Spider-Man, the Avengers, the Defenders, Doctor Strange all have one thing in common: New York City. It’s their home, their headquarters, and the place they do much of their super hero-ing.
As comic book characters have risen from varying degrees of nerdy obscurity to take over Hollywood—the idea that the likes of Loki and Ant-Man would be household names was once laughable—their film and TV projects have taken over the city too. The new Super Powers Scavenger Hunt tours filming locations in Midtown, including the spot of the Avengers’ epic battle outside Grand Central Station. Here are a few more places throughout the city where your favorite heroes have done their good work.
1. 177A Bleecker Street
OK, so this first one’s a bit of a cheat because it isn’t a filming location. But it’s important all the same!
In one of the Marvel Universe’s more recent movies, Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch is a New York surgeon who gains mystical powers and decides to fight evil with them. And his very cool magic headquarters, his “Sanctum Sanctorum,” is located on Bleecker, in the heart of Greenwich Village. In the comics, his fancy three-story townhouse with the big fancy window you see above stands at 177A, where some Marvel Comics writers were once roommates.
While the movie places his Sanctum Sanctorum in the same place, it never filmed in the Village, opting instead for Hell’s Kitchen and the Flatiron District.
2. Joe’s Pizza
Just a couple blocks away is a famous pizza joint, generally considered among the best slices in the city. Joe’s Pizza, at 7 Carmine St., employs one Peter Parker as a delivery guy in Spider-Man 2. Unfortunately, he’s too busy helping people in need to deliver ’za in a timely manner, so his boss (a then-unknown Aasif Mandvi) kicks him to the curb.
3. Flatiron Building
Speaking of bosses who don’t care for Peter, J. Jonah Jameson spends most of his time in the original Spider-Man trilogy at the Flatiron Building, which stands in as the offices of the famed Spidey-trashing tabloid, The Daily Bugle.
Incidentally, it’s also the HQ of Channel 6 News, where intrepid reporter April O’Neil works in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
4. Rockefeller Center Rooftop Gardens
You might not even realize Rock Center has rooftop gardens, but super-hero location scouts sure do. The perfectly manicured private gardens atop 620 Fifth Ave. appear in Spider-Man, as Spidey drops off Mary Jane after saving her from a Green Goblin attack in Times Square. They also host not one but two villainous schemings in Netflix’s Marvel shows, first with the Kingpin in Daredevil and then with Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra in The Defenders.
5. Columbia University
In the comics and movies, Peter Parker takes high-school field trips to, and later attends, Empire State University, a fictional version of NYU in Greenwich Village. In Spider-Man, though, Columbia University provides the setting for ESU. Peter meets Norman Osborn on the steps of Low Memorial Library before heading inside (to the interior of museums in L.A., booo) and getting bitten by a radioactive spider.
6. Staten Island Ferry
OK, this is a fresh one. This summer’s Spidey reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, features the Staten Island Ferry in a major fight scene with the Vulture. Now, when the ferry’s in one piece, that stuff was filmed on the ferry. When the big bad cuts it in half with a laser? That part’s an elaborate set re-creating the ferry.
Side note: Cars appear on the ferry in the movie, which is a bit of a stretch. Vehicles were banned from the Staten Island Ferry over security concerns after 9/11.
7. Ellis Island
A ride on the ferry affords you a decent view of Lady Liberty, which everyone knows played host to the climactic battle between the heroes and Magneto in the first X-Men film. Some forget, though, that Ellis Island also featured in the film. Magneto’s plan centered on using a machine, hidden in the statue’s torch, to mutate world leaders gathered for an event on the island next door. Dozens of extras can be seen freaking out as the glowing energy from the machine approaches them. Suitably, the New York premiere of X-Men was held on Ellis Island.
8. Roosevelt Island Tramway
This aerial gondola thingie carries passengers alongside the Queensboro Bridge to Roosevelt Island. And in Spider-Man, the Green Goblin throws Mary Jane off the bridge and cuts the tramway cables, trying to force Spidey to choose between saving one life and many. In the movie, he heroically saves everybody. In reality, some New Yorkers probably weren’t too fond of him—filming on Spider-Man shut down the tramway for weeks. Ouch.
9. Eat & Drink Like a Netflix Hero
The heroes of Netflix’s Marvel shows—Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders—spend a lot of time in bars and restaurants. Some are real, some are fictional. Here’s a few of them:
- Josie’s Bar, a Hell’s Kitchen dive bar where Daredevil and his friends hang out, is really Turkey’s Nest Tavern in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
- Luke Cage’s bar in Jessica Jones (before it gets blown up) is the oft-filmed-in Horseshoe Bar, aka 7B, aka Vazac’s, in the East Village.
- Genghis Connie’s, the Chinese restaurant in Harlem above which Luke Cage lives (before it also gets blown up), is filmed at La Dinastia, a Latin-American and Chinese place at 171st and Broadway.
- The outrageously colorful Indian restaurant Matt Murdock takes Karen Page on a date in Daredevil is Milon, in the East Village.
- Square Diner, next to Finn Square in Tribeca, sees Matt Murdock and his ninja assassin girlfriend Elektra grab a bite here in Daredevil. (Fox’s Batman-when-he-was-a-little-kid show Gotham has also filmed there.)
- As for Royal Dragon Chinese Restaurant, where all four heroes come together to form the Defenders and fight off ninjas? Sorry, that was filmed in an old car wash in Brooklyn.
Find More Heroes on the Super Powers Scavenger Hunt
The new Super Powers Scavenger Hunt takes players around Midtown and through Grand Central to find fun secrets and the film locations behind movies like The Avengers, Superman, Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Fantastic Four. Players also show off their own powers and heroics with fun team photo challenges. It’s a perfect way for adults and kids to see the sights and tap into their inner super hero together.