Photo courtesy Amazon Studios

The Amazon Original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is back for its second season! The show takes place in New York City in 1958, is part Mad Men-esque in its mid-century setting, part La La Land in its theatricality – minus the singing, though it often feels like song and dance might break out any minute. These elements combined may seem cringeworthy, even to us period drama obsessed folks here, but the superb acting and comedic timing of the cast, led by Rachel Brosnahan of House of Cards, Tony Shalhoub of Monk fame, and Luke Kirby of Rectifyalong with the spunky writing of Amy Sherman-Palladino, make this show a sleeper hit. In fact, it was one of Amazon’s most highly-reviewed pilot episodes (with a customer rating of 4.9), when it premiered in March 2017. The full first two seasons are now available on Amazon.

The premise: Upper West Side housewife Miram “Midge” Maisel, of an esteemed Jewish family, seems to have it all – a successful husband, a great apartment, two kids. Her husband Joel has taken on what Midge thinks is a hobby – doing standup comedy at the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village but it turns out he’s been straight up stealing routines from famous comedians. This leads to a comedy of errors, whereupon Midge drunkenly takes the stage showcasing her natural talent.

In the second season, Midge’s mother Rose has hightailed it to Paris to rediscover herself, while Midge is working as a telephone operator at B. Altman’s department store and honing her skills in her burgeoning comedy career.

Here are the film locations seen in the second and first seasons!

Season 2

1. Old Town Bar

Joel, Midge’s estranged husband and his friend Archie, commiserate at Old Town Bar at 45 E. 18th Street, one of the oldest bars in New York City. It’s Joel’s favorite spot, where those close to him know they can call and find him there. In season 1, Joel’s secretary/paramour Penny Pann calls, in season two it’s his mom.

Old Town Bar opened in 1892 as Viemeister’s. Like many of the other bars on this list, it survived Prohibition by becoming a speakeasy under the name Craig’s Restaurant. The mahogany wood and marble bar, 55 feet long, tiled floor, wooden booths (where alcohol was stored in a compartment underneath the seats during Prohibition), vintage cash registers, and historic mirrors, make Old Town Bar a popular film location in New York City for period pieces.

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12 Responses
  1. John Grant Reply

    My kids got me to watch this show. Now I see why: this your life, Dad! I took a class in that Havermeyer classroom, which oddly is on the ground floor coming from the upper campus. But I probably spent more time in McSorley’s and the Old Town Bar, which have survived unlike the some of the other iconic establishments like The Stage Deli and B. Altman’s. Great article.

  2. Really enjoyed your piece. As regular visitors to ny we love chasing up authentic old places. Now we’ve got a few new ones to find. Keep up the good work

  3. Women were not permitted in McSorley’s until 1970. It took a suit brought by NOW (National Organization for Women) to open the doors.

      • They do name the bar in the show- they say they are going to The Cedar, which was a real bar, now closed – but the scene was filmed in McSorley’s

        • Thank you – that makes sense. I’ve never seen the show. With those artists it could only really be the Cedar (at least the mythic Cedar), but did they make McSorley’s look like the Cedar? They really don’t look at all alike (I used to go to both in the 70’s).

          • no – McSorley’s looked exactly as it does now (and always has looked for that matter)

          • raphael

            no – McSorley’s looked exactly as it does now – and has always looked

          • Raoul/Raphael, huh that’s weird. They are/were each unique – it would have been better to recreate the Cedar on a soundstage than fake it in a bar that looks nothing like it.

  4. Lady Feliz Reply

    Subway roll signs NEVER would say “IRT Broadway” on them. The division was already known by the rider. It would just say “Broadway Local” or “7th Ave Express” or some other designation. And that’s a BMT train she’s riding on anyway. Ugh, yet another reason to not watch this show.

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