Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Location In Brooklyn: From Mickey Blue Eyes To Moonstruck!

By: Anne M. Raso

On Location Tours gives the most fun TV and movie tours in the New York City area and we have recently reported about their Sex & The City Hotspots Tour (where we got to hang with star Willie Garson at a SATC 2 private premiere) as well the Classic New York TV & Movie Sites Tour (where Joyce Randolph of Honeymooners fame accompanied us for a special Valentine’s Day edition).

Now, On Location Tours has gone into “bridge and tunnel” territory with its Brooklyn TV & Movie Sites Tour. The 3.5-hour tour starts out in front of Capitale restaurant/nightspot (former site of the Bowery Savings Bank) and showcases over 40 of the one-of-a-kind bridges, bistros and brownstones that have been used both under their real names and as fictitious locations on the big and small screens.
Each tour given by On Location Tours features actors and comediennes at tour guides, and there are plenty of trivia questions along the way (FYI, our prizes for each question answered correctly on this tour were Charm Blow Pops). The first stop on the tour is Junior’s Cheesecake, where our tour guide, handsome actor and stunt performer Amadeo Fusca, picked up individually-sized portions of the world-famous creamy confection for all tour members.
Next, the tour heads to the Brooklyn Bridge, a site that has been used for scenes for numerous films including I Am Legend, Coming To America, The Siege and The French Connection. I also want to mention that tour members can watch many scenes on the on-board screen right as they approach the real shooting locations.
The main neighborhoods that the tours go through are Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Park and Brooklyn Heights -- as an added bonus, riders get to see arguably the most breathtaking brownstones on earth! There is enough character in these “nabes” to make one want to immediately move out of typical suburbia pronto!
Our two favorite stops on the tour were Maybelle’s Café in Carroll Gardens—this was the site of the Cammareri Bakery in Moonstruck (you also get to see Cher’s character Loretta Castorini’s $4 million Brooklyn Heights brownstone close by)—and The River Café just underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, which was used for a Sopranos episode and offers breathtaking views of the bridge from nearby Ferry Park (used for Analyze That, The Forgotten, 13 Going On 30 and The Adjustment Bureau). The bus stops at Brooklyn Borough Hall as well, used by the TV show White Collar and the films Catch Me If You Can and Mickey Blue Eyes (the interior was used for the auction house where the lead character, played by Hugh Grant, worked at as an auctioneer).
Diehard romantics (and Julia Roberts fans) will be pleased to know that St. Augustine’s Church (116 6th Avenue in Park Slope)--scene of the wedding in Mona Lisa Smile—is included on the tour. The nearby Montauk Club (25 Eighth Avenue in Prospect Park) was used for several scenes of the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Perhaps the centerpiece of the tour—and largest site--is the very grand Prospect Park (used for many films including Bored To Death), which designed by Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
We hope we have tantalized you with the handful of tour stops we have mentioned here—there are dozens more to discover! We noted that the Junior’s Cheesecake is a “nice free nosh” along the way but it’s also fun to stop in at Maybelle’s during the big 20-minute stop on the tour and try some of their baked goods! (Foodies, while at the Maybelle’s stop, walk over to nearby pizzeria Francesco’s and try an artichoke and spinach slice or walk directly across the street to old-school soda fountain shop Farmacy and discover the old pharmacy department with old meds intact while slurping on an egg cream)!

The Brooklyn TV & Movie Sites Tour is well worth the $42 for adults and $24 for kids. For more info, go to—also be sure to “like” On Location Tours on Facebook!

Photos: Anne M. Raso and On Location Tours

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