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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Curated Collections: The Best Holiday Films Set in New York City

Celebrate the season with these films.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to celebrate the holidays than in New York City! Whether ice skating at Rockefeller Center or exploring Bryant Park’s Winter Village, the city has much to offer. Activities aside, there’s no better way to savor the season than to indulge in holiday movies set in the Big Apple. From “Home Alone 2” to “Miracle on 34th Street,” here’s a list of the best holiday films set in NYC.

“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992)

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Bungieman

In this sequel to a holiday classic, young Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is separated from his family once again. While his family plans to travel to Miami for Christmas, he accidentally boards a flight to New York City. He’s reunited with the mischievous villains (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) as he tries to navigate the city on his own. The film includes scenes of popular NYC attractions—the Plaza Hotel, Battery Park, Radio City Music Hall—while Kevin meets new friends and learns more about himself along the way. The height of the film features a beautiful depiction of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree where viewers are reminded of the beauty of the city during the holiday season.

“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” is available on Disney+.

“Elf” (2003)

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Warner Bros. Entertainment

This holiday comedy sees Will Ferrell as Buddy, an elf who embarks on a journey from the North Pole to New York City, hoping to reunite with his biological father. On a journey to spread Christmas cheer, Buddy explores New York, eventually (accidentally) starting a job at a department store. The film features sights of a snowy NYC and even sees Buddy and Santa Claus flying over Central Park on Christmas Eve. This film is perfect for a family movie night, and its humor and storyline make for a holiday classic, making viewers feel a sense of nostalgia and wonder for the city

“Elf” is available on MAX.

“The Night Before” (2015)

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Sony Pictures Entertainment

In this raunchy rated-R holiday comedy, three friends (Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie) spend one last Christmas Eve together as their lives begin to change. The trio spends a night partying and searching for the elusive Nutcracka Ball. While this film is not for all ages, it’s a fresh take on the classic Christmas movie setup and reinforces themes of adult friendship. With scenes of Manhattan’s 5th Avenue and other Midtown locations, this film will surely bring viewers into the city’s spirit.

“The Night Before” is available on Amazon Prime Video.

 “When Harry Met Sally” (1989)

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Shout! Studios

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play this film’s titular characters as the pair meet in a road trip from Chicago to NYC. As they part ways, they meet ten years later and look to remain in a platonic relationship. In a memorable scene, the pair then find themselves in a romantic moment in Manhattan on New Year’s Eve. The film features well-known NYC landmarks such as Katz’s Delicatessen, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Washington Square Park and Coney Island. This classic romantic comedy is perfect for fans of the genre and the city, two aspects geared towards anyone looking for a holiday movie night.

“When Harry Met Sally” is available on Amazon Prime Video.

“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Movieclips

This ultimate holiday classic depicts Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) filling in for an inebriated Santa Claus at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. He regularly works at Macy’s in Herald Square, charming the customers and claiming to be Santa. Many question his mental health as claims lead to a court case to truly understand his identity. The film boasts a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and speaks to the true spirit of Christmas. Featuring scenes of Macy’s department store in Herald Square, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Central Park, the film reminds viewers of the beautiful city scenes with a touch of Christmas magic.

“Miracle on 34th Street” is available on Disney+.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Seaman, Managing Editor
Olivia is a junior journalism student serving her second year as Managing Editor. Outside of The Torch, she is a student ambassador and an Undergraduate Writing Consultant at the University Writing Center. You can find her with a matcha latte in hand, listening to SZA and watching St. John's basketball. Olivia can be reached at [email protected]

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