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Carrie and Big’s Penthouse from the “Sex and the City” Movie

Jul 31st, 2017 | By | Category: Sex and the City Filming Locations

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I know I am in the minority when I say that I like the 2008 Sex and the City movie.  Was it the greatest flick ever?  No.  But I did enjoy it.  Seeing it was like being with old friends again, friends I’d missed ever since the HBO television series went off the air in early 2004.  The more I watch it, the more it grows on me.  Though, again, I know I am in the minority.  One aspect of the movie that audiences did pretty much unanimously adore was the exquisite penthouse apartment that Mr. Big (Chris Noth) purchased for longtime girlfriend Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker).  So last April, while visiting New York, I, of course, was all about stalking the Ziegler House, which was used for interior shots of the penthouse.  And, oh, what an interior it was!

Before I get to the Ziegler House, though, I thought I should mention 1010 Fifth Avenue, the Upper East Side building that served as the exterior of Carrie and Big’s penthouse.  I covered the property in a brief post back in 2008, but, in the interest of being thorough, figured it would be appropriate to detail it once again here.

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The 15-story prewar building was designed by real estate developer Frederick Fillmore French in 1928.

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The Italian Renaissance-style property, which was converted to a co-op in 1979, looks much the same in person as it did onscreen.

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Located across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the tony site is just the type of place I’d picture Mr. Big calling home.  You can check out what a unit in the building looks like here.

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1010 Fifth Avenue is also where Chuck Rhoades, Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn) lives on the Showtime series Billions, though, as you can see below, the address is changed to “10101 Fifth Avenue” for filming.

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Now back to the penthouse interior!  As soon as Carrie and Big step over the threshold of 1010 Fifth, they are standing in the Ziegler House, located about 20 blocks south at 2 East 63rd Street.  I first learned of the locale thanks to a reader named Allie, who wrote a comment on my 2008 post tipping me off about where the inside shots were lensed.

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The historic residence was originally built in 1921 for William Ziegler, Jr., heir to the Royal Baking Powder Company fortune.

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Designed by architect Frederick Sterner, the ornate 4-story, 75-foot wide pad is laid out with all of the rooms surrounding a central brick courtyard with a fountain.  Along with said courtyard, the property boasts a grand entrance hall, two rear gardens, a library, a 25-foot by 40-foot living room, a formal dining room, a servants’ dining room, a massive kitchen that almost looks to be commercial-grade, two master suites (each with its own dressing room), and fireplaces galore.  You can see some interior photos of the place here.

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For whatever reason, Ziegler and his then wife, Gladys, only lived in the home for a year before moving out and putting it up for sale in 1925.  The dwelling finally sold in 1929 to Norman Bailey Woolworth, of Woolworth five-and-dime fame.  He owned the property for the next two decades before donating it to The New York Academy of Sciences, a scientific society that was originally founded in 1817.

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NYAS put the house on the market in 2001 and it sold four years later to billionaire financier Leonard Blavatnik for $31.25 million.  Blavatnik never moved in, though.  Instead, the site, which today goes by the name “Academy Mansion,” is mainly used as a special events venue and for filming.  While I really wish I could have taken a peek at the property’s stunning interior, I have to admit that the exterior is nothing to shake a stick at.

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Seriously, the photo below looks like a postcard!

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The Ziegler House popped up twice in Sex and the City.  It first appeared in the beginning of the movie in the scene in which Carrie and Big go apartment-hunting with their real estate agent at 1010 Fifth.  Sadly, the wrought iron and glass doors that Carrie and Big walk through in the scene cannot be seen from outside.  You can check out a photo of them here, though.

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The doors are actually located inside the home, behind the massive wooden entry doors pictured below.

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In the scene, the Ziegler House’s palatial entrance hall masked as the lobby of 1010 Fifth.  You can see a photo of what the entry hall looks like in real life here.

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The elevator situated at the rear of the lobby was faked for the movie.  In actuality, there is a doorway located in that area, as you can see here and here.

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That doorway leads to the Ziegler House’s stunning living room, which actually looks more like a grand ballroom.  It is that room that Carrie first sees upon entering the penthouse, causing her to exclaim, “Oh my God, I have died and gone to real estate heaven!”  You can check out some pictures of the living room here, here, and here.

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Carrie is next shown the penthouse’s rooftop terrace.  In actuality, that space is the Ziegler House’s central courtyard and it is located on the ground floor of the property, not on the roof.  You can see an image of it here.

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The penthouse’s master bedroom was just a set built on a soundstage at Silvercup Studios in Queens, where much of the movie – and the television series – was lensed.  You can check out images of the real Ziegler House bedrooms here, here, here, and here.

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The Ziegler House was also utilized in the scene at the end of the movie in which Carrie returns to the penthouse to retrieve her never-been-worn $525 Manolos.

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Though Carrie and Big have sold the penthouse by that point and broken up, when she sees him standing in the closet he built for her, all is forgiven, the two embrace, and Big gets down on one knee to propose.  Heartbreakingly, Carrie’s spectacular custom closet was just a set.   You can see what the Ziegler House’s dressing rooms look like here, here, and here.  They’re not too shabby, either!

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On a side-note – I actually have a version of the Timmy Woods Eiffel Tower purse that Carrie, ahem, carried in the scene in which she and Big first toured the penthouse!  A dear and incredibly thoughtful friend named Marie gifted it to me for my birthday last year.  I didn’t have it at the time I stalked the Ziegler House, sadly, otherwise I so would have posed with it outside!  Winking smile

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The Ziegler House has been utilized in a couple of other productions besides Sex and the City.  In the Season 2 episode of White Collar titled “Point Blank,” which aired in 2010, the property masqueraded as the Russian Heritage Museum.

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For the shoot, the Ziegler House’s living room, aka Carrie’s piece of real estate heaven, was dressed as a gallery and looked considerably different than it did in SATC.

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“Point Blank” also gave us a great view of the property’s terrace.

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In the Season 2 episode of Person of Interest titled “Masquerade,” which aired in 2012, the Ziegler House portrayed New York’s Brazilian Consulate.

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The exterior of Carrie and Big’s penthouse from the Sex and the City movie is located at 1010 Fifth Avenue on New York’s Upper East Side.  The film featured the building’s canopied main entrance, which can be found around the corner on East 82nd Street.  The interior of Carrie and Big’s penthouse, aka the Ziegler House, aka Academy Mansion, is located at 2 East 63rd Street, also on New York’s Upper East Side.

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4 comments

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  1. Nat says:

    Every time I see something SATC, I think of your bachelorette party! What a fun night with great friends!

    • Lindsay says:

      Awww it was such a great night with such great people! I think of it every time I walk by my kitchen and see my Charlotte apron! 🙂 Such the perfect night!

  2. Her mom says:

    I knew it HAD to have been in White Collar!!


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