There is no doubt that "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is one of New York City's most iconic films. The movie stars Audrey Hepburn in one of her most memorable performances as the money-chasing Holly Golightly, a glamourous, hip Upper East Sider with her sights set on marrying into the upper class.
Released in 1961 and based on the novel by Truman Capote, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" captures both the carefree attitude of New York socialites at the birth of the swinging '60s, as well as the darker side of trying to make it big in the Big Apple.
Upon closer inspection, Holly Golightly is little more than a call girl making a living on "trips to the powder room," and her beau, the out-of-work novelist Paul Varjak (played by George Peppard), pays for his high-class lifestyle as the boy toy of a wealthy older woman, notes James Sanders, author of "Celluloid Skyline."
"Yes, it's about the glamour of New York, but it's also about the things people will do to enjoy that glamour," Sanders said. "Meanwhile, we ourselves get seduced by that glamorous world."
New York is still the destination for small-town social climbers such as Holly.
Many of the places Hepburn's character haunted are still thriving today. Paul and Holly's East 71st Street apartment building is easily recognizable; book lovers still enjoy the stately reading room in the newly renovated main branch library; and, of course, Tiffany and Co. is going strong.
The movie is named after the opening scene, in which Golightly, clad in a black ball gown after a night out, downs her coffee and croissant while window shopping at the Fifth Avenue store.
She later explains what takes the edge off her hectic life: "The only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there."
What Would Holly Do on UES TODAY?
A man-chasing nightlife sophisticate, Holly Golightly is a busy New York City dame. A girl like that knows how to keep just the right places at her fingertips. Here are a few Upper East Side locales we can see her checking out.
MAD Vintage Couture & Designer
167 E. 87th St.
This Upper East Side consignment shop has vintage looks worthy of any diva, from 1960s alligator handbags to Pierre Balmain evening gowns and retro Chanel. Top it off with a glamorous rhinestone necklace and you are good to go!
Neil's Coffee Shop
961 Lexington Ave.
After a night on the town, this old-school diner, just blocks away from Holly's apartment, is the perfect spot to fuel up on a fresh cup of joe and pastries. And judging from the celebrity headshots that line the walls, Neil's might even be a good place to meet a future husband. The diner has been in business for roughly 70 years, according to an employee.
Litter and Leashes
343 E. 66th St.
Once Holly settles down and decides to give her nameless cat a moniker, she might want to go the distance and buy some supplies at the Upper East Side's Litter and Leashes, a small pet shop that makes up for its smaller selection through friendly, caring service.
Crawford Doyle Booksellers
1082 Madison Ave.
With a novelist love interest upstairs, Holly Golightly has good reason to catch up on her reading. At Crawford Doyle Booksellers, located on a block that has been a book dealers' strip since the 1930s, she could do so with the help of the friendly staff in a wood-paneled setting that offers a smart selection of volumes on art, history, poetry and more.
1929 3rd Ave.
In such a swanky neighborhood as the Upper East Side, Holly would have to take a train uptown to find a discount shop like the "five and ten" she and Paul shoplift from in the film. No worries, a sea of dollar stores are just a few stops away on East Harlem's Third Avenue.