NYC Story Idea: Fantastic Beasts in NYC - 1920's Attractions from Film

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Did you know New York City has a starring role in JK Rowling’s new film Fantastic Beasts? Please find a destination round-up to experience Fantastic NYC below!

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When one visits New York City, traveling with a packed suitcase is typical. But what about one packed with magical creatures?

Newt Scamander, a Magizoologist and former Hogwarts student, visited New York City with such a suitcase back in 1926. His tale, as told in the new film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, features iconic New York City attractions in a magical new lens, including Times Square, the Woolworth Building, Central Park and Ellis Island. An all-new adventure and screenplay from J.K. Rowling, the film follows the escape of fantastic beasts from Newt’s suitcase, spelling trouble for a wizarding world that exists in total secrecy in New York City during the roaring ‘20s.

Opening in theatres November 18, 2016, fans of the film and J.K. Rowling are invited to explore New York City through the eyes of Newt Scamander 90 years ago. On behalf of NYC & Company (nycgo.com), please find a round-up below of destinations across New York City’s five boroughs that either appeared in or inspired the filmmakers first-hand, as well as those that have a unique 1920’s history. Corresponding hi-res images can be downloaded here (credit to nycgo.com), and view a Fantastic Beasts Google Map feature here.

In further celebration of the film, refer to nycgo.com/FantasticNYC for more content on #FantasticNYC.

Manhattan

·         124 Old Rabbit Club: Showcasing the speakeasies of the prohibition-era of New York City, the Old Rabbit Club and their off-the-beaten path location served as inspiration to the film’s Blind Pig pub, one of the only fully magical places in the film. Hidden off the streets to muggles (or “No-Maj’s” in America), it is staffed by a group of goblins with wizards as patrons.

·         Lower East Side Tenement Museum: Serving as first-hand inspiration for lead character Jacob Kowalski’s Lower East Side apartment, the Tenement Museum is a National Historic Site that served as an apartment building from 1863 to 1934. The museum is open today for visitors to experience how immigrants lived in New York City at the turn of the century in downtown Manhattan.

·         New York County National Bank: Inspiring the film’s Steen National Bank, this building sets the stage for the movie’s main adventure, and introduces viewers to a compulsive yet adorable fantastic beast called a Niffler. Originally built in 1907, the bank and is now a luxury home on the West Side of Manhattan.

·         Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: One of the millions of immigrants who passed the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on their way to New York City was wizard Newt Scamander from the United Kingdom. Visitors can continue to experience the two historic landmarks by boat on the New York Harbor and Ellis Island is now home to the National Museum of Immigration.

·         Times Square: Big, bright and unforgettable, Times Square has been a main attraction in New York City since Newt’s visit in 1926. Serving as the backdrop to a nail-biting scene in the film, fans can experience 20th century NYC in the area by visiting landmarks such as The Knickerbocker Hotel, built in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV.

·         Woolworth Building: New York City’s tallest skyscraper when Newt Scamander arrived to NYC in 1926, the iconic Woolworth Building appears in Fantastic Beasts as the headquarters of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). While the building is open to everyone, there’s a magical entrance to MACUSA which only witches and wizards can enter. The building remains an important landmark of Lower Manhattan today.

·         Writer’s House: Currently serving as a publishing company, the Writer’s House occupies two landmarked houses built by the brothers William Waldorf and John Jacob Astor III in 1881. The historic buildings, located on West 26th Street, inspired the apartment for lead characters and magical sisters, Tina and Queenie Goldstein.

The Bronx

  • The Grand Concourse: Following the success of Paris’ Champs-Élysées, the Grand Concourse in the South Bronx debuted to the public in 1909. The street features a wide boulevard of art deco buildings that are now home to art galleries, museums and restaurants. While in the neighborhood, enjoy additional early 20th century history with a tour of Yankee Stadium or take a ride on the Bronx Culture Trolley.

Brooklyn

  • Brooklyn Flea at One Hanson Place: Try your luck at finding a vintage suitcase like Newt’s at the Brooklyn Flea. Check out the Flea’s Winter Market at Skylight One Hanson, a Fort Greene landmark in the Williamsburg Savings Bank Clocktower from the 1920’s.
  • New York Transit Museum’s City Hall Station Tours: Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the New York Transit Museum celebrates the City’s public transportation network. They are one of the only operators to tour the old City Hall station, an exclusive landmark in Manhattan, which is featured in the final thrilling scene of the movie. New York City’s first subway station which closed in 1945 features vaulted tile ceilings, chandeliers and skylights. Interested visitors can visit nytransitmuseum.org for tickets.

Staten Island

  • The Staten Island Zoo: While the Central Park Zoo is featured in the film, visitors and can visit zoos across the boroughs to discover fantastic beasts of the ‘no-maj’ kind including the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. The Staten Island Zoo is the most fitting for J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World as it is home to the largest Serpentarium in the nation. Speak parseltongue, anyone?

Queens

  • Kaufman Astoria Studios: Built in 1920, Kaufman Astoria Studios has welcomed numerous movie shoots and celebrities over the years and was once home to Paramount Pictures. Now, in homage to its founding during the prohibition, the building is home to an underground speakeasy bar called The Astor Room that opened in 2014.

 

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             Contact: NYC & Company / Chris Heywood 212-484-5458
                           NYC & Company / Kim Klein 212-484-5458