Natasha Lyonne as Nadia in the show Russian Doll on Netflix. Photo courtesy of Netflix. 

Earlier this spring, we binged the series Russian Doll on Netflix, produced and starring Natasha Lyonne, and it was amazing. We thought we would do our typical filming locations treatment of the show, but at the time we were not sure if the show was going to have another season. Well, it is! And the first season has just been nominated for 13 Emmy awards.

There are many things to love about Russian Doll: It’s set and filmed almost entirely in the East Village and Lower East Side. It’s definitely a show that takes a concept many of us have thought about – what if we lived in multiple realities and died in some of them, and didn’t in others? But Russian Doll does it creatively and smartly. You’ll find yourselves surprised with every episode, laughing literally out loud and impressed by how well the show’s writers have captured New York City and its quirky denizens. Plus, have to respect a show that manages to weave in a main storyline about bodega cats.

Russian Doll also stars Chloë Sevigny as Lyonne’s mom in flashbacks, Greta Lee from High Maintenance, Dasha Polanco from When They See Us and Orange is the New Black, Charlie Barnett, and more. The premise: Repeatedly, we see Lyonne as Nadia, staring in the bathroom mirror at her 36th birthday party, hosted by Maxine (played by Lee). She turns off the water while there are repeated knocks on the door. The door itself is a trippy art piece made by Nadia and Maxine’s friend Lizzy. Maxine clicks a revolver which is actually the door handle, opens the door as the song “Gotta Get Up” by Harry Nilsson starts playing. She walks through the party saying hello to friends and ends at the kitchen island where Maxine says “Hey Birthday Baby!,” and offers her a joint she says is “laced with cocaine like the Israelis do it.” But strange things happen — and it has more to do than drugs — and this scene which repeats becomes more of a horror each time it takes place. A lot of other odd things happen, which may make you watch your step as you walk through the East Village. So without further ado, here are some of the really unique film locations featured in Russian Doll:

1. St. Nicholas Carpatho Church

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Much of the action takes place in a brick building at the corner of Tompkins Square Park, at the intersection of 8th Street and Avenue B. This building is the St. Nicholas Carpatho Church at 288 E 10th Street, which is still in operation. The interior appears to be a set. In the show, it is said to be a former yeshiva, which could be similar to a building on the other side of Tompkins Square Park at 295 E. 8th Street, the former East Side Hebrew Institute, a Jewish Day School founded in 1910 and located here from 1928 to 1974. The decline of the neighborhood in the 1970s necessitated a move to Gramercy Park to maintain enrollment. The building was converted into condos and offices, and kudos to the script writers for actually including dialogue that speaks to the history of the buildings in the area and making those true facts a key part of the story line.

2. Anwar Grocery

The bodega at 94 Avenue B is a pivotal location for Russian Doll. Like the birthday party, Nadia keeps coming back here. In the first scenario, she leaves the party with Mike, whom she just met. They go to this bodega, filmed at Sunny & Annie’s Deli at 94 Avenue B  where he gets lambskin condoms, she gets Red Bull, cigarettes and some cat food. Farran who works at the bodega brings in a very drunk Alan (played by Charlie Barnett), whom we see for the first time. Nadia asks if Farran has seen her cat Oatmeal, who does a typical loop between her apartment, the park and the deli.

After Nadia and Mike hook up, she orders him an Uber, and gets to work as a video game coder. She runs out of cigarettes, heads back to the bodega, spots Oatmeal across the street, and gets hit by a cab. End scenario one. The deli has particular meaning to Nadia, as we see in a flashback scene with her mother played by Chloe Sevigny.

3. Horseshoe Bar

The loop begins again, but this time at the party she meets Mike but weirds him out by the things she knows about him already. She ditches him and runs into her ex-boyfriend John Reyes, who offers to help her find her cat. They walk past the deli, which is next to the bar 7B, on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue B.

The bar is more commonly known as the Horseshoe Bar or Vazacs, and has appeared in shows like Jessica Jones, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and more. In this loop, John saves Nadia from being hit by the cab when she sees her cat. We come back inside 7B in several later episodes.

4. Tompkins Square Park

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Nadia then walks through Tompkins Square Park and finds Oatmeal. Other scenes take place here as Nadia comes to know Horse, the homeless man who makes the park his home. Tompkins Square Park stretches from 7th to 10th streets from Avenue A to B and has played a central role in New York City’s pop culture past, inspiring figures like Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, as the site of riots, and a vestige of the city’s grittier past.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Tompkins Square Park is also one of the few squares in New York City that is actually roughly square! The show returns several times, filming inside the park and just on the edges of the park.

5. East River Park

With Oatmeal in tow, Nadia makes it to the East River Park esplanade, with the backdrop of the Williamsburg Bridge. All is well it seems in this loop, until a freak accident happens. The loop begins again. Alan comes to this same exact spot in a later episode, and something happens to him too.

6. Chelsea Office Building

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Nadia’s office is at 544 W. 27th Street, in a handsome brick building in Chelsea. She sits in a meeting full of hipster looking coder guys, who use classic startup lingo like “killed it.” She’s told there is a bug in her code, fixes it and gets a call from her drug dealer, from whom she wants to know if there’s more to the joints she smoked. She announces that her drug dealer has called and leaves.

She goes back to 7B where she’s told by her drug dealer that there’s a secret backroom to the bar, accessible with a password. She gets a call back from John, they start arguing she falls into an open cellar door in the ground. The loop begins again.

7. Tiffereth Israel Town & Village Synagogue

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Maxine points Nadia to the organization that used to own the apartment she lives in, in order to try to find some answers about the weird things going down. Nadia goes to the actual Tiffereth Israel Town & Village Synagogue on 14th Street, where she is told the rabbi doesn’t have time for her. Nadia tries to explain that she doesn’t have time and asks John to pretend to be her husband, so he can speak to the rabbi. Buildings aren’t haunted, people are, the rabbi says.

8. Salvation Army Headquarters

Nadia heads to the Salvation Army Headquarters on 14th Street. Landmarked in 2017, the building is designed by Ralph Walker who is the architect behind One Wall Street, the New York Telephone Building at 100 Barclay, and the Stella Tower. Nadia goes to the basement, hoping to avert death, and sees Horse in the homeless shelter. The next morning, she tries to get out of the elevator when Alan enters. Something happens in this elevator…

9. Le Monde Brasserie

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Nadia is meant to go meet John’s daughter Luce at Le Monde Brasserie but things go awry each time this part of the story happens. Le Monde is located at 2885 Broadway near Columbia University.

Other places where the show is filmed include the 2nd Avenue subway station on the Lower East Side and the final scene under a bridge takes place under Riverside Drive. See by watching Russian Doll!

Next, check out more NYC Filming Locations for your favorite shows!  

2 thoughts on “NYC Filming Locations for Russian Doll on Netflix

  1. I think the first location is incorrect. Maxine’s apartment building looks more like the building at 10th and A, St. Nicholas Carpatho Church. The windows (including AC units) and surrounding buildings match up better, and it’s the address stated on the show.

    1. Yes you’re right! I was thrown off by the yeshiva –> apartments connection, which is like the building on the other side of the park. But the exterior is definitely St. Nicholas! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *