“Do you know what? We are going to seduce them. We’re going to seduce them with our square footage, and our discounts, and our deep armchairs, and…our cappuccinos!” – Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) in You’ve Got Mail.

This was Fox’s animated strategy for attracting customers to his big bookstore, modeled after the Barnes & Noble’s on 66th Street and Broadway, in Nora Ephron’s 1998 film You’ve Got Mail, a version of the play Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo. This would threaten Kathleen Kelly’s (Meg Ryan’s character) small bookstore, “The Shop Around the Corner,” because she cannot compete with Fox and Son’s. The influx of big businesses into the Upper West Side is an important string of narrative in You’ve Got Mail, secondary only to the love/hate relationship between Kathleen and Joe. The battle between small shops and corporate businesses on the Upper West Side (and around the city) is one that continues to this day. In this film locations column, we look at the spots that were featured in You’ve Got Mail, and what they are today:

1. The Shop Around the Corner

La Mode Cleaners, location from You've Got Mail
106 West 69th Street

At the time of filming, this storefront was actually Maya Schaper’s Cheese and Antiques Shop, an equally neighborly and cozy establishment compared to the film’s The Shop Around the Corner. The cheese shop closed when Schaper was no longer able to afford the $11,000 a month rent, and it briefly became Cafe Sonatina. Today, the location of The Shop Around the Corner is a laundromat called La Mode Cleaners.

2. Fox and Sons Books

Century 21 in You've Got Mail on the Upper West Side

In the movie, Kathleen’s smaller bookstore comes into competition with Fox Books. The building used in the film was a former Barney’s that had just been vacated when the upscale chain filed for bankruptcy. When the movie was filmed, Fox Books was a stand-in for the large bookstore chain Barnes and Noble that had entered the Upper West Side in 1995. Ironically, the locale on Broadway (between 66th and 67th) closed in 2011 and was replaced by an even more commercial Century 21. Barnes and Noble was forced to close more than a hundred locations since.

Century 21 has also had a roller-coaster history in New York City, with the very first shop opening in Brooklyn in 1961, then shutting down in 2020. New Yorkers were excited to welcome the chain back to Manhattan when a new Lower Manhattan location opened in the spring of 2023.

3. Cafe Lalo, 83rd Street and Amsterdam

cafe lalo-you've got mail-film locations-upper west side

Walking into Cafe Lalo for the first time, the amount of pies, cakes, and tarts on display is frankly overwhelming. The patisserie, which opened in 1988, has a European-style entrance facing 83rd Street. On its opening, the Cafe was a sign of the gentrification of the Upper West Side but it eventually became a staple of the area. Like many restaurants in New York City, Cafe Lalo was hit hard by the COVID lockdown. The cafe has been closed since 2020, with a sign on the door saying it is closed for renovation. There is currently a court battle between the landlords of the building and the cafe owners over rent payment and repairs.

4. H&H Bagels

Verizon Store in You've Got Mail
The bagel shop was also featured on the TV shows Seinfeld and Friends. The building now sells phones.

Joe’s ‘neighborhood bagel place’ was none other than H&H Bagels, the former titleholder of Best Bagels in New York City. The original H&H opened in 1972 on West 80th Street and Broadway, after Midtown Bagels was purchased by Helmer Toro and Hector Hernandez. Toro took control of the business on the Upper West Side, eventually opening up another store in Hell’s Kitchen and beginning to ship the now-famous H&H Bagels worldwide. The bagel shop filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and the last location closed in January 2012.  A few years later, however, H&H made a comeback. Under new ownership, there are now five H&H locations in New York City, with a 6th set to open in Penn Station in 2024. There are also plans to extend the franchise to 25 new locations nationwide. Google Maps shows that as of March 2023 the ground-level storefront, which was previously a Verizon Wireless store, is now empty.

5. Zabar’s

Zabar's as seen in You've Got Mail
This Upper West Side staple has also appeared on episodes of Will & Grace, The West Wing, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, and Castle. 

Beware the weekend crowds at this Upper West Side delicatessen! Frequented for its bagels, smoked fish, and cheeses, Zabar’s has been in the neighborhood since 1934. It began as a counter at a market run by Louis and Lillian Zabar. Their children succeeded them, and Zabar’s has remained a family-run business. To find out what is happening at the store, check out Zabar’s Blog.

6. Riverside Park

Riverside Park

The scenic ending of the movie takes place in the 91st Street Garden, a privately maintained segment of Riverside Park. A volunteer organization called The Garden People tends to the Sharon trees, hibiscus flowers, and a multitude of other flowers that bloom from spring to fall. This particular garden has been in the Upper West Side since 1984.

7. Gray’s Papaya

Gray's Papaya in You've  Got Mail

Another well-known Upper West Side spot Joe and Kathleen stop at in the film is Gray’s Papaya on Broadway and 72nd Street. This flagship location for the late-night hot dog spot was the first to open in 1973. There used to be a handful of other locations in areas like Greenwich Village and Hell’s Kitchen, but this is the only one currently open.

8. Barney Greengrass

Barney Greengrass

In the film, Ryan’s character agonizes over the opening of Fox Books while eating lunch at one of the oldest delis on the Upper West Side, Barney Greengrass. The deli has been located on Amsterdam Avenue between W 86th and W 87th streets since 1929. Greengrass opened his very first appetizing store in Harlem in 1908. The restaurant is still run by the Greengrass family and is known for its smoked sturgeon. You might spot this location in other television series and films like 30 Rock, Revolutionary Road, and Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close.

9. Riverside Drive

A view of Riverside Drive from the Hudson River

Both Kathleen and Joe live in apartments off Riverside Drive. Kathleen’s apartment is in a brick townhouse at 328 West 89th Street, while Joe’s apartment, in the film, is at 152 Riverside Drive. The actual location used for the entrance of Joe’s apartment building is 210 Riverside Drive along West 93rd Street. This apartment building was built in 1909 and designed by the noted firm of Schwartz & Gross. Another of the architect’s buildings, 55 Central Park West, also had a famous turn on screen as the “Ghostbusters Building.” The apartment building where Joe lives was also used in the movie Baby Mama, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

10. Verdi Square

Verdi Square

Verdi Square, named for 19th-century Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, is located at 72nd Street and Broadway. In the film, this location pops up a few times as we see Kathleen and Joe walk about their neighborhood, and then eventually meet here.

Next, check out 10 NYC Locations Where Iconic Films Were Shot and 10 Film Locations in Brooklyn

Written by Cassandra Munoz with additional entries by Nicole Saraniero