New York City, New York
The most recent of the major additions to the holiday film genre, Elf has re-introduced the wonder of Christmas in New York to an entire new generation of fans. While New York City has been featured in countless holiday movies, from Miracle on 34th Street to Home Alone 2, Elf sweeps across many of New York’s greatest Christmas sites like no other film before it. In particular, it does its best to channel Miracle on 34th Street, from a resurrected Gimbels Departrment Store on Herald Square to the majestic apartment towers of Central Park West.
The Elf tour of Manhattan begins at the Lincoln Tunnel on Manhattan’s west side at 42nd Street (note that walking through the tunnel is illegal except in cases of emergency). Nearby is 34th Street, home to the Empire State Building and the Manhattan Mall. Many exterior and interior shots were done at the former, while the latter was a stand-in for Gimbels Department Store. Incidentally, this was the actual location of the original Gimbels Store, which closed in 1986.
Central Park also figures prominently into the movie. At the southeast corner of the park is Grand Army Square, where much of the last half hour of the movie takes place. Across the park on the west side, 55 Central Park West was used for exterior shots of Buddy’s family’s apartment building. Just inside the park from there are Belvedere Castle and Bethesda Fountain, both of which make appearances in the sleigh-chase scene.
Virtually all of the above locations are open sights, but include stores with limited hours. The Empire State Building is open every day of the year from 8:00am to 2:00am. Admission is $21.00 for adults. Web: www.esbnyc.com (official website of the Empire State Building); www.esbnyc.com (official tourism website of the Empire State Building).