Throughout his career, Wes Anderson has set each of his films in an idiosyncratic and highly stylised world. Yet, only one of his eight films is set in NYC: The Royal Tenenbaums, widely considered his masterpiece. In celebration of Wes Anderson's latest film The Grand Budapest Hotel, we present eight NYC film locations featured in The Royal Tenenbaums.
The house that Royal Tenenbaum bought "on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year" is on 144th Street and Covenant Avenue in Harlem, just north of City College. Anderson and his location scout found this house before he began working on the script. After a few unsuccessful trips in Brooklyn, the director—who at first wanted to shoot his fictional take on NYC—on a soundstage, begin to conjure up the concept of the film as soon as he walked in. The house was unoccupied at the time of production, so Anderson rented it for six months and shot multiple exterior and interior shots there, transforming it into what we see in the film. The house is now a private residence.
Tenenbaum Summer House in City Island (Photo via The Standard Edition)
During the film's beginning, our narrator (Alec Baldwin) informs us of the three Tenenbaum children. Chas Tenenbaum, a maths genius, gets into purchasing real estate in his early teenage years. He is so good at it that he makes a deal with his own father to purchase the Tenenbaum Summer home on Eagle's Island. The island does not exist in NYC, however, the house does—on City Island, a small island that's part of the Bronx. The exact address is at 21 Tier Street, as reported by Gothamist.
Anderson shows us an exterior shot of the Alexander Hamilton Customs House, located on 1 Bowling Green. In the film, the place is known just as "The Public Archives" and is where adopted daughter Margot Tenenbaum camps out when she runs away from home with her brother Richie Tenenbaum. The "African wing" where the two survive on nothing but crackers and root beer does not exist, however, the building, originally the Fort of Amsterdam, is now home to the New York branch of The Museum of The American Indian.
Royal Tenenbaum and his wife separate during the children's early years. He leaves them the house and continues to live in an apartment at The Lindbergh Palace Hotel for twenty-two years before he is kicked out. No such hotel exists in NYC, but Andersen filmed the exterior shot of Royal leaving the hotel at The Waldorf-Astoria. The world famous hotel, which started as two separate hotels (The Waldorf and The Astoria) that merged into one was the first to actually feature room service, which changed the hotel industry forever. Famous guests at the hotel include: Marilyn Monroe, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Nikola Telsa, and Paris Hilton.
Did you know there is a Secret Train Platform Underneath The Waldorf-Astoria?
Even without setting foot in the house, Royal Tenebaum has a man on the inside. The informant Pagoda tells Royal that his wife plans to remarry. This does not sit well with Royal, especially when he learns that the man who proposed to her is none other than her accountant Henry Sherman (played by Danny Glover). The meeting takes place at the southern tip of Battery Park. If you watch the scene, you will notice that Pagoda blocks the Statue of Liberty from view, this confused Hackman who asked Anderson why he decided to block out the statue. Anderson did not want to make it too obvious they were in NYC, so he had the actor block the statue from view.
Visit Untapped Cities to see the rest of the locations from The Royal Tenenbaums
This post originally appeared on Untapped Cities. It was republished with permission.