Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty
When Newt arrives in New York City by boat (as apparition would have been too risky for such a long distance), he would have passed through customs in Ellis Island with his Muggle-approved suitcase packed with fantastical creatures.
Ellis Island held the promise of a better life for over 12 million immigrants, but receiving entry into the country was no easy feat. For those who made it past medical tests and other severe immigration regulations, newcomers would be granted access to the land of liberty.
The Woolworth Building
After getting caught using magic in front of everyone’s favorite No-Maj, Jacob, and failing to wipe his memory clean, Newt is escorted to MACUSA by a career-hungry Tina, who’s desperate to get back in the Congress’s good graces.
After being inside the building, J.K. Rowling had the Woolworth stamped in her memory. Though it wasn’t just the lavish architecture that inspired the use of the Woolworth as the magical headquarters, but rather a small stone owl above the entryway to the building. For Rowling, it was kismet. “Of course, that’s why the owl is there, so yeah, that’s why,” she remarked in the special features for Fantastic Beasts.
From the outside, the Woolworth looks unassuming, but once a wizard steps up the lobby’s main flight of stairs, they’re transported into a different dimension. “The same building is occupied in different dimensions. So it’s a Muggle building ‘till you know the right way to get in,” said Rowling. The owl is the only visible sign of magic from the outside.
While they don’t allow tourists past a certain point, you can marvel at the ornate detail from the entryway, or from just across the street in City Hall Park.
Getting there: Take the 4, 5 ,6 or R, W trains to 233 Broadway, right across from City Hall Park.
The Lower East Side
The anti-witch organization known as the Second Salemers, are often seen passing out pamphlets in front of their home to expose the truth — that wizardkind is among them.
Getting there: 30 Pike Street between Madison and Henry Street, close to the F line.
124 Rabbit Club
In need of some vital information as to the whereabouts of Dougal the Demiguise, the gang heads down to The Blind Pig, a popular wizard speakeasy, for some answers.
Enchanting. Beguiling. Alluring. Unlike the Harry Potter films, The Blind Pig is one of the few visual moments where we get a true sense of the wizarding world in New York. Stuart Craig, a production designer for the movie, described the grimy feel they wanted for the underground bar in the special features for Fantastic Beasts: “It’s absolutely dripping in nicotine-stained filth, runs, and effervescence from the mortar.” Tinkling glass, scat jazz, and wanted posters add to the sleazy vibe of the underground watering hole that was common in the Roaring Twenties.
Thankfully, we no longer have to drink cocktails in secret as the Prohibition Era is far behind us, but that hasn’t stopped the city from trying to recreate these underground speakeasies. While we don’t have The Blind Pig to patron, we do have a comparable seedy cellar bar known as 124 Rabbit Club nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village. It’s hardly recognizable from the street, and you have to ring a buzzer to enter the dark, dank joint, but folks consider it a New York gem amid the flashier downtown bars.
Getting there: Take the A, C, E or B, D, F, M trains to 124 Macdougal Street, only a few blocks away from Washington Square Park.
New York County National Bank
The Steen National Bank intertwines each of the main characters’ narratives. As Jacob applies for a loan, Tina scopes out the Second Salemers rally on the front steps, and Newt chases his adorable jewel thief, the Niffler, into the bank after he escapes.
Much like the grandiose architecture of the bank featured in the film, the former New York County National Bank is also elaborate in design. Though the building now serves as a residential space, the neoclassical, limestone façade of the bank remains the same.
Getting there: 300 W 14th Street between 8th and 9th Ave, bordering Greenwich Village.
Tina takes Newt and Jacob to her apartment to prevent them from causing more chaos, even though Newt’s more concerned with his beasts still loose around the city.
Tina and Queenie live in a quaint brownstone apartment, which was a popular style home for the middle class in the 1920s as sandstone was a cheaper building material. The Writer’s House, built with a red brick exterior and iron railings, has a similar feel and aesthetic to their apartment in the film.
Now one of the largest literary agencies in the world, the Writer’s House has a long and colorful history. Brothers William Waldorf and John Jacob Astor III built the Victorian-style row house, and by the 1940s it became the Communist Party’s headquarters, where the socialist newspaper the Daily Worker was published.
Getting there: Take the R, W trains to 21 W 26th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue.
Originally known as Longacre Square, the area soon developed into a bustling neighborhood full of frenetic energy as brighter lights, theater advertisements, and a new transit system began to occupy the once open space. By 1905, the New York Times moved their headquarters over to the newly-built Times Tower, thus renaming the district Times Square.
Getting there: 48th and Broadway, close to most major train lines.
The Diamond District
Because Nifflers have a fondness for anything shiny, Newt and Jacob head down to the Diamond District in an attempt to find the magical beast. They find him in the storefront window for Volcain & Co. attempting to steal jewelry from one of the displays.
Stretching down a single block from Fifth Avenue to the Avenue of the Americas, the Diamond District is strewn with stores selling diamonds and fine jewelry. Though the area along 47th Street was hit hard during the recession, New York is still considered to have the largest concentration of diamond traders and jewelers.
Getting there: West 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue, accessible by the B, D, F, M trains.
Newt and the crew head up to Fifth Avenue when Gnarlack tells them there were reports of something invisible near Macy’s, which could only mean his missing creature Dougal the Demiguise. They end up at the Ginzberg Delaunay department store only to find Dougal was not the only beast who was missing.
Home to high-end department stores, mansions, and five-star hotels, Fifth Avenue has become a symbol for luxury and aristocracy. When the socially elite began migrating to this stretch of land, it became known as Millionaire’s Row, where prominent figures such as William Astor could be seen.
Getting there: From West 143rd Street in Harlem to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.
Central Park Zoo
One of the more difficult creatures to capture, Newt tries to lure the Erumpent into his suitcase with “great difficulty” when he finds her hanging out in the zoo.
From snow leopards to the California sea lions, the Central Park Zoo is home to a variety of species and is one of the most-frequented attractions in the park.
Getting there: Between East 61st and 64th Street off of Fifth Avenue.
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