New York

HBO Max Wants To Reward You For Visiting Iconic NYC Filming Locations

Filming for "In the Heights" | COURTESY OF WARNER BROTHERS
Filming for "In the Heights" | COURTESY OF WARNER BROTHERS

Everyone knows NYC is a hub for TV and movies — just check the subway ads that feature the mayor’s stamp of approval. But far too often, shows that take place in “NYC” are really just… filmed on a sound stage in LA. (Or even Vancouver!) Thus, when films that purport to celebrate the Big Apple actually shoot here, we give credit where it’s due. The upcoming film In the Heights, an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical, is one such production, shot in and around—where else—Washington Heights. (Read more about the cast and crew’s connection to the neighborhood in NYCGo.) 

To celebrate In the Heights’ release, HBO Max has launched an custom map — HBO Max On Location — that showcases memorable NYC filming spots from its series and movies, like Magnolia Bakery (made huge by HBO Original Sex and the City) and The Met, featured in the upcoming HBO Max Original Gossip Girl. For fans who choose to check them out in person, HBO Max is also offering rewards at each map location on June 11-13. Here’s a preview of some of the spots you can visit and what rewards you can unlock at each one.*

HBO Max On Location

Magnolia Bakery

Who can forget when Carrie sat outside Magnolia Bakery and said to Miranda “I’ve got a crush.” Of course, things didn’t end so well for Aiden, the crush in mention, but the bakery still became a city-wide (and country-wide) phenomenon. Scanning the QR code at Magnolia will unlock a free cupcake, the perfect snack for exploring NYC.

The Empire State Building

Yes, the Empire State Building was iconic before Elf came out. But when Buddy lit up every button in the elevator, it earned an extra spot in movie history. To celebrate the historic skyscraper’s movie stardom, HBO Max is providing a Buddy-approved sugary treat (aka a Milk Bar cookie) to the first 250 guests who show up each day from June 11-13. Eat it at the top and scope out your next stop on the map.

90 Bedford Street

Even if you don’t recognize the address, you’ll definitely know the apartment. While Friends was, as mentioned, filmed mostly in LA, the exterior shots of their famous building were filmed at 90 Bedford. Stop by this location and you can pick up a “perk” from Joe Coffee.

Riverside Park

You’ve Got Mail’s final meeting happens at this picturesque park on the Upper West Side, just a few blocks from director Nora Ephron’s real-life apartment. There’s no better place in the city to say “I wanted it to be you.” Just because it’s the end of the movie, however, doesn’t mean it’s the end of a day spotting movie locations. A free Citibike ride unlocked here, courtesy of HBO Max On Location, will help you for the final leg of your journey, up to Washington Heights.

United Palace Theater and Drama Book Shop

These spots (and others!) on the HBO Max map are the Washington Heights locations seen in the musical celebrating the neighborhood. Along with the Santo Domingo Grocery and J. Hood Wright Park, HBO Max is celebrating these locations from or inspired by the movie, complete with goodies. Stop by the 191st street subway stop, for example, to nab a taco from Locksmith, or visit United Palace Theater and HBO Max will donate $5 to the historic community site on your behalf. Finally, head back to midtown to visit the re-opening of The Drama Book Shop, Miranda and team’s revitalization of a quintessential New York institution.

All this just barely scratches the surface of sights to see and food to eat (for free), so be sure to check out HBO Max On Location to explore the full map of locations and rewards. Then watch In the Heights, in theaters June 10 and streaming on HBO Max for 31 days from its theatrical release (only on the ad-free plan).

*There are a limited number of rewards available at each location on each day (June 11, 12, and 13) and will be distributed by each participating partner on a first-come, first served basis while supplies last.

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