Pretend It’s a City! is a new multi-episode documentary on Netflix directed by Martin Scorsese where he follows his long-time friend, writer and humorist Fran Lebowitz around New York. For all those die-hard, true New Yorkers reading this: it’s for you. For those who want to know what New York City is really like, what makes a New Yorker, a New Yorker: this is for you. Fran sums it up succinctly, “New York is never boring.” It’s a love letter to New York with no holds barred. You might not always agree with her (we would love to talk to her about urban design!) but she addresses your disagreement too. The filming locations for Pretend It’s a City are also fabulous: a mix of old New York, new New York, and the very untapped as you’ll see below.

Fran is laugh out loud funny. Even how she walks is funny, which is why Scorsese shoots her just walking around New York. For most of the seven episodes, Scorsese is just laughing at her jokes. In one swoop Fran can point out what’s amazing about the city and what is a legitimate challenge to life here. Her complaining is for sure kvetching, but it’s funny too. She says all the things you are thinking about when you walk around New York, and she’s the ultimate New York observer there is. But, she’s also not a native New Yorker, so we get to hear about what brought her to this city and why she thinks people are still drawn to it. The title of Pretend It’s a City comes from Fran’s observations about people who don’t seem to know how to walk properly through the city’s streets. “Pretend it’s a city where there are other people,” she says, “Pretend it’s a city where people are not just here sightseeing. You know? [People] who have to go places.” We’ve all been there — getting stuck behind tourists trying to take selfies.

We’re particularly excited about Pretend It’s a City because the production team of the show reached out to Untapped New York and we have a photograph inside the documentary! You’ll see what it is below, as we recount all the fabulous filming locations seen in Pretend It’s a City.

1. Panorama of the City of New York

Fran Lebowitz at the Panorama in Queens in Pretend its a CityPhoto courtesy of Netflix

What’s that 3D map of New York City Fran’s standing on you ask? Why, it’s the Panorama of the City of New York, located inside The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, one of our favorite secrets spots. It’s the perfect backdrop for Scorsese to ask Fran about New York City in general. She talks not only about the model itself, but about where she’s lived and how she goes about taking in the city. She pretends to be Godzilla stomping around the city. For those who are our long-time readers, you’ll be delighted to hear her and Scorsese talk about Typhoid Mary, North Brother Island, and other fun secrets of New York. The Panorama model was designed by Robert Moses for the World’s Fair, and she tells The New York Times, “It made you realize that if only Robert Moses had done everything in miniature, we wouldn’t hate Robert Moses.”

Fran Lebowitz in the subway in Pretend It's a CityPhoto courtesy of Netflix

There are many great moments in Pretend It’s a City while she’s at the Panorama, which appears in every episode. When talking about being on the subway, she says, “Most people are on their phones. A few people are reading. But that’s never been me. I am sitting there, and I am just looking at my fellow man. And this is, most of the time, excessively interesting. Too interesting!” Scorsese asks her why people why so many young people come to New York City. She says “New York. That’s what’s here! What’s NOT here? That’s the way to look at it. Wherever they’re from is not here. So they come here.” About New York City’s lack of affordability, she says, “No one can afford to live in New York. But let me tell you, 8 million people do. How do we do this? We don’t know!”

2. The Players

Fran Lebowitz in the Players ClubPhoto courtesy Netflix

A lot of the interviews in Pretend It’s a City of Fran Lebowitz take place in The Players, a members-only theater club located on Gramercy Park. Specifically, she and Scorsese sit in the Grill Room on the ground floor which has the bar and the pool tables, along with Mark Twain’s pool cue hanging on the wall. The location makes sense – it’s theatrical, it’s old New York.

Fran Lebowitz reading in the Players ClubPhoto courtesy of Netflix

Plus, there are tons of fun secrets and knick knack’s all over The Players, including a room frozen in time from when the founder died in it, a poker table belonging to Mark Twain, an elevator nicknamed the “Sarah Bernhardt Room” because she got stuck in it, and much more.

3. Library Walk

One of the first scenes of the series shows the brass plaques along Library Way on 41st Street leading up to the New York Public Library. She jokes about how they can expect anybody to actually read them. Well we did Fran! And photographed all of them! So now all of you can read the plaques from the comfort of your couch.

The focus on the street is part of pattern that appears in the Pretend It’s a City. The documentary opens with Fran walking around New York City and the camera highlights something interesting on the sidewalk that most people would miss.

4. Barthman Clock

Fran Lebowitz stepping on the Barthman Clock Photo courtesy of Netflix

Here’s where our photograph comes into play! Fran walks to the Barthman Clock, a clock embedded into the sidewalk on Broadway and Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan. The William Barthman Jewelers used to be here and although it moved to a location nearby at 20 Broad Street and to Brooklyn, the clock stayed. It gets restored every few years, because not surprisingly, it gets damaged from all the wear and tear of people standing on it.

What happened in the shooting of Pretend It’s a City is that the clock face was cloudy and grimy again, as nearly two years had passed since its last restoration.  So, the production company reached out to us since we have photos of it right around when it was replaced after restoration. And through some CGI work, our photograph was inserted into the shot!

5. Hess Triangle

Hess triangle in Greenwich Village

Another one of those sidewalk spots is the Hess Triangle in Greenwich Village, a 500-square-inch plot of land that has a story that is quintessentially New York. The little plot of land remained in the ownership of a David Hess, whose land was taken by eminent domain for the construction of the subway. He refused to give it up and put up this mosaic triangle to mark the spot. It remained the smallest piece of private property in New York City until 1938, when the David Hess estate sold it to Village Cigars for $1,000.

6. Alexander Calder’s Sidewalk

Another spot on the ground is Alexander Calder’s modernist sidewalk, located on Madison Avenue between 78th and 79th Streets. The artist, usually known for his mobiles, created this terrazzo sidewalk on a commission from the galleries on the street. Fran spends a lot of her time around Midtown where she lives so she is seen her walking to the Times Square theater district. She jokes that in order to avoid Times Square, she walks all the way up to 125th Street and back down.

7. Max’s Kansas City

Fran talks about Max’s Kansas City, an iconic music venue in the 1970s frequented by the likes of Andy WarholPatti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg and William de Kooning, along with musicians like David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Max’s Kansas City was located at 213 Park Avenue South just north of Union Square. Today, the ground floor has a bodega named Fraiche Maxx, funny enough.

8. Village Vanguard

The documentary also shows archival footage of the Village Vanguard, a jazz club in Greenwich Village that is still in operation. More contemporary audiences may know it for also appearing in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

9. Picasso Sculpture at NYU

Fran walks amidst the I.M. Pei and James Ingo Freed (of Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners)-designed portion of NYU where there is a Picasso sculpture hiding in plain sight! Picasso created the sculpture with Carl Nesjär.

10. New York Public Library

Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz in the New York Public Library stacksCourtesy of Netflix

Some other great filming locations in Pretend It’s a City include Lincoln Center, Grand Central, Soho, Times Square (which she hates) and the New York Public Library.

Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorsese in Pretend It's a City Courtesy of Netflix

Enjoy Pretend It’s a City! now streaming on Netflix. Check out more in our Filming Locations column!