The New York City Locations That Inspired ‘Fantastic Beasts’
The latest iteration of the J.K. Rowling wizarding world franchise, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” opens in the U.S. on Friday. Although the movie has many of the same themes, characters and spells of the Harry Potter world, some things are very different—mainly that the movie takes place in 1920s New York City.
On a new three-hour tour from On Location Tours, visitors to the city can explore the new American wizarding world, including locations that inspired the film and buildings that J.K. Rowling specifically chose to highlight.
The tour not only visits many of the real-life locations that were recreated for the film set—Times Square, the Woolworth Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall Subway Station—it stops at locations that would have been frequented by Scamander, were he real. That includes Lower East Side tenements, underground speakeasies, and Washington Square Park.
The tour takes visitors through New York City’s Chinatown, Bowery, SoHo, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Times Square neighborhoods. It also highlights much of the city’s important early 20th-century architecture that was recreated on the film set.
For fans who want to see a new part of J.K. Rowling’s magical universe, the tour takes place on Thursday and Saturday mornings. Tickets are $45.
For fans unable to get to New York City any time soon, the city's tourism board has also released an interactive, online map of magical 1926 New York, as seen through the eyes of Newt Scamander.
Originally named Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed after The New York Times moved its offices there in 1904.
21-23 West 26th Street was built by brothers William Waldorf and John Jacob Astor III in 1881. The building is currently the publishing company, Writers House, and was used as inspiration for Tina and Queenie's apartment in the film.
The New York Public Library
Built in 1911, the New York Public Library has iconic architecture and an remarkable collection, including The Gutenberg Bible and a signed copy of the Declaration of Independence.
New York County National Bank
The New York County National Bank was built in 1907, and inspired the bank created for the film, Steen National Bank. The bank is key in a scene that sets up the film's adventures.
The Tenement Museum was used as inspiration for Jacob's apartment in the film. The building became a tenement in 1863, and was home to nearly 7,000 working class families over the years, until the building was shut down in 1935. The building has since been converted into a museum.
The Knickerbocker Hotel
Built in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV, The Knickerbocker Hotel offered inspiration for the film's setting. It is rumored that the original dry martini was invented inside the Knickerbocker's ornate bar.
Washington Square Park
The Washington Square Arch was built in 1889 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as president of the United States of America. Originally built out of plaster and wood, the arch was rebuilt in 1892 with white marble.
When completed in 1913, the Woolworth Building was the tallest skyscraper in the world (and it kept the title until 1930). In the film, it is the headquarters for the Magical Congress of the United States of America. J.K. Rowling may have specifically chose this building due to its gothic architecture and an owl depicted on the façade of the building.
124 Old Rabbit Club
124 Old Rabbit Club inspired the underground, wizard's speakeasy the Blind Pig, which Newt, Jacob, Tina, and Queenie visit in the film.
City Hall Subway Station
New York City's first subway station, opened in 1904, is no longer in use. However, visitors can explore the historic City Hall station on a guided tour with the MTA.
Jefferson Market Library
The architecture of the Jefferson Market Library was used as inspiration in the film.
Built in 1902, the Flatiron Building inspired locations and set design for the film.