Click the dots on the map to visit some of the locations where You've Got Mail was filmed
There's something about the Upper West Side that makes it such a special place in the hearts of many, that gives it a character so unique. It's a part of New York with a quality so its own that it too plays a starring role in You've Got Mail alongside Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan -- appearing as itself, of course.
Click the red dots on the map at the left to read a bit about the locations where much of You've Got Mail was filmed.
What's that? A little history you say? Well then...
Before the growth of public transportation, the Upper West Side was a remote area consisting of some country homes, farms, and shantytowns, and it remained so until the late 1800s. The Dakota, a famed residential building erected in 1881 on 72nd street and Central Park West (later home to John Lennon), was considered so far uptown for its time that it may as well have been in the Dakotas, hence the name, or so legend has it. Broadway was not even named Broadway until 1899; before then it was the Boulevard, and before that Bloomingdale Road.
But as the city expanded, so did the Upper West Side. In the last 100 years it has gone through many incarnations, with the beginning of the century seeing the sprouting of numerous brownstones and elegant apartment buildings, and the middle seeing parts of the area decline into slums. 30 or 40 years ago there were no boutiques or upscale eateries; there was nary a Starbucks on the Upper West Side. It was considered a seedy part of town, not the gentrified place it has become today. Remember, this was where West Side Story, a tale of rival gangs, was set, and in fact much of the film was shot around the tenement buildings that were later cleared to make way for Lincoln Center in the 1960's. The face of the neighborhood has undergone constant change since then -- the Love Pharmacy on 77th and Broadway was Gitlitz Delicatessen (clearly visible in Woody Allen's Bananas); the Tiptoe Inn on 82nd street has made way for Barnes and Noble; and the Beacon Theater on 74th, which once showed double features for a dollar, then briefly showed pornography, then became a cheap theater occasionally booked, is now, in a somewhat cleaned-up incarnation, a pop music venue. Columbus Avenue, which back in the Dark Ages had not a single Gap, has become gentrified beyond recognition.
Thus the Upper West Side today is a well-to-do area, complete with sky-high rents (by no means unique in Manhattan), a populace many might call predominantly yuppie, and all the gourmet delis one could hope for. But with one of New York's cultural hubs, Lincoln Center, down in the 60's, and an intellectual center in Columbia University up at 116th Sreet, the Upper West Side retains some of the vital character of its past; a cauldron of liberalism, it still consists of residents with opinions, who aren't afraid to express them, often at high volume.
We invite you to take a quick tour of a few sites on the Upper West Side, some of which are featured in You've Got Mail. These may not be the places you'd see from a tour bus heading down Broadway, but they are places where one might actually find people who live on the Upper West Side.
While you're here you can also listen to You've Got Mail director and co-writer Nora Ephron talk about the Upper West Side and draw some interesting parallels between New York City and the internet. Click the icon to listen. (Uses RealAudio.)