The influence of pop culture is pervasive in our society, with television and movies serving as fodder for companionship and entertainment for many. With the amount of time spent watching TV and the dollars spent watching movies, viewers become familiar with the characters and even emotionally entrenched in the storylines.
Georgette Blau just moved from Connecticut to work in New York City. She then realized that a building in her Manhattan neighborhood was the same one shown on the ‘70s sitcom The Jeffersons. Thinking that it was so cool to live near the building that she watched on TV, she thought that there may be many like her who want to see the actual locations they’ve only seen on TV or in the movies. And New York provided a lot of that.
That gave her the idea of organizing tours to give tourists and visitors the experience of “living” the lives of favorite characters in television shows and movies. She thought that there is a big market for travelers and tourists alike that want to see the New York landmarks and places used in the big and small screens. It would be a different way of seeing New York.
And she was right! She discovered that a lot of New York tourists want to see where their favorite celluloid characters supposedly lived, hanged out with, dined, and shopped. There are many who want to walk in the same streets their favorite characters did.
In June 1999, she started her business offering entertainment-themed tours of New York locations from movies and television shows. On Location Tours http://www.screentours.com/ was born, giving customers the opportunity to feel as though they are part of the TV show or movie they know and love, ultimately bringing them closer to the characters themselves.
She started the business with only $13,000 as her seed money, paid for by credit cards. She used the money mainly for advertising. Blau initially rented a van to offer tour goers the chance to walk past the doorsteps of their favorite television and movie characters and real-life celebrities.
Today, Blau’s company has tour buses to bring their tour goers on a number of tours in New York City. She has also expanded south to Washington, D.C., offering a DC TV and Movie Sites Tour. The tours cater to public audiences, as well as student groups, senior groups, incentive outings, corporate excursions, and more.
Blau started with the New York TV and Movie Sites Tour, which now include over 40 sites from TV shows and movies such as Friends, Ugly Betty, Spider Man, Ghostbusters, and Seinfeld. Her Friends tour includes a visit to the building where Monica, Joey and Chandler lived; and The Sopranos tour includes a stop at the Lodi, N.J., bar that doubles as the Bada Bing strip club.
The $30 Sex tour, however, is her most popular, often requiring reservations 10 days in advance. The tour includes shopping on Bleecker Street, eating cupcakes at the bakery where Carrie and Miranda ate cupcakes, even a stop at the “chi-chi department store where the ladies discussed Alexander Petrovsky.”
Blau’s company also now offers a Central Park Movie Sites Walking Tour, and a new Gossip Girl Sites Tour. Another new addition to Blau’s roster of tours is the Classics New York TV and Movie Tour that include sites from TV shows and movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Taxi Driver. In Washington DC, the tour covers locations for films such as The Wedding Crashers, Independence Day, The Exorcist, and TV shows such as The West Wing and Bones.
To keep up with the fast changing pop culture landscape, Blau’s tour company continuously updates its tours with current films and filming sites, and now even offers tours in several languages!
For Blau, if you film it, they will want to see it — and her On Location Tours will be there to bring them.