New York on Film: Sleepless in Seattle


New York City is probably the most famous city in the entire world, and the amount of films that are either set in the city, pass through the city or depict aspirations to visit the city would form a list longer than your average human arm.

Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle  manages to use the romantic notion of a meeting on top of the Empire State Building, as seen in An Affair to Remember  as the driving force behind the films eventual conclusion where the two protagonists finally meet and fall in love at the top of the same iconic building.

The film itself spends very little time in New York, but the time spent there has such a great impact that a lovers meeting on the top of the Empire State building was refreshed as the most romantic scene for an entirely new generation, exposing even more viewers (beyond those who had experienced Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in Affair to Remember almost 40 years prior) to a city that held this majestic power to change lives, romantic trajectories and unite kindred spirits.

I first saw this film as an impressionable teenager, in the midst of a Tom Hanks crush.  And it quickly became a high rotation film in my household (much to my poor mothers chagrin) I was captivated by the idea of the magic that could be created by this amazing place, New York City. And from there grew a borderline-unhealthy obsession with New York, be it in films like Fame, Annie Hall, Saturday Night Fever, Tootsie, When Harry Met Sally (I love you Meg Ryan!), Fatal Attraction  The Muppets Take Manhattan,  Shame, American Psycho, and perhaps the most iconic of all, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. No matter the genre, the city became almost a part of me through my relationships with these films.

In 2012 I was finally able to visit New York City for the first time, and you know what? I was a bit let down; the magic of my impressionable teenage years was dulled. I spent 5 weeks searching for that elusive rush I got as a 12 year old girl watching Meg meet Tom for the first time, and the only time I truly felt it? With my own two feet planted firmly on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.


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