greenwich Village and the High Line Tour. All 3 visit the Friends Apartment. Also, you could do it on your own with our self-guided tour of Greenwich Village (click here for the audio tour version).
- OnLocation Tours - If you are eager to locate TV and movie locations throughout the Big Apple, then consider taking the On Location's New York's TV and Movie Sights Tour or Sex and the City Tour. These tours are included for free with both the Explorer Pass and the New York Pass. If you are not sure which pass to get, read our comparison post on the different discount tourist passes.
Read our full post on TV shows based in NYC for more location hunting.