Scene on the Run: Home Alone 2
It's the holiday season in New York (and, well, everywhere else), so we're bringing back our "Scene on the Run" series with a Big Apple-based holiday classic, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
This route, which ranges from five to seven miles, takes you around some of the spots Kevin McCallister visits on his accidental trip to New York City. This route, like our Ghostbusters route, does not follow the exact order that the film follows, but it covers most of where the movie takes place.
On a personal note, I believe the first film is the better of the two (and I choose not to acknowledge anything in the series beyond that), but I had neither the time nor the budget to plan a route around Winnetka, Illinois—so New York will have to do!
I also had the option of creating an audio tour to accompany this post, but didn't because:
- The battery cover for my "recorder" (see image at right) fell off in about 1995.
- I haven't bought a cassette tape since...2003?
- Let's be realistic, we don't need an hour of audio commentary from me.
With all of that out of the way now, let's start the run! Follow along with our Strava route, and read on for a description of each location along the way.
Location: Queens Plaza North and Crescent Street
What Happens Here: Kevin arrives in New York at Laguardia Airport, but to save time (and mileage), we'll skip to the next scene, where he's riding in a checkered cab across the Queensboro Bridge.
For safety reasons, I can't recommend that you try to match the scene by listening to "All Alone on Christmas" by Darlene Love, but you're certainly welcome to listen to it on the subway before your run (...like I did).
In the movie, the cab goes across the upper level of the bridge, but since this is a run, we're taking the pedestrian lane. From here, you can look north toward Astoria and the Upper East Side, you can look down near the midpoint for a view of Roosevelt Island (and its tramway), or you can look through the beams to the south and sneak a peek at the Manhattan skyline.
Location: Fifth Avenue and 59th Street/Grand Army Plaza
Directions: Once across the Queensboro Bridge and into Manhattan, turn onto 59th Street and follow the road to Fifth Avenue.
What Happens Here: Kevin, armed with a Talkboy® and his parents' credit card, reserves a room as "Peter McCallister, the father," requesting an extra-large bed, a TV, and "one of those little refrigerators you have to open with a key."
While writing this, I learned that the Plaza is offering a "Live Like Kevin" Home Alone 2 experience package based on the movie, so you can stop reading this right now and book your reservation (starting at $895), or you can keep reading this...for free!
After his parents' credit card is reported stolen, the hotel staff attempts to chase Kevin out of the building, but thanks to yet another well-timed prank with a VCR, he escapes onto Central Park South, where our run continues.
As a sidenote, the Sixth Avenue entrance to Central Park is where Harry and Marv catch Kevin after he flees the Plaza, but we're not going into the park just yet.
57th Street Subway Station
Location: 57th Street and Sixth Avenue
Directions: Continue west on Central Park South/59th Street and turn at Sixth Avenue.
What Happens Here: Having broken out of prison, Harry and Marv, the "Wet Bandits" from the original movie, emerge from the subway onto the city streets—this time rebranded as the "Sticky Bandits," as Marv suggests.
In the movie, the subway sign shows that the station operates on the B and Q lines, but as of 2017, only the F train runs through here.
Radio City Music Hall
Location: Sixth Avenue at 49th Street
Directions: Continue south on Sixth Avenue and stop at 49th Street.
What Happens Here: During the montage of Kevin's arrival in New York, he stops on the corner across from Radio City Music Hall and snaps an instant photo—although he's actually facing away from Radio City, so...what was he taking a picture of?
Location: Between 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Directions: Run one block down and turn left onto 48th Street.
What Happens Here: After helping the police catch Harry and Marv, Kevin visits the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and begins to say a prayer asking to see his family—or at least, his mom—again, to tell them that he's sorry for what he had done.
Seconds later, surprise! His mother appears on the other side of Rockefeller Plaza and the two reunite.
Just as a heads-up in case you're planning on trying this run anytime between now and New Year's—it's really, really crowded. I had to walk through most of this part of the route, but a little recovery break isn't too bad from time to time, right?
Anyway, on we go to...
Location: In this instance, Seventh Avenue at 49th Street—or really anywhere on Seventh or Broadway between 48th and 42nd streets
Directions: Take 48th Street west to Seventh Avenue.
What Happens Here: Kevin's mother, Kate, searches for Kevin here before realizing where she can find him. She then gets a ride from a police officer to Rockefeller Center.
Location: Seventh Avenue and 57th Street
Directions: Follow Seventh Avenue north for about half a mile to 57th Street.
What Happens Here: After meeting, then befriending, the "Pigeon Lady" in Central Park, the two take in an performance at Carnegie Hall from the a loft above the orchestra.
Gapstow Bridge, Central Park
Location: The northern end of the Central Park Pond (in the southeast corner of the park)
Directions: Take Sixth Avenue north into the park, then follow paths to the east to reach the Pond.
What Happens Here: Before checking in to the Plaza, Kevin walks through Central Park. As he's rounding the edge of the Pond, he sees a woman at the water's edge, surrounded by pigeons, and he runs away in fear.
Later that night, he finds himself back in the park, and ends up getting his foot stuck. Unable to move, he watches as the Pigeon Lady appears, drawing ever closer, until...she helps him out and frees his leg. Just as he learned with "Old Man Marley" in the first movie, some people are nicer than their first impressions might suggest!
The two then go to Carnegie Hall (see above) and begin to bond.
Near the end of the film, she helps Kevin trap Harry and Marv in the park. The next morning, Kevin returns to the frozen pond to present her with a gift: One of the two turtle dove ornaments he received from the toy store earlier in the film, given as a symbol of their friendship.
And a moment later, he hears his father—from the Plaza—yelling, "KEVIN! YOU SPENT $967 ON ROOM SERVICE?!" as the movie cuts to the credits.
Inscope Arch, Central Park
Location: Central Park, just south of the Gapstow Bridge
Directions: After crossing the bridge, follow the path around the Pond south and turn left toward the Arch.
What Happens Here: In the final showdown with Harry and Marv, Kevin sets off fireworks to alert the police to his location, and the Pigeon Lady hops in to cover the two burglars with bird seed, leaving them trapped under a swarm of pigeons.
Ending the run here will give you a little more than four and a half miles, but if you want to go for some extra credit, you can extend your run a little farther north into the park for a seven-miler.
Wollman Rink, Central Park
Location: Central Park, north of the Pond
Directions: Follow the pathways inside the East Drive north toward the 72nd Street Transverse; the rink will be on your left as you run around it.
What Happens Here: Harry and Marv discuss their plot to rob Duncan's Toy Chest and use the money to flee to Rio de Janeiro.
During their talk, Marv manages to swipe a scarf, a pair of gloves, and a set of earmuffs off of a few fellow skaters, while Harry stands outside the boards reading the newspaper (and fending off pigeons, in a little bit of foreshadowing).
Bethesda Terrace, Central Park
Location: Central Park near the 72nd Street Transverse
Directions: Follow East Drive north, and turn left onto the 72nd Street Transverse. Bethesda Terrace is near the midway point of the Transverse.
What Happens Here: After he dodges Harry and Marv on his escape from the Plaza, the two burglars chase Kevin into Central Park, and he loses them near Bethesda Terrace. In real life, they would have been running after him for about a mile and a quarter, so not only were they pretty persistent, but they were also reasonably fit for burglars!
Uncle Rob and Aunt Georgette's Apartment
Location: 51 West 95th Street
Directions: After crossing from East Drive to West Drive via the 72nd Street Transverse, follow West Drive north, exit the park at 96th Street, and turn left onto Central Park West, then turn right onto West 95th Street.
What Happens Here: This location is the grand finale of our Home Alone 2 run, but if I'm being honest with you all, it might disappoint you. As Kevin looks through his dad's address book, he sees that his uncle, Rob, has an apartment in New York, and the address is listed as 51 West 95th Street. Kevin heads uptown, only to find that:
- No one is there.
- The apartment is under construction.
He then wanders the streets—encountering the Pigeon Lady in Central Park (see above)—and later finds his way into the apartment. There, he sets a series of traps for Harry and Marv (how Marv survived being electrocuted, I will never understand).
After he tricks them with his last trap—the old "rope soaked in kerosene" gag—he begins to run away from the brownstone, but slips back into their grasp. The two then drag him into Central Park, where Kevin turns the table on them thanks to an assist from the Pigeon Lady.
Now is where I have to break some unfortunate news to you all.
The brownstone in real life looks nothing like the one in the movie. The movie address was a set designed to look like New York City, and those shots were filmed in Los Angeles. But just to cover all of our bases, here's what the "real" brownstone looks like:
As you can see, it's not under construction, and (at least presumably) there are no paint cans waiting to swing down at your face as you walk up the stairs. But if you were ever wondering whether the apartment was a real place, now you have your answer: yes, but also mostly no.
Fans familiar with the montage of Kevin's arrival in New York might have noticed that we skipped a few spots he visited, including:
- The Empire Diner, where he encounters a Santa Claus on stilts (10th Avenue between 22nd and 21st streets)
- Fulton Fish Market, where he first crosses paths with Harry and Marv
- The World Trade Center, where he visits the observation deck
- A Chinatown shop, where he buys fireworks (320 Mott Street)
This route doesn't include these locations mainly because they're farther downtown, a good three-or-so miles from the nearest point covered here. I might be training for Boston, but I don't need the mileage that badly.
The locations have also changed significantly since the movie was filmed: While the Empire Diner is still in operation, the Fulton Fish Market has moved to the Bronx, the store in Chinatown has since closed, and the World Trade Center...well, you know the story. (Although, after the run, I did take the PATH train home from the World Trade Center station, so...partial credit?)
If you'd like to check out an additional, mini-Home Alone 2 run, we've created this four-and-a-half mile route, which starts at the Empire Diner, runs down the West Side Highway to the new World Trade Center, follows Fulton Street to the east side, and then up into Chinatown.
We hope you enjoy this run, and check back soon for our next entry in The Run On's "Scene on the Run" series!