“AHOY SEXY!”: NYC Film Locations for Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha

Noah Baumbach’s 2013 comedy-drama Frances Ha, follows a 27 year old directionless alternative dancer named Frances (played by the director’s wife Greta Gerwig), who is trying to figure out her life. We watch as Francis tries to get it together in Sacramento, Paris, Upstate New York. and of course, NYC.

Shot in black and white, reminiscent of Woody Allen’s Manhattan. This film could have easily fallen into being labeled “White People Problems: The Movie,” but is actually a funny and insightful coming-of-age tale that many of us can relate to. Here are 10 NYC locations for Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha.

1. Tompkins Square Park

Frances HA-Untapped Cities-Christopher Inoa-Greta Gerwig-Noah Baumbach-Thompson Square Park-NYC-Film Locations-Alphabet CityFrances and Sophie fake fighting (Photo via IFC Films)

Seeing two grown women play fighting in the park maybe odd to some people. However in this East Village park, it is most likely something frequent visitors have seen numerous times. Known for having interesting groups of people walking by it throughout the year, the park serves as one of the best places in the city to just people watch. Punk rockers, break-dancers, drag queens, jazz musicians,  and artists are just a fraction of the people you can see on a daily basis. If you want to tap dance while your best friend/roommate plays a small banjo for change, you can just head to the park located on East 9th Street.

Check out vintage photos of Tompkins Square Park from the 80′s and 90′s. 

2. Oliva Restaurant

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Baumbach continues this montage of the friendship between Frances and Sophie. The roomates run seemingly from Tompkins Square Park to the Second Avenue F train station, passing by this now closed Spanish restaurant, located on the corner between  East Houston and Allen. The restaurant, which featured eye popping murals on the side of the eatery, closed after ten years. The restaurant has reportedly been turned into a Mediterranean restaurant now.

3. Frances and Sophie’s Apartment

Frances Ha-Greta Gerwig- Noah Baumbach-NYC-Untapped Cities-Vanderbilt-Brooklyn-Film Locations-IFC FilmsSophie and Frances (Photo via Film Captures)

After their ride home together, we see how life is in the apartment of Frances and Sophie. Yoga, Frances reading aloud, Scrabble, and smoking from different windows, the two seem inseparable. While the apartment number is never revealed, the address for the building is 682 Vanderbilt Avenue at Prospect Park, Brooklyn where Frances and Sophie live at the beginning of the film.

4. East Broadway F Train

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At this point in the moviel, Frances has broken up with her boyfriend and gone to a house party with Sophie where she meets characters we will run into later on in the film. Before Sophie realizes that the F is not running, Frances is performing an act we at Untapped would not recommend doing, especially since someone died last year doing the exact same thing. This very funny, and dangerous act was performed at the East Broadway stop on the F train.

5. Bryant Park

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The blissful world of Frances and Sophie is about to come to a heartbreaking reality, as Sophie is going to “dump” Frances and move in with someone else in Tribeca, a place in the city that Frances can not afford. Before the confrontation, Frances and Sophie enjoy a playful lunch in Bryant Park. The privately managed park located in midtown Manhattan is built over the NYPL archives and a former cemetery. The park was closed during the eighties due to the building of the archives. Read more secrets of the New York Public Library.

6. Azul Bistro

Frances Ha-Azul Bistro-Adam Driver-Greta Gerwig-IFC Films-Untapped Cities-NYC-LESLev and Frances (Photo via IFC Films)

Frances is not someone rolling in money, so like the rest of us, when we get a tax rebate, we splurge. She calls on Lev, a guy she meets at the house party earlier in the film and who delivers the now infamous “Ahoy Sexy” text message out for dinner. Sadly, her credit card does not seem to be working (and the place does not take debit cards for some reason), which causes Frances to race across the LES for an ATM. The restaurant the two eat in is the Azul Bistro: an Argentinean bistro, located on 152 Stanton Street.  

7. M.A Grocery

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What grocery store in NYC hasn’t got an ATM? Apparently this local LES grocery shop does not as it is the first place Frances goes in search of a place to withdrawal money.

8. 22 Catherine Street

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Frances was worried about finding an apartment since Sophie was moving out. After turning down Lev’s sexual advances, she finds out that there is a room available in Lev and his friend’s Benji’s apartment. Frances is so excited at the prospect in living in such a cool apartment in Chinatown that she dances her way through Chinatown on her way in. While we do not encourage you guys driving in traffic, if you want to know where Frances second apartment is, look no further than 22 Catherine Street.

9. City Hall Park

Greta GerwigFrancis dancing (Photo via Lisa Thatcher)

Jumping way ahead in the story, as we are not covering locations outside of New York City, Francis is somewhat getting her act together. She finally accepts the office job she is offered earlier in the film, which gives her some much needed responsibility and income. Francis is seen here during her “growing up” montage dancing by the fountain in City Hall Park on her lunch break. The park, surrounded by old government buildings is the perfect place to see NYC government workers and young people, who are hopefully not making the worst mistake of their lives, rushing off to get married. Just below City Park is the famous decommissioned subway station, called the “Jewel in the Crown” of the NYC subway system.

 10. Francis’s Apartment

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The film ends with Francis moving into a new apartment, located on 97 Audubon Avenue in Washington Heights. The witty, quirkly, alternative dancer has managed to get it together and get a place all her own. It is at this moment in the film that we find out the reasoning behind the film’s title.

If you want to know which places around the city the author does his alternative dance, contact @TatteredFedora