If you’ve ever watched Gossip Girl, then you know why The New York Palace is so famous. (If you’ve never watched that show, The Palace is where Serena, the main character, and her family lived while their regular apartment was being renovated. The Palace was featured mostly in the first season of the series.)
The hotel sits right behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the more recognizable and iconic entrance is the Madison Avenue Courtyard.
The hotel first started out as a residence called The Villard Houses. It underwent a series of changes from private homes to corporate offices to finally, a hotel. The bottom chunk of the photo above is The Villard Houses – now known as The Villard Mansion – and the rest is the 55-story tower that blends in with it to make up The New York Palace. It has gone under a renovation since they filmed Gossip Girl.
I had quite the interesting experience at The Palace. A really nice security officer started talking to me about Jacques Torres (I was carrying a lot of Jacques Torres chocolate) and then I decided to mention that I recognize The Palace from Gossip Girl. (“I figured”, was his response. Is it that obvious?)
He proceeded to tell me a bit about where they filmed some scenes – in the lobby, what you see above, is where Serena was waiting for Dan to pick her up for their first date in the first season.
The security officer told me after that through this one set of doors off to a corner was where they filmed one of the balls, although I’m not sure which ball he was referring to. He then got a call on the radio and told me to just head on in!
I felt like I should’ve recognized what scenes were filmed there when I walked in, but I can’t seem to pinpoint it.
Now, this place, I recognize. This was where Serena and Nate were running down the stairs after Blair threatened to tell Serena’s big secret to Dan at Bart Bass’ brunch in the first season.
I never caught the security officer’s name, but a big thank you to him for letting me wander around part of the hotel! Of course, I had to trek back at nighttime to see the Christmas tree lit up.
It was quite the painstaking process of taking some of the photos that I captured. People in New York don’t stop for you while you’re trying to take a photo. (Cars don’t either, ha!) Lots of patience was required to get some of the shots with nobody around (or without some blurry head streaking across the frame).
Or, like the photo above, with no cars passing through when you’re across the street!