Movie Moments in Central Park

I spend a lot of time in Central Park. It’s where I go running. When the weather is nice, I take a meandery 45 minute walk through the park to or from work. It’s where I eat lunch when I brought something from home but I still want to get out of the office for a bit. I honestly don’t know what I would do without this oasis in the middle of Manhattan!

There are lots of iconic spots in the park. The Alice in Wonderland Statue (I think I maybe saw them filming an episode of Gossip Girl here once but I never watched the show so I can’t be sure), the fountain from Friends (and by “from Friends” I mean the fountain that was replicated on the Warner Brothers lot when they shot the opening credits) and then there’s my favorite…”The Stepmom Castle”:

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It’s also known as “Belvedere Castle,” but I would never call it that! To me, it is the castle where Julia Roberts does an awesome Rapunzel-themed photo shoot and then loses her stepson. She then really lets her southern accent loose as she yells his name: “Ben!! Beeennn!!” In case it’s not clear yet…I love this movie:


It is quite possibly the best movie to watch when you need a good cry. But I will really watch it just about anytime. I can’t even hear the song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” without thinking of this movie. I can’t help but laugh at the very unrealistic depiction of publishing in this movie. (Julia Roberts calls Random House and asks to speak to “the editor.” As if there is only one…hahaha.) I can’t walk by the Conservatory Water with all the remote control boats without thinking of the scene where Ed Harris talks to his kids about their stepmom, Julia Roberts:

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This movie is just ALL over Central Park. And yet…as much as I love “The Stepmom Castle,” I’ve really only ever admired it from afar. (There is a chance this is a lie. I might have gone to it on a high school trip to NYC? But I can’t remember. If any of my classmates can catch me in this lie, please feel free.) So this week, I decided to get up close and personal with the castle.

My journey started out a little slow. I sort of know how to find the castle from the East side, but I was coming from work which means I was on the West side of the park. I knew it was near 79th street…but things got complicated quickly and soon my sister (who I dragged on this excursion) and I were lost in The Bramble. This is a pretty common problem in the park, but my sister was able to get us back on track using Google Maps. (Seriously, what did we all do before Google and GPS and Smart Phones?)

Of course the first thing I wanted to do when we got there was look for Ben:

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Sadly, I did not find him. But that’s okay because neither did Julia Roberts. Even more sadly, I couldn’t get to the part of the castle where Julia actually yells for Ben:

Julia castle

Photo credit for the above. 

Turns out a quick google search would have told me that part was only open from 10-5, Tues-Sun. Oops! I’m not always the most thorough planner. Oh well. The view was still great:

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So in conclusion, I’ve lived in Manhattan for 10 years this month and now I can finally say that I’ve been to my favorite landmark in Central Park. And that timeline is exactly why I started this blog. I’ve still got a lot more to see in NYC…stay tuned!




3 Comments Add yours

  1. Bec says:

    I totally forgot that movie takes place in New York?! I was literally just at Belvedere Castle, I should have done a reenactment as well.
    I remember my mum took my sister and I to see Step Mum at the cinema and it was around the exact time when my dad announced his girlfriend was expecting a baby. The girlfriend was slightly younger and hipper than my mum so the parallels were horrifyingly accurate and awful to watch on screen. Pretty sure we all cried in the car on the way home!!! Feeling very much the uncool Susan Sarandon character, my mum took us to the shelter to pick out a dog the very next day. I’d wanted a dog for years but I can thank Step Mom for finally sealing the deal! hahaha great post


    1. Oh man! It’s clearly an emotional movie, but if it got you a dog then I call that a win!


  2. Bec says:

    Oh absolutely! It’s hilarious to think about now.


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