Bingewatch These Shows To Explore New York Through The Ages

Bingewatch These Shows To Explore New York Through The Ages
New York is the city of dreams for many, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

New York through the lens of your beloved TV shows

Roshni Subramanian
January 13 , 2020
07 Min Read

Love it, hate it, but you can’t ignore it! If there’s one city in the world that fits this bill in every respect, it’s NYC. Alicia Keys was quite on point when she said it’s the concrete jungle where dreams are made. A symbol for the ‘American Dream’, what makes New York iconic is a difficult question to answer because the list is endless. From its high-rise buildings to its ever-evolving skyline, the Big Apple is as exciting as a city gets. Movies and TV shows over the decades have tried to capture the real essence of the city. Be it the old-school classic Odd Couple or the dramedy Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, the city of New York on celluloid is truly travel goals. 

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Mad Men, an award-winning period drama portrays an authentic picture of Manhattan in the 1960’s. Creator Matthew Weiner’s projection of the ad men of Madison Avenue sums up the pop culture of that era and exposes the viewers to the classic Manhattan scene. Some excellent sets, props and costumes have gone into the portrayal of the vintage Manhattan bars, restaurants and hotels which pretty much encapsulates New York’s charm back in the day. Covering bold themes like sexism, racism and homophobia, the series provides a window into an era mainly known for larger-than-life happenings.


The 1970’s on the other hand is one of the most tumultuous periods that the city has ever witnessed. The Deuce, a show set in Times Square, in the heart of New York City, perfectly recounts the turn of events and offers an insight into the grim realities of the sex-trade industry during those days, in addition to exploring themes like police corruption, violence of the drug epidemic and the legalisation of the porn industry that shaped a major part of 1970’s NYC. 

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New York in the 90’s is every millennial’s dream destination. From Friends to Seinfeld, the decade gave most of us some serious life goals as well as travel goals. While the adventures of Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, made us yearn for the quintessential New York experience, it was the hit sitcom Seinfeld that brought hordes of tourists to the Big Apple. Set in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, though it has often been described as a show about nothing, New York essentially serves as one of the characters throughout the show. The nineties nostalgia has a special place in everyone’s hearts. And thanks to platforms like Netflix and Prime, the memories of 1990’s New York are still quite fresh.

By the 2000’s, New York had gained a completely new identity. Labelled as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, our window into the NYC culture were shows like Sex and The City, 30 Rock, and Ugly Betty. Right from Manhattan to Jackson Heights and all the way to Long Island, New York in the 2000’s was the place to be. So much so that in the rom-com TV series Sex and the City, New York itself was the fifth main character. Surprisingly, How I Met Your Mother, a show that gave us some iconic catchphrases like 'Suit Up' and 'Legen-Wait For It... DARY!' pulled a similar stunt where Manhattan served as the sixth memeber of Ted Mosby's gang. 

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Coming to 2010’s, when the celebrity culture took the world by storm, there were several stories that made the headlines. We’d suggest tune into a few episodes of 2 Broke Girls and you’ll be up to date with all the pop culture gossip that the city had to offer. Additionally, we were introduced to some of the greatest shows that summed up life in New York like never before and made Brooklyn a hot favourite on our travel bucket list. Taking us through the hipster-chic neighbourhood of Williamsburg, 2 Broke Girls gave us a glimpse of what it’s like to be really ‘broke’ in Brooklyn. Juggling back and forth between Manhattan and Brooklyn was 'Girls', a comedy-drama centered around 4 young women and their life in the big city. NBC’s Brooklyn 99, a comedy cop show starring Andy Samberg and his goofball antics made us wonder whether the 99th precinct of the NYPD was really that fun. 

New York, NYC or Big Apple, call it what you may, but the city definitely has transformed drastically over the years. From neighbourhoods to fashion choices, New York, as we know it today is a different world altogether and show creators around the globe have beautifully managed to capture the essence of each decade.

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