This post will explain how you can find the apartment building used in the hit TV show “Friends”. Tourists from all over the world trek into Greenwich Village in search of the “Friends” Apartment Building at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets. This is a regular stop on the Free Tours by Foot’s Greenwich Village Tour, mostly because it is sought after, but also because it spurs a conversation about NYC apartment living. You might also be interested in finding the Ghostbusters Firehouse.
If you are eager to locate TV and movie locations throughout the Big Apple, then consider taking the On Location’s New York’s TV and Movie Sights Tour or Sex and the City Tour. Get $5 off their tours with promo code FTBF. Reserve here.
These tours are included for free with both the Explorer Pass and the New York Pass. If you are not sure which pass to get, read our comparison post on the different discount tourist passes
It’s located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street. 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. It’s best to use our Google map to get directions to the building.
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. If you are coming from New Jersey or from further north, you might find taking the PATH train to the PATH’s Christopher Street Station. PATH accepts NYC subway MetroCards. Below is a map image showing the subway stations. The red circle in the very left of the map is for the PATH station.
Where did Phoebe live?
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. Fortunately for Phoebe, she was just a 4 minute walk from her pals. If you want to check out her pad, follow the below route to 5 Morton Street, Apt. 14. The address is referenced in an episode called “The One With Joey’s New Brain”. The same question pops up – how did Phoebe, a barista at Central Perk, afford her own apartment on one of the most coveted blocks in the West Village? It’s all about who you know. In this case, it’s Phoebe’s grandmother. Read the explanation of rent-stabilized apartments below.
Though few people are surprised that there is no Central Perk on the ground level, it’s quite obvious by visitor’s reactions that they were hoping there might be. Rather than a coffee house below, there is restaurant called the Little Owl. The Little Owl does not resemble the layout of Central Perk, but it’s a place you might want to check out for lunch or dinner. The restaurant has excellent reviews. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first ever Friends episode, a temporary pop up Central Perk opened up in SoHo. It’s now closed, but you never know if the idea might become permanent.
Friends Fountain Central Park
The fountain, in which the cast is frolicing around, that is seen in the opening credits, is NOT the fountain in Central Park. As stated above, the show rarely filmed in New York City. That fountain was on the studio set. The fountain in Central Park is called the Bethesda Fountain and has itself been in countless movies and TV shows.
In the “Friends” television show, the actors are never filmed in New York City. All of the shots were in a studio in California, except for London in the finale of season four. Even the fountain scene opening the show was filmed in California. (image above was taken on our Greenwich Village Tour in 2012)
Several issues arose in depicting the Greenwich Village building as the home for Monica and Rachel, and Joey and Chandler. Monica’s apartment is a two-bedroom unit in an area of Greenwich Village that boasts rents of $3000 a month for a studio apartment. During the program, Monica worked as a cook — Rachel sort of served coffee in the first season — and Monica periodically had no job, or worked at positions that would not support paying the rent on this size apartment. The writers and producers said the apartment needed to be large so the audience could see what the actors were doing. “Friends” was filmed in front of a live studio audience. Action and conversations had to be visible to the audience, so the floor plan of the apartment was wide open and large — it looked nothing like a typical New York City 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.
Some bloggers have said it would have been impossible to obtain the apartment shown at $300 a month, as discussed in the TV program. But, down the block on Commerce Street, a four-bedroom, 1200-square-foot unit rented by an 80-something-year-old gentleman presently is going for around $332, according to the New York Times. Rent control!
Other issues with the Friends Apartment Building are obvious! The apartment has a balcony in the TV series. None exists on the exterior of the building shown. In the first year, the Ugly Naked Guy lived across the street, and the Friends spied on him periodically. In the last few years, Ross lived in the building across the street, and they peeked out into his windows. Not actually possible with the location.
But do not let this deter you from following the Free Tours by Foot tour guide down Grove Street to Bedford Street to view the Friends Apartment building for yourself. Stand outside, and take a photo.
There are many things in the West Village to see, too many to list here actually. Be sure to check out our Things to See in Greenwich Village post. Its also a self-guided tour of the area.
Fans of Sex and the City should also be interested in visiting Carrie’s stoop and Magnolia Bakery, both just a 6 minute walk away. The quickest route is to walk west on Grove Street and turn left (north) on Bleeker Street. Magnolia Bakery is on Bleeker Street and Carrie’s apartment building is at 66 Perry Street (see red circle below). 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.
Fans of the The Cosby Show might be interested in visiting the house used as the home of Dr. Huxstable and family. The Huxstables did not live in Greenwich Village, rather the equally historic district of Brooklyn Heights. To reach the house from the Friends Apartment Building, it’s best to head south on Bedford St until you make a slight right onto 7th Ave. Then, you will make you first right onto St. Luke’s Place (which is also Leroy St.) until you reach 10 St. Lukes Place. The house sits just across from a city park. Like the Friends Apartment Building, 10 St. Lukes Pl. allowed the show’s producers a lot of light for filming.
The Friends Apartment is located in what is today called the West Village, or the western half of the greater Greenwich Village. We have put together a guide to Greenwich Village, which includes a self-guided tour as well has food, hotel and entertainment recommendations. We also have a self-guided tour and guide of the East Village. We would love to show you around on one of our tours of Greenwich Village. We have several that visit the Friends Apartment (see below).
You have several options if you would like to tour TV and movie sights associated with shows like Friends, Sex and the City, Gossip Girls and many others. We will list them below.
By Tour Guide Renée Rewiski + Stephen Pickhardt