One of the greatest and most important films of our time arrives on Amazon Prime today, and to celebrate streaming You’ve Got Mail, we wanted to jump back to 1998 and bask in an era of dial-up, AOL and brick-and-mortar bookstores. A film about the complexities of communication in the early days of the internet, You’ve Got Mail* had a humdinger of a website. And it’s still up today; because everything lives forever on the internet.
It’s a twisty labyrinth of a site with some seriously outdated navigation, so if you’re looking for something specific, you can pretty much throw out the notion of finding it quickly and easily. But the bizarre rabbit hole of cryptic links and a sitemap that more or less resembles any family tree on Game of Thrones makes for something of a delightfully late-‘90s click-and-see adventure. There are also some preciously antiquated landing pages that act as something of a speed bump between the main page and whatever cryptic link you’ve deigned to click on.
As we prepare to revisit the timeless epic of Shopgirl and NY152, let’s take a look at the best parts of the original You’ve Got Mail website.
The Flash Intro
Trust us: Don’t skip it. It’s worth seeing in all of its pixelated glory.
Want to know how You’ve Got Mail came about? This is the spot. The audio snippets don’t work, which is a huge bummer, but this page offers some great insight into how the idea of the film developed and changed from inception to release. There are also some truly adorable quotes from Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, and Delia and Nora Ephron.
Looking to get a better idea of what Joe and Kathleen’s neighborhood looks like? There���s a map with the film’s key locations: Café Lalo, Gray’s Papaya, H&H Bagels, and the garden in Riverside Park. Though some of these locations are no longer open, the map’s like a time capsule of the late ‘90s Upper West Side as we see it in the film.
Who doesn’t love extras? On the site, you can read all of Joe and Kathleen’s correspondence in its entirety. For the You’ve Got Mail completionist among us.
If we’re being honest, this is a pretty weird part of the site. It’s all fan-submitted stories about how people met and ended up together through online correspondence. If you’re someone who loves Missed Connections on Craigslist, this might be something you’ll be into.
Not a bad go-to page when it comes to trying to figure out what to get a kid for a birthday or holiday. This is a book list of some of the titles that show up in the film, along with some old favorites. There are also some links to nonprofit organizations supporting children’s literacy, 2/3 of which still work. The third’s link has changed, but the page can still be found here.