Hollywood may be the dream factory, but New York is a movie-lover's paradise. The cradle of the motion-picture industry in the early 20th century before studios relocated to sunny Southern California, New York boasts some of the finest movie theaters in the country - and no U.S. metropolis could compete with the sheer number of first-run and repertory films unspooling at any given time.
Strolling the city's streets, you'll frequently find yourself walking past a movie set or encountering an iconic location from one of cinema's golden treasures. As James Sanders explains in his excellent book "Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies," "A great city is more than a geographic or economic entity: it is a distinct locus of image and style, memory and dreams." Or, as three singing sailors once famously put it: New York, New York - it's a helluva town.
This art-deco treasure, built in 1931 and a hive of music publishing through the '60s, doubled as the residence of waspish gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) in the acidic 1957 masterpiece "Sweet Smell of Success."
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Clinton Avenue at Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn
The thrill of arriving in New York City for the first time has never been better captured than in the opening scene of the 1949 musical "On the Town": Sailors Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin, bursting into song, start their 24-hour shore leave by racing down a gangplank onto this legendary waterfront site.
'Made in NY' walking tours
Walking tours of film and television locations in New York City
"I'm walking here!" Like Ratso Rizzo in "Midnight Cowboy,"you'll be doing the same, with free podcasts from the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, which guide you through two downtown tours - TriBeCa to City Hall, City Hall to Battery Park.
(Podcasts and maps available at
Bounded by Broadway, Amsterdam Avenue and West 70th Street
This tiny patch of land was once a hangout for junkies on the Upper West Side - a site immortalized in 1971's "The Panic in Needle Park," starring Al Pacino in his first major role.
The cinematic jewel of Kings County, this four-screen theater devotes three auditoriums to first-run and independent films; the fourth to classics and expertly curated retrospectives.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the indispensable Film Forum showcases repertory gems and the best of recent American independent cinema, documentaries and foreign films; all can be watched while savoring the Cheryl Kleinman baked goods from the concession stand.
323 Sixth Ave., at West Third Street, 212-924-7771
At this five-screen West Village newcomer, you'll find an inspired mix of documentaries, independent and foreign films and midnight movies - carrying on the tradition of the IFC's earlier incarnation, the Waverly, which made "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" a cult hit.
Opened in 1948, the Paris is the nation's oldest continuously operating art-house cinema. After sitting in the scalloped balcony of this grand, single-screen, 586-seat theater, you may never tolerate the multiplex again.
253 W. 35th St., 212-989-0869, moviematerials.com
The stogie-chomping Ohlinger is almost as legendary as the celluloid heroes who beam from the posters, lobby cards and film stills that his store carries. If you can't afford the poster of that rare Lena Horne vehicle, surely one of the many movie postcards on sale is within your budget.
239 Centre St., 212-226-2207, posteritati.com
This spacious SoHo gallery boasts 12,000 movie posters, several of which adorn the sleek emporium's walls. You can browse the collection online, but those tiny images on your laptop only hint at how majestic the posters will look in person.
Greta Garbo's residence
450 E. 52nd St.
She Who Wanted to Be Alone found the solitude she craved at the Campanile building, overlooking the East River. Garbo moved to her seven-room apartment in 1953 and lived there until her death in 1990.
Marilyn Monroe's residence
444 E. 57th St.
Monroe, who made NYC subway grates so famous in "The Seven Year Itch," moved to this 15-story redbrick apartment building with Arthur Miller, her third husband, in 1957.