From Seinfeld to When Harry Met Sally, there’s hardly an inch of New York City’s Upper West Side that hasn’t been in the background of someone’s favorite scene. But perhaps no movie has embodied the neighborhood more lovingly than 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. The Nora Ephron romantic comedy is a story about a city that’s always changing, which is why fans won’t be surprised to hear that a number of the places frequented by its protagonists, Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), are no longer still with us. They’ve been replaced by new stores or pushed out of the neighborhood, not unlike the events of the film itself.
However, for the nostalgic among us who want to experience the magic of You’ve Got Mail offscreen, there are some locations that have stood the test of time. A You’ve Got Mail tour is still possible as long as you have a subway card and, in some instances, a good imagination. Four major spots in the film are scattered around the Upper West Side and make for the perfect afternoon stroll. And who knows, maybe you might bump into Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox walking Brinkley along the way?
1. Shop Around The Corner - 106 West 69th St. between Broadway and Columbus Avenue
Now a dry cleaner, 106 West 69th St is the bones for the Shop Around The Corner — or the outside, at least. While the interior of the store was based on Books Of Wonder, which now has two locations in Manhattan, it was shot in a studio. But the outside is still standing on the Upper West Side. Squint and you might be able to see Kathleen Kelly decorating her Christmas tree.
2. Cafe Lalo - 201 West 83rd Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Not only is Cafe Lalo still standing, it’s standing inside and out. The place where Kathleen waits for NY152 (Joe’s username)...and waits and waits until Joe Fox shows up, can still serve you a “Mochaccino decaf, nonfat.” And I’m sure, if you waited there now with a rose and a book, there’d be another You’ve Got Mail fan around ready to join you for lunch.
3. Riverside Park — 91st Street & Riverside Drive
You know, Central Park really hogs the spotlight when it comes to iconic parks in New York. The less recognizable but far more intimate Riverside Park has the privilege of being the spot where Kathleen realizes Joe has been NY152 all along, and is well-deserving of the subway ride to get there.
4. Boat Basin on 79th Street on the Hudson River
First off, there’s a boat basin on 79th St on the Hudson River. Second, while it might not still be home to the Fox family boat where dejected patriarchs go to lay low for a bit after failed relationships, you’re still welcome — nay, encouraged — to go for a stroll down the docks the next time you need to rethink your life.