Just over the past half century or so, those have included the breakthrough of experimental theater and Beat literature in the 1950s; the fight for housing preservation in the ’60s; and, in 1969, the Stonewall Riots that spurred the national gay liberation movement. Those moments still characterize the West Village today and are seen in iconic tv shows like Friends and Sex and the City. Tourists from all over the world trek into the Village in search of the Friends Apartment Building at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets.
Reaching the building used for the exterior shot of the Friends apartment building is relatively easy, thanks to a major subway junction less than a 10 minute walk away. Most visitors will find it best to arrive at West 4th Street Station, which can be accessed by the A, B, C, D, E, F and M subway lines. A closer station is Christopher Street, but this station can only be accessed with the 1 train, which is a local train. As you know Phoebe lived on her own but worked at Central Perk and of course was always over at Monica and Rachel’s apartment.
During the program, Monica worked as a cook — Rachel sort of served coffee in the first season — and Phoebe periodically had no job, or worked at positions that would not support paying the rent on this size apartment. The writers explained away the problem of the size and its cost as “an illegal sublet.” This was Monica’s and Ross’ grandmother’s apartment, a rent-controlled unit, and Monica had taken it over. In New York City, buildings older than 1947 with six or more rental units are rent controlled. The city tells landlords how much they can increase the rents based on the length of the lease.
Fans of Sex and the City may also be interested in visiting Carrie’s stoop and Magnolia Bakery, both just a 8 minute walk away. The quickest route is to walk west on Grove Street and turn left (north) on Bleeker Street. The four girls spent a significant amount of time relaxing, shopping and drinking in the Village’s hotspots too. The show and movies featured lots of beautiful and accessible locations throughout the neighborhood.
Magnolia Bakery is on Bleeker Street and Carrie’s apartment building is at 66 Perry Street. Be warned. Some of the residents on Perry Street are not huge Sex and the City fans, so please be respectful of their privacy and limit your photography to one photo. Despite its foot-traffic, the West Village with its high end boutiques, as well as charming restaurants manages to maintain an intimate vibe that sets it apart from many other hustle-bustle New York City destinations.