City

Escape MoHi: The When Harry Met Sally walking tour

This is a series with two functions: 1.) It'll get you out of the MoHi buble and into the city, and 2.) it'll give you an excuse to watch movies and not study. Marisa Brown, senior extraordinaire, presents Escape MoHi: The When Harry Met Sally walking tour. Stay tuned next week for the You've Got Mail edition.

It was a bright and beautiful October morning when I set out on day one of my whirlwind NYC romantic comedy destination tour. My mission? To provide the people of Columbia with weekend tours based on cheesy films.

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Since NYC is basically a film destination in itself, I figured I’d need to narrow my focus, and what better classic NYC rom-com to start with than When Harry Met Sally?

I re-watched the movie (for pure research purposes, of course) and picked five key spots to visit. I also knew that I couldn’t go on this adventure alone, so, like a good student, I brought along my copy of Nicholas Nickleby (which I really needed to be reading for my Dickens senior seminar).

11:00 a.m. I took the 1 from 116th to 86th Street, and walked across the park. If you’re not in a hurry, I’d recommend taking the M4 right outside of Morton Williams, it will only take you eight and a half hours which will drop you off right in front of the first destination.

1. The Temple of Dendur at the Met


Me and my pal Nicky, sort of.

Admission to the Met is free! Thanks, Columbia. The Temple of Dendur is the setting of the paprikash scene, when Harry and Sally talk in funny accents and start to explore their growing attachment to each other. *Sigh*.

For best results, you should bring an animate friend so that you can take dumb pictures and do your best pepper/paprikash impressions.

2. The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park

11:30 a.m Best thing about this tour is that a lot of these spots are really close to each other. To get to the Loeb Boathouse from the Met, walk south down 5th Avenue until you reach the park entrance on 76th Street.

The Boathouse makes its appearance earlier in the movie when Sally meets with two of her friends and laments the end of her relationship with her s*** boyfriend Joe while her friends give her bad dating advice.

3. The Bethesda Terrace & Fountain / The Mall

11:35 a.m. I’m including The Mall here because it’s in every NYC rom-com ever. The Terrace and Fountain (pictured above) feature less prominently in the film: There’s a short scene where Harry and Jess go jogging in super tight workout pants, and, earlier, Harry and Sally go for a stroll around this area. But more importantly, it’s pretty, and it’s free.

4. Katz’s Delicatessen

1:00 p.m. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably heard the film’s most iconic line… “ughhhh.”

Instead of “having what she’s having,” I spent 15 minutes trying to order a slice of chocolate babka that cost a ton of money. If you’re committed to the experience (unlike me) order a substantial meal for lunch. Be prepared to spend; be prepared to coat your internal organs with grease. Overload on napkins to wipe up your mess after you have what she was having.

5. Washington Square Arch

1:45 p.m. I chose the Washington Square Arch as my final spot for two reasons: 1) It acts as a location bookend in the film, and 2) it was closer to the 1 than Katz’s.

You can spot the illustrious arch twice in the movie, first when Sally bids a curt adieu in the beginning of the movie to Harry, expecting never to see him again (oh, Sally, if only you knew), and then toward the end of the movie, as Harry is making a mad dash to profess his love to her.

I realized I’ve spoiled the ending, but if you haven’t seen the film, it follows the standard rom-com plot: boy meets girl, boy and girl hate each other, boy and girl don’t hate each other.

Final thoughts:

  • If you don’t factor in any food purchases, this trip will probably cost you about four or five subway/bus fares, approximately $14 (only $11 with a bit of walking).

  • Bring a friend, not a book.

  • And if you're afraid of getting lost, here's your handy dandy map:

Marisa Brown is a Spectrum staff writer and Barnard senior. She had an entire weekend to read Nicholas Nickleby and wrote this article instead. Reach her at marisa.brown@columbiaspectator.com.

All photos courtesy of Marisa Brown and her trusty assistant, Nicholas Nickleby.

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