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Thanks for visiting Free Tours by Foot New York!
This post will explain how you can find the apartment building used in the hit TV show Friends, which is a regular stop on the pay-what-you-like Free Tours by Foot’s Greenwich Village Tour.
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.
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 in the very left of the map is for the PATH station.
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.
As you know, Phoebe lived on her own but of course was always over at Monica and Rachel’s apartment. Fortunately for Phoebe, she was just a 4-minute walk from her pals.
If you want to check out her pad, follow the below route to 5 Morton Street, Apt. 14. The address is referenced in an episode called “The One With Joey’s New Brain”.
The same question pops up – how did Monica and Rachel, a barista at Central Perk, afford to live on one of the most coveted blocks in the West Village?
It’s all about who you know. In this case, it’s Monica’s grandmother. Read the explanation of rent-stabilized apartments below.
In Season 3, episode 22, this is the theater where Joey stars in a show and invites his friends to come and see him perform. Rachel brings a date named Tommy (Ben Stiller) who ends up being a total psycho.
The Lortel is featured in our pay-what-you-wish Greenwich Village walking tour. You may even want to see a show in this historic off-Broadway theater. Our post on getting cheap theater tickets might come in handy!
The fountain, in which the cast is frolicking around in the opening credits, is not the fountain in Central Park. As stated above, the show rarely filmed in New York City. That fountain was on the studio set.
The fountain in Central Park is called the Bethesda Fountain and has itself been in countless movies and TV shows.
However, according to OnLocation Tours, the Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel and adjacent to Central Park was the inspiration for the fictional fountain.
Ross works at the New York Museum of Prehistoric History, which is clearly modeled on the American Museum of Natural History. Several key moments in the entire series occur here, including the first night that Ross and Rachel spend together, in an intimate way.
The American Museum of Natural History is one of New York’s best museums and you should consider visiting it. It is located off of Central Park West between 77th and 78th Streets.
You can save money on tickets and even get free entry and we explain how on our post, American Museum of Natural History Discounts and Coupons.
In the first episode of Season 7, the gang plan to celebrate Monica and Chandler’s engagement by going for a champagne toast at the Plaza Hotel. Due to unexpected plot twists, they never make it to the Plaza Hotel. You can enjoy a drink at The Champagne Bar next to the hotel lobby.
The Plaza is located at 768 5th Avenue at 59th Street, just across the street from our pay-what-you-wish Central Park walking tour. We also have a pay-what-you-wish Midtown Manhattan walking tour which explores the neighborhood where the Plaza is located.
Chandler works in IT and his office is located at 9 West 57th St., near the Plaza Hotel. This building also appears in scenes in Sex and the City. If you are a SATC fan, check out our Self-Guided Sex and the City Tour.
This is where Monica was a waitress and the diner was decked out in a 1950s theme. At work, Monica had to wear a horrendous blonde wig. It’s all in the video below!
This diner was located at 80 Sixth Avenue, between Grand Street and Canal Street. It closed down in 2012, and in its place, The James Hotel was built.
The Moondance was also featured in Spider-Man, where Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) worked. If you are a Spidey fan, check out our Self-Guided New York Super Hero Tour.
In Season 3, Rachel works at this iconic NY department store as an assistant buyer. It is definitely worth a visit to get a Bloomie’s Little Brown Bag. It is one of the stops in our self-guided tour of Midtown Manhattan.
Bloomingdale’s is at the intersection of 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, near the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram which offers one of the most spectacular views of NYC.
This arena is the home to the New York Knicks basketball team. It’s not easy or cheap to get season tickets, yet in Season 4, episode 19, Monica and Rachel offer Joey and Chandler their season tickets if they can move back into their apartment, having swapped with the guys previously.
Seeing the Knicks play at the Garden is a very fun thing to do and you can get tickets here. If you want to see the inside of this historic arena, you can take a tour of the Garden. Our post, Madison Square Garden All-Access Tour will help you find the best prices in this popular tour.
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 $3000 a month 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’ 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. But, down the block on Commerce Street, a four-bedroom, 1200-square-foot unit rented by an 80-something-year-old gentleman presently is 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.
The quickest route is to walk west on Grove Street and turn left (north) on Bleeker Street. Magnolia Bakery is on Bleeker Street and Carrie’s apartment building is at 66 Perry Street (see red circle below).
Be warned. Some of the residents on Perry Street are not huge Sex and the City fans, so please be respectful of their privacy and limit your photography to one photo.
Be sure to check out our free tour of Sex and the City sights.
Fans of The Cosby Show might be interested in visiting the house used as the home of Dr. Huxstable and family. The Huxstables did not live in Greenwich Village, rather the equally historic district of Brooklyn Heights.
To reach the house from the Friends Apartment Building, it’s best to head south on Bedford St until you make a slight right onto 7th Ave. Then, you will make your first right onto St. Luke’s Place (which is also Leroy St.) until you reach 10 St. Lukes Place. The house sits just across from a city park.
Like the Friends Apartment Building, 10 St. Lukes Pl. allowed the show’s producers a lot of light for filming.
The Friends Apartment is located in what is today called the West Village, or the western half of the greater Greenwich Village.
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).
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:
By Tour Guide Renée Rewiski + Stephen Pickhardt