There are few city’s as magical as New York at Christmas. Every year, the city – suddenly filled with glittering evergreens, warm-lit window displays, and impressive festive streetlights – takes on a hearty glow, throwing off the bitter cold of midwinter.
It’s no wonder, then, that Chris Columbus (no, not that one) decided to use New York City as the setting for the sequel to his immensely successful family comedy, Home Alone. The premise is, of course, utterly ridiculous. How a family who, just a year before, had left their youngest son to fend off home invaders in the Chicago suburbs, then managed to lose him yet again on the way to Miami the following year is beyond me. Regardless, it makes for one hell of a festive watch.
After inadvertently boarding a flight to New York, Kevin (Macauley Culkin) is separated from his family and winds up alone in the big apple. Thankfully, he’s got his dad’s bags and soon embarks on the holiday he’d been vouching for all along; one full of toy stores, chilly strolls through the big city, and all manner of other festive delights.
Unfortunately, Harry and Marv, the home-invaders Kevin left black and blue the previous year also happen to be in New York for Christmas. It wouldn’t be Home Alone without the imminent danger of kidnapping, after all.
As well as being a deliciously warm and gooey festive treat, Home Alone 2 also shows New York in all its glory. Kevin spends most of his time wandering around, taking snaps and generally soaking up the Christmas atmos. Here, we’ve put together a little festive stroll for any of you who happen to be in New York for Christmas. So, if you’re looking to escape your hopeless family, look no further. We’ve got you covered.
Kevin McCallister’s New York:
Radio City Music Hall
One of the first things Kevin does when he finds himself alone in New York is to take his chunky polaroid camera and see the sights. Pleased as punch not to be spending Christmas in a tropical climate, we see young Kevin take in some of the most iconic sights in the big apple, including the famed Radio City Music Hall.
This beautiful art-deco inspired building was dreamt up by Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey in the 1930s, and since then has hosted some of the biggest theatrical, art and music events in America, including concerts by Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, and more recently, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.
Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 1002.
Website: Radio City Music Hall
On his solo expedition around New York, Kevin makes a trip over to Manhatten’s upmarket west-side, where he picks up a flyer from a Santa Clause on stilts. This stylish American Diner is still open today and serves a mouthwatering menu of Brunch items, salads, and small plates.
A neighbourhood mainstay since 1976, The Empire Diner makes for the perfect place to grab something to eat before you weave your way along the glorious Highline – the elevated linear park that slinks its way through the Meatpacking district, beneath Chelsea Market, and along the Hudson River. Kevin wouldn’t have had the chance to take in the stunning views offered by this lush aerial pathway, but you sure as hell can.
Address: 210 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011.
Website: Empire Diner
The Plaza Hotel
One of the most important locations in Home Alone 2 is of course the magnificent Plaza Hotel, where Kevin indulges in the “most exciting hotel experience” in America. With his dad’s credit card in hand, Kevin books himself into room 411, one of the most extravagant suites in the building -complete with a giant bed, ensuite bathroom, and ice cream by the bucket load.
Ever since it was opened in 1890, The Plaza Hotel has been an iconic feature of the New York skyline, famed for playing host to the city’s rich and famous. Indeed, one of the opulent guest rooms was once resided by the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who captured the hotel in all its glory in his landmark work The Great Gatsby.
Address: 5th Avenue at, Central Park S, New York, NY 10022.
Website: The Plaza Hotel
Central Park makes a number of appearances in Home Alone 2, with Wollman Rink and Central Park South being the most memorable examples. It is by the Wollman Rink, with wobbly skaters gliding ahead of them, that Harry and Marv hatch a plan to catch Kevin once and for all.
The Wollman Rink has been around since the 1950s when it was carved out of a chunk of the Pond. Until 1980 it was also used as a concert space for some of the biggest jazz artists of the day including Billie Holiday, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Dinah Washington and Stan Getz. From 1977 to 1980 the rink also saw concerts from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith, Led Zeppelin and The Beach Boys.
Address: 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065.
Website: Wollman Rink
FAO Schwarz (Duncan’s Toy Chest)
The scene inside Duncan’s Toy Chest is surely one of the most iconic in the Home Alone canon. After eating his own cheese pizza in the back of a chauffeur-driven limousine, Kevin finds himself inside one of the most magical toy stores he’s ever laid his eyes on, the benevolent owner of which seems perfectly fine with Kevin buying a pretty gnarly looking Swiss army knife without much of an explanation.
In reality, Duncan’s Toy Chest (or its facade, at least) is actually a Chicago institution. The store Kevin goes to, is most probably FAO Schwarz, which lies just opposite the Plaza Hotel. Why he didn’t just walk, I don’t know.
Address: 30 Rockerfeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112.
Website: FAO Schawrz