Before they were sent up the river, many of the inmates of Orange Is The New Black (OITNB) lived, worked, and got in trouble with the law in New York City. Unlike other shows set in The Big Apple *cough* FRIENDS *cough*, OITNB actually films there too. That means that, if you’re so inclined, you can hunt down the real locations that changed the lives of Lichfield Prison’s convicts.
Get your walking shoes on and top up your Metro card, folks. We’re going on a field trip!
Stop 1. Grace United Methodist Church, Park Slope. We start off in Piper’s neighborhood, the affluent Park Slope. Some scenes were actually filmed at the church. While you are here, keep your eyes peeled for local resident Piper Kerman, the real life counterpart to our wayward protagonist.
Stop 2. North 5th Street Pier Park, Brooklyn. Still following in Piper’s footsteps, our next stop takes us to the spot where she wolfed down a Storky’s burger (and a Colt 45) during her furlough. Incidentally, if you look north along the East River, you’ll see the industrial lot where Chang saved her brother’s partner’s life with a bat.
Stop 3. Financial District, Manhattan. Hopping across the East River, our next stop is the scene of Soso’s arrest during the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Stop 4. National City Bank of New York; TriBeCa, Manhattan. Just 15 blocks north of Soso’s arrest, we find a much more violent crime scene. The now-defunct bank at the corner of Canal St and Lispenard St was one of many financial institutions that Rosa knocked over in her younger years.
Stop 5. Murray’s Bagels; 242 8th ave, Manhattan. While Piper’s ex, Larry, has been known to frequent Murray’s with Polly, we’re actually in Chelsea because this is the neighborhood in which Nicky stole (and immediately crashed) a cab as she was trying to get to the Upper East Side. The scene was actually filmed in Astoria, Queens; so don’t go looking for the Athens Cafe in this part of town.
Stop 6. Barclays; 745 7th Avenue, Manhattan. Sticking with Nicky for the moment, our next stop is her family lawyer’s office. You can see Times Square from the windows in the scene, and the view seems pretty in keeping with the location of Barclays. Incidentally, Nicky was also in Times Square when she “borrowed” the money from her mother’s purse “in order to bail her friends out of jail.”
Stop 7. Great Lawn Softball Field 7; Central Park, Manhattan. This one took a bit of digging, but we’re pretty sure this is the location of Taystee’s very first contact with Vee. Head west and a little north and you’ll find a Michaels Craft Supply on Columbus Ave and 100th St, quite possibly the one which Taystee went to after she’d become part of Vee’s “family.”
Stop 8. 215 W 114th St; Harlem, Manhattan. Just a few more blocks north, this is our pick for the school outside which Vee and Taystee meet while Taystee is working at Storky’s. The gentrified nature of the neighborhood only speaks to how well Vee was able to keep her business under the NYPD radar for a while.
Stop 9. Bennett Park; Washington Heights, Manhattan. Heading quite a bit farther north on Manhattan, we next arrive in Gloria’s neighborhood. While it isn’t precisely stated in the show, we’re fairly confident that this area’s concentration of Dominican residents along with a park that looks pretty similar the one in the episode “Low Self Esteem City” from Season 2.
Stop 10. Rosario’s Deli; 22-55 31st Street, Astoria, Queens. Astoria is a popular filming location for OITNB, but for our last stop of the day, let’s head over to the real-life counterpart to Dmitiri’s Russian Market. The market is just under the Ditmars Blvd. subway station and, contrary to Dmitiri’s, is still up and running. Grab a sandwich and head west on Ditmars and you’ll soon find yourself at Astoria Park, scene of the notorious punch. The park has a great view of the Manhattan skyline, so grab a bench and watch the sun go down. You’ve done it!
BONUS: Sparrow Tavern. Need a drink after all that travel? Head over to Sparrow, the bar where Piper first locks eyes with Alex. Who knows? Your next big adventure might be waiting for you there.
Know of another NYC location connected to the convicts of Orange is the New Black? Let us know below!