The Location of The Friends Apartment Building in New York City | Sidewalk Food Tours
Greenwich Village – The Logistical Rundown
The friends building is located in Greenwich Village, New York City at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street. Most visitors to the city will find the Friends building easiest to reach via the West 4th Street Station, located on several major subway lines. From this station, the Friends building can be reached from less than a 10-minute walk away.
A second station, Christopher Street, is closer to the Friends building but is only accessible by a single local train.
History & Characteristics of the Building
So, now you know where the Friends building is, you may be wondering why so many people from all over the world still make the effort to visit. Despite first airing in 1994, the iconic television show still remains extremely popular, as evidenced by the crowds of tourists taking photos in front of the building at all hours of the day and night.
The actual Friends building itself is quite nondescript in real life. It is a six-story building, made of tan bricks and was constructed between 1898 and 1899, according to records from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. It is described as an ‘old law’ or dumbbell tenement, as the city’s local laws at the time required all buildings to provide a cut-out air shaft as a window and ventilation for the rooms inside. This feature makes the Friends building look like a dumbbell when viewed from above.
The other distinguishing feature of the otherwise unremarkable building is the round-arched windows on the third and sixth floors. The Friends building first appeared in a three-second shot in the very first episode of the television show and remained a key location of the sitcom until its finale ten years later.
So…. Why is it still such a popular site to see?
When it comes to why the TV show is still so popular there are a few reasons behind it. The show still makes Warner Brothers around $1 billion dollars a year in revenue and has captured the hearts of a new generation of 20-somethings, despite most of the original fans when the show first aired now being in their 30s and 40s. What keeps Friends popular, and attracts tourists to the Friends building, is the timeless relatability of the show and its characters. Friends harkens back to simpler times in the 90s, to a world before the internet and social media. Things were cheaper, and life was slower, and the nostalgia for the time that show was set lives on, even if most of the show’s newer fans weren’t even born when it first aired.
The characters and storylines present a portrayal of the directionless-ness and aimlessness of young adulthood that many new viewers today can still relate to. Amidst all the chaos and establishing yourself in your career, the platonic friendships portrayed in the show provide a kind of stability and structure that is often lacked elsewhere in the lives of young adults. Despite the fact that being able to afford a big apartment in New York City on a server’s salary, and having time to just ‘hang’ and ‘chill’ isn’t really realistic, the show presents an aspirational way for young 20-sometimes to live. The show provides the perfect blend of escapism and reality for young adults, and that is why it continues to do so well, even almost 20 years after the final episode.
The popularity of the show and its status as a cultural phenomenon is what keeps visitors to New York City asking where the Friends building is located, and flocking to take photos and record memories there. Capturing themselves outside the iconic Friends building allows fans of every generation to insert themselves into the show, even if in a small way. It allows them a way to capture a piece of fiction in their real lives, making the stories told in Friends even more relatable and compelling to fans.
Check Please. Reality Check, that is 🙂
Of course, even despite being shot in the 90s when things were cheaper, one question that still arises amongst visitors to the Friends building is how the cast could really afford to live there. The area where the building is located in Greenwich village has astronomical rent costs of up to $3500 a month for just a studio apartment.
Many fans have noted that it would be impossible to afford the apartment for just $300 a month as mentioned in the show, even in the 1990s. However, on Commerce street nearby, an elderly gentleman was said to be renting a 4 bedroom 1200-square-foot unit for $332 according to the New York Times. The reason for this was said to be down to the city’s rent control laws.
The producers of the show explained the problem of affordability by having the Friends building being an illegal sublet from Monica and Ross’s grandmother. As a rent-controlled unit, the Friends building was just about a realistic living location for the cast of the show, although it still requires a degree of suspension of disbelief to place the characters living there.
You still gotta go!
To make up your own mind about the Friends building you’ll just have to visit it yourself at where it is located at 90 Bedford Street, Greenwich Village next time you stop by New York City.