With the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Wizarding World franchise finds itself transported into a completely new setting – America! New York City, to be precise. As the first film in the Wizarding World to be set outside of Great Britain, Fantastic Beasts offers a chance to look at the Wizarding community from an entirely different angle.
In the Harry Potter films, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is as much a character as the Human cast. The history of the building, its secrets, and iconic locations are all central to the story that J. K. Rowling told. From the Great Hall to the Forbidden Forest, creating a vibrant, living world was essential to make the story feel “real” to the readers.
And so it is with New York in Fantastic Beasts. But unlike Hogwarts, New York is a real place. Much of the film takes place in recognizable New York locations. And some fictional locations have been given real world addresses. But which ones? And where are they? We look at some of the iconic New York locales that featured in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
From this point, there will be spoilers for Fantastic Beasts! You have been warned!
Seriously, spoilers ahead.
Steen National Bank
Located at 300 W 14th Street, Steen National Bank is Newt Scamander’s first encounter with the New Salem Philanthropic Society. Shortly after arriving in New York, Newt is passing the bank when he stops to watch a rally hosted by Mary Lou Barebone on the bank’s steps. Also present is Tina Goldstein, who is keeping an eye on Mary Lou’s anti-Witch rhetoric.
It is at Steen National Bank where Newt first encounters the No-Maj Jacob Kowalski. Jacob is at the bank to try a secure a loan to open a bakery. Newt also enters the bank in pursuit of his Niffler, who has escaped his magical case and is attracted to shiny objects. During Newt’s attempts to recapture the Niffler, he inadvertently loses an Occamy egg that Jacob finds, bringing them together as Newt apparates the pair of them into the bank vault.
Newt manages to obtain his Niffler and relieve it of the large amount of shiny objects it has collected, then transports himself and Jacob out of the bank before they can be apprehended. Before Newt can Oblivate Jacob, the No-Maj stuns him by hitting him with a case – Newt’s case in fact which is very similar in appearance to his own …
Magical Congress of the United States of America
The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) is located within the Woolworth Building, a 60-storey tall skyscraper at 233 Broadway. Constructed between 1910 and 1912, and officially opened in 1913, the Woolworth Building was the world’s tallest skyscraper until 1930. It is still among the 100 tallest buildings in New York City, and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
During the construction of the Woolworth Building, Wizards infiltrated the construction crews to create a hidden magical building within the confines of the structure. By the time the Woolworth Building was finished, it could accommodate both No-Majs and Wizards. Wizards gained entry by using the correct spells to gain access via a side door. The Woolworth Building houses the American wizarding government and all attendant offices such as the Wand Permit Office.
Newt visits MACUSA twice throughout the course of the film – once with Tina Goldstein after she encounters him at Steen National Bank, and again when he’s brought before the assembled Wizards in the wake of Henry Shaw, Junior’s death.
Second Salem Church
The Second Salem Church, home to Mary Lou Barebone and her adoptive family, is located on Pike Street, not far from the Manhattan Bridge. Mary Lou holds weekly meetings at the church to spread her anti-Witch rhetoric, and uses local poor children to hand out her leaflets in exchange for food.
Tina Goldstein once visited the church after learning of Mary Lou’s abuse towards her adopted son, Credence, and used magic to stop her. The incident caused Tina to be removed from the Auror’s Major Investigation Department, and demoted to a desk in the Wand Permit Office.
It is at the church that Credence unleashes his power as an Obscurial, killing Mary Lou when she attempts to discipline him.
The Goldstein Residence
21 West 26th Street is the home of Wizarding sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein. The apartment is located within a brownstone owned by Mrs. Esposito, who does not allow the presence of men in her property. Tina takes Newt and Jacob to the apartment after they discover that Newt and Jacob switched cases at Steen National Bank, causing some of the magical creatures in the case to escape.
For Jacob, this is the first real taste of the magical world that he has, finding a home where magic is used to do everyday tasks – like baking a strudel. It is also in Tina’s home that viewers first meet Queenie Goldstein, and witness the burgeoning romance between her and Jacob. A romance that is forbidden by American Wizarding law since it bans fraternization between Wizards and No-Majs.
A prop of Tina Goldstein’s MACUSA identity card gives her address as 679 West 24th Street.
The Diamond District is a section of 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Newt and Jacob visit the area on their way to Central Park. While walking down the street, Newt spots his missing Niffler in Voclain & Co, collecting as much of the jewellery and shiny objects that he can find.
A comedic attempt to recapture the Niffler ensues while simultaneously destroying the store. Finally, with the Niffler in hand, Newt emerges triumphant – only to come face to face with New York’s Finest. Newt and Jacob only manage to escape when the police are distracted by an escaped lion from the Central Park Zoo.
Central Park and Central Park Zoo
Newt asks Jacob where a “medium-sized creature” that loves “broad, open plains” would go in New York City, and there’s only one real answer – Central Park. Established in 1857, Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States.
Upon arrival at the park, Newt and Jacob find that his missing creature – an Erumpent in season – has invaded the Central Park Zoo. The beast is looking for a mate, and has cornered a terrified hippopotamus. Newt and Jacob use Erumpent musk to lure the creature away and back into Newt’s magical case.
New York City Hall is located in City Hall Park, not far from the Woolworth Building. Constructed between 1810 and 1812, City Hall is the oldest continuous seat of local government within the United States of America.
Senator Henry Shaw Junior hosts a fund-raising event at City Hall to finance his attempts at re-election. During the event, he is attacked and killed by Credence Barebone’s Obscurus. Shaw had been targeted due to nasty comments he made regarding the Barebone family and their claims of Witchcraft still being present in America while they were visiting his father’s newspaper offices.
The Blind Pig
Run by the Goblin gangster Gnarlak, The Blind Pig is a Wizarding speakeasy located at 124 Macdougal Street. While on the run from MACUSA, and attempting to locate the rest of his missing beasts to prove they are not the cause of whatever is terrorizing New York City, Newt seeks information from Gnarlak.
Ever the opportunist, Gnarlak uses Newt’s desperation in an attempt to get his hands on the Bowtruckle, Pickett, since the little creatures are capable of picking locks. In return, Gnarlak points Newt towards Fifth Avenue as a possible location for his missing beasts. But the Goblin betrays Newt to MACUSA, earning him a punch in the fact from Jacob in the process.
Ginzberg Delaunay, Madison Avenue
A No-Maj department store, Ginzberg Delaunay becomes the surrogate home for an escaped Occamy, and the Demiguise Dougal who takes it upon himself to care for it. Located on Madison Avenue, not far from Macy’s on 5th, Ginzberg Delaunay becomes the site of Newt and company’s attempt to recapture the last escapees from his case.
Times Square is the location of Credence Barebone’s Obscurus rampage through New York City. It is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions. Originally called Longacre Square, it was renamed to Times Square when The New York Times moved into the Times Building in 1904.
The Obscurus terrorizes No-Majs and destroys surrounding buildings. Percival Graves looks on with joy and implores Credence to join him, tempting him with the thought of what they could achieve together. Newt and Tina attempt to stop Credence from inflicting more death and destruction on New York. Tina engages Graves in a duel while Newt attempts to reach out and save Credence from the raw power he is now at the center of.
New York City Hall Subway
From Times Square, Newt chases Credence to the subway station near City Hall. City Hall Station was opened in 1904, but closed in 1945. It was part of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line, but now serves as a turning loop for the 6 Train. City Hall Station was a grand affair with tall tiled arches, brass fixtures and fittings, skylights (which were blackened with tar during the Second World War for safety), and chandeliers.
The subway is the setting for the film’s climatic moments. The duel between Newt and Graves and the death of Credence by the combined force of MACUSA’s Aurors. Most significantly, it is where Graves is unmasked as none other than Gellert Grindlewald. It is from here that Newt releases the Thunderbird Frank, enacting a plan to use its rain-generating ability to disperse diluted Swooping Evil venom on New York’s population to erase their memories of the Obscurus’ rampage.
Kowalski Quality Baked Goods
Opened in 1927 at 443 Rivington Street, Kowalski Quality Baked Goods is owned and run by No-Maj Jacob Kowalski. After the bank turned down his attempts to secure a loan to finance the business, Jacob came into the possession of several silver Occamy eggs. By this point, he had been Obliviated and retained no memory of his brush with the magical world … or so it seems.
Latent memories allowed Jacob to create wonderful baked goods in the shapes of Demiguises, Nifflers, and Erumpents. And when Queenie Goldstein arrived at his shop, Jacob reflexively touches his neck at the point where he was injured by a Murtlap – an event that led to his first meeting with Queenie and developing a mutual attraction in the first place.