The series “Only Murders In the Building,” released on Hulu today should tickle the hearts of old New Yorkers (and new). First, the filming locations for the comedic murder-mystery are entirely shot in New York City and the action is set on the Upper West Side. Second, the show is the brainchild of Steve Martin, along with screenwriters Dan Fogelman and John Hoffman. It has an old school vibe in how the show is conceived (narrators included) but is fully set in modern times.
The main characters Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez) live in the same apartment building and don’t know each other but discover they are all obsessed with true crime. When a horrific death takes place inside their building, the trio believe it to be a murder and start a podcast of their own, Serial style, called “Only Murders in the Building” which unveils the secrets of the building and the current case. Martin, a long-time New Yorker, opens with something quintessentially New York and says “Here’s a thing I don’t get. People who worry about living in a big city because of all the crime. As any true crime aficionado will tell you, it’s the boondocks you need to worry about.” Guest stars include Tina Fey, Sting, Nathan Lane and more. Here are the filming locations for “Only Murders in the Building”!
1. The Belnord aka The Arconia
“Only Murders in the Building” takes place in a fictionally-named apartment building called “The Arconia.” The show does not explicitly share the real name of the pre-war Upper West Side building all the action takes place in, but it’s The Belnord at 225 West 86th Street along Broadway. The Belnord was a real estate speculation project by the Astors, completed in 1909 and designed by architect H. Hobart Weekes. It was designated a New York City landmark in 1966. It’s one of the few buildings in New York City large enough to have an interior courtyard where a car can enter and make a loop around, similar to the Apthorp and Graham Court, real estate projects on the Upper West Side also backed by the Astors. All three have a palazzo-like exterior architecture, imposing front gates, and an open-air courtyard to bring in light to the apartments.
The fictional name “The Arconia” certainly evokes the apartment names of the period and is quite close to The Ansonia, another Upper West Side apartment building completed just a few years before The Belnord (and is featured in a black and white photograph in the Arconia lobby). Graham Court was also featured as a filming location in Mozart in the Jungle. Untapped New York writer Julia Vitullo-Martin, who resides in The Belnord, says that only the exteriors and the courtyard were used for the show and the scenes in the elevator. Most of the interior scenes were filmed at 270 Riverside Drive, including the lobby.