TV location tours big attraction for NYC tourists

Fri Nov 6, 2009 12:15pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Climbing the Statue of Liberty or catching the view from the Empire State Building are still top New York attractions but tourists are also scrambling to see where their favorite TV shows are filmed.

Whether it's the exterior of Carrie Bradshaw's Greenwich Village apartment in "Sex and the City" or the Bada Bing club made famous in "The Sopranos," TV location tours are a booming business in the Big Apple.

More than 15,000 people from 40 countries have taken "The Sopranos" tour since it was launched in 2001, and at least a thousand people a week board buses to see the locations featured in "Sex and the City."

Fans are also heading to the swanky Upper East Side of Manhattan to get a peek into the privileged lives of the teenagers in the popular TV series "Gossip Girl."

"We keep our eyes on shows that feature New York City prominently. For "Sex and the City" people considered New York to be the fifth girl character," said Meagan Hess, online marketing manager for On Location Tours, which conducts the tours.

"Gossip Girl takes place in New York City. It plays a prominent role, not only in the settings but in the shaping of the characters," she added in an interview.

Eighty percent of the filming of "Gossip Girl," which follows the lives of Serena, Blair, Chuck, Dan, Vanessa and Nate who are wealthy teens living in one of new New York's richest areas, is done on the city's streets.

"There is a lot of money that goes into the show," said Rachel Moulton, a 25-year-old actress and guide said during a recent tour.   Continued...

<p>Actress Sarah Jessica Parker prepares to act in a scene during the filming of the upcoming movie "Sex and the City 2" in New York September 4, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>