Tomorrow, the anticipated sequel to Coming to America , titled Coming 2 America, will be released from Amazon Studios. Today, we’re taking a look back at where Coming to America was filmed back in 1988, revisiting the filming locations and showing what they look like now! If you are unfamiliar with Coming to America, we highly recommend watching it. Despite the passage of 33 years since it debuted, most of the humor and filming style still works. The main premise is simple: Eddie Murphy is the sheltered Prince Akeem of Zamunda. If you’re wondering where Zamunda is located, it’s a completely fictional African country. Akeem’s father, played by James Earl Jones, is currently king of Zamunda. Akeem is being forced into an arranged marriage with a woman who has been trained her whole life to serve him but he is looking for something more: love.
To find his future bride, Akeem and his friend Semmi, go to the United States. Flipping a coin between Los Angeles and New York City, they end up in New York. Peering at a map, they decide that Queens is obviously where one most go to find a queen. Shenanigans ensue.
You get a sense of nostalgia in the coloring of Coming to America, but overall it holds up pretty well. Many from the original cast from the 1988 movie, including Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones will reprise their roles in the sequel.
In anticipation for the new film, we take a look back at the filming locations in Coming to America and show what they look like now over three decades later! This article was produced in partnership with Highley Varlet, the moniker for a Brooklyn-based duo (Jessie Highley and Mike Varlet) whose project “2020: Total Clarity ” involves a weekly marathon-length walk to discover the five boroughs of New York City. They turn that experience into a multi-disciplinary project which includes a podcast, On a walk recently in Queens, they hit up the filming locations for not only Coming to America but also Men in Black and Goodfellas.
1. JFK Airport Terminal 7
Prince Akeem and Semmi take British Airways and land at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The filming location for the scene is actually Terminal 7, where British Airways is still located today. In the background, as they exit the terminal and hail a cab, you can see the TWA Flight Center in the background. Since Coming to America was filmed, the TWA Flight Center has been transformed into the TWA Hotel.
You also see vintage-looking taxis in Coming to America. During the 1970s and 80s, two types of yellow cabs were on the streets, the Ford Galazy and the Plymouth Fury Threes. “Take me to Queens at once!” Akeem commands his cab driver.