Skip To Content

    15 Movie Scenes That Show A New York City That Simply Does Not Exist

    I'd move out of the city before meeting you on top of the Empire State Building.

    1. Marilyn Monroe standing in high heels on a sidewalk grate in the iconic "flying skirt" scene from The Seven Year Itch.

    Marilyn stands over a subway grate and the wind from a passing train lifts her dress to her waist
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty Images / Via The Seven Year Itch

    Unless your name is Rihanna, you have have no business walking over subway grates in stilettos. Also, there is no way Marilyn wouldn't faintly smell of urine for the rest of the night after pulling a stunt like this.

    2. Big and Carrie having a fight in the middle of a Manhattan street with seemingly no traffic (?!) in Sex and the City: The Movie.

    Carrie hits Big with a wedding bouquet in the middle of a street they are blocking with their parked cars
    HBO Films / Via Sex And The City: The Movie

    First, Mr. Big has his driver go the wrong way down a one way road. Then Carrie stops her limo and the couple get into a violent argument in the middle of the street. I couldn't help but wonder: In what universe is there an empty street in the center of Manhattan?

    3. Giselle and Robert somehow finessing a row boat in Central Park in Enchanted.

    Giselle, Robert, and members of a mariachi band sit in row boats
    Walt Disney Company / Via Enchanted

    Somehow Giselle and Robert getting a row boat on a moment's notice feels more unrealistic than everyone in the park knowing the lyrics to a spontaneous musical number. They were even able to secure boats for an entire mariachi band! If you want to recreate this scene you better be prepared to wait in a long-ass line.

    4. When Meg Ryan chose the freakin' top of the Empire State Building for a meet-cute in Sleepless in Seattle.

    Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks star at each other on top of the Empire State Building
    Tristar Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection / Via Sleepless In Seattle

    Yes it's romantic, but meeting at the Empire State Building will cost you physically, emotionally, and financially. Real New Yorkers know the pain of taking visiting friends to the Empire State Building only to wait in line for hours and then shell out $100 to see that view.

    5. And when Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia somehow didn't wait for hours to perform their "Heart and Soul" duet on the huge piano in Big.

    Two men stand widely on a large piano rolled out over the ground
    20th Century Fox Film Corp / Everett Collection / Via Big

    I have not once stepped foot into FAO Schwarz when there wasn't a line for this comically large piano. The fact that children stopped to watch these two grown-ass men play without throwing a tantrum to have their own turn is even more astonishing.

    6. Justin Timberlake planning a very "2011" flashmob for Mila Kunis in Grand Central Station, undoubtedly during rush hour, in Friends With Benefits.

    Hundreds of dancers in formation in Grand Central
    Castle Rock Entertainment / Via Friends With Benefits

    I'm irritated just thinking about trying to catch a train and having to brush past hundreds of dancers. You're not about to pay peak rail prices just because some guy wanted to plan a romantic gesture for his friend with benefits...

    7. Andy's spacious Manhattan apartment in The Devil Wears Prada.

    Andy stands in a gown in front of an apartment with multiple rooms behind her
    20th Century Studios / Via The Devil Wears Prada

    Andy is an administrative assistant and her boyfriend Nate is a line cook. I know their apartment is not The Ritz, but there is simply no way they could afford this much space in Manhattan. Everything about this couple screams Greenpoint, not Orchard Street.

    8. Jenna Rink willing a taxi to a complete halt with only a whistle in 13 Going on 30.

    Jenna places her fingers in her mouth to whistle loudly and a cab stops to pull her over
    Columbia Pictures / Via 13 Going On 30

    Hailing a cab is a classic New York City trope. Jenna struggles to call a taxi in the beginning of 13 Going On 30, but later whistles one down in Midtown, no problem. How is the taxi driver supposed to hear you whistle over their EDM music blasting through the radio?! Just take the subway...

    9. Young Kevin befriending the pigeon woman (?) in Home Alone 2.

    Kevin looks up to a smiling woman with pigeons on her shoulders
    20th Century Fox / Everett Collection

    I was 100% sure I would become best friends with a pigeon lady upon moving to New York. The harsh reality is that wise homeless women do not spend their time giving advice and sharing bird seed with strangers. However, I did come close once when a man who was throwing full pieces of bread at birds in the park followed me home.

    10. Buddy's illegal trip through the Lincoln Tunnel from Elf.

    Buddy telling the story of how he arrived to New York to a group of children
    Warner Bros Pictures / Via Elf

    Most of us remember Buddy the Elf's New York City origin story. Buddy fails to mention that if you cross through the Lincoln Tunnel you need to pay that hefty $16 toll. Maybe he paid in gumdrops, but it's unlikely. Taking the Lincoln Tunnel is for rich people not elves.

    11. Spider-Man (the Tobey Maguire version obviously) and Doc Oc battling it out on top of a moving subway in Spider-Man 2.

    Spiderman and Doctor Octopus fight on top of a moving train
    Columbia / Courtesy Everett Collection / Via Spider-Man 2

    The problem here is that no above ground trains cut through Midtown Manhattan. Maybe if this were the J train it would make more sense...even still Peter Parker is from Queens not Brooklyn!

    12. The Avengers constant and general destruction of the city.

    Walt Disney Company / Courtesy Everett Collection

    New York City already has plenty of problems to attend to from massive affordable housing issues to a mass transit system that hasn't been updated in years. There is no universe (not even the MCU) where this much destruction of the city would be resolved swiftly.

    13. The authoritarian power of Animal Control in The Secret Life of Pets.

    Two dogs are apprehended and caged by two men working for New York City Animal Control
    Illumination Entertainment / Via The Secret Life of Pets

    Duke and Max are attacked by a Sphynx cat named Ozone who removes their collars. Animal Control is on the scene immediately to take those boys to the pound. Meanwhile, in the REAL New York bodega cats roam free and reckless pet owners are barely policed when they let their dogs run around sans leash.

    14. In Ghostbusters they rented a "cheap" firehouse in Tribeca that is bigger than most penthouse apartments.

    A multistory firehouse in NYC
    Gary Burke / Flickr Vision

    Nowadays in New York it's often too expensive to afford a membership to a coworking space. Somehow in Ghostbusters the team is able to afford rent for a rundown firehouse the size of a small city block.

    15. Finally, that orgasmic pastrami on rye from Katz's Delicatessen in When Harry Met Sally.

    Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection / Via When Harry Met Sally

    Imagine waiting all week to get brunch at Katz's only to be seated next to a woman who is screaming and writhing around in her chair. In the real world, Sally would have been yelled at to shut up faster than you could order the matzo ball soup.

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form