There are few television shows that have left a mark on American popular culture like Seinfeld. It entered our collective consciousness with contributions to the English language such as “yada, yada, yada” “Festivus” and “double-dip.” Now, with all 100-plus episodes available on the streaming service Hulu, Jerry and Co. are back for binge-watching almost two decades after taking their last bow during NBC’s Thursday night Must-See TV lineup. Visitors to NYC can check out locales mentioned on the ubiquitous show, from restaurants to Seinfeld-focused attractions and more. Here are a few picks.
Jerry’s lovable neighbor Cosmo Kramer was based on a real guy, Kenny Kramer—the across-the-hall neighbor of the show’s co-creator (and George Costanza inspiration) Larry David—and, the “real” Kramer offers a tour of the show’s haunts, including stops at Midtown’s Westway Diner, (where Larry first told Jerry his idea for the show about nothing), and more. The three-hour bus tour, which is offered on Saturdays at noon, starts at The Producer’s Club Theater (358 W. 44th St., btw Eighth & Ninth aves.).
Those who’d prefer to go it alone also can tour the city from a "Seinfeld"-focused perspective and head uptown, specifically Morningside Heights, to dine at Tom’s Restaurant (although fans of the show probably know it best as the gang’s daily hangout, Monk’s Café). The restaurant’s Pepto-pink illuminated “Restaurant” sign served as the exterior for the fictional eatery, and, on a side note, the coffee shop also got a shout out in the form of Suzanne Vega’s 1980’s hit “Tom’s Diner.”
After taking a photo op in front of the sign, make sure to head inside the Greek-American-owned restaurant and chow down on a cheeseburger and milkshake. You’ll be in good company, as this uptown joint is a favorite of students at nearby Columbia University.
While in the area, make a point to check out other Upper West Side locales such as Jerry’s apartment at 129 W. 81st St. and the West Side YMCA, at 5 W. 63rd St., where George and Jerry met baseball player (and Elaine’s fleeting love interest) Keith Hernandez, formerly of the New York Mets.
This quartet of neurotic New Yorkers always seemed to be in need of some serious medical attention, and their hospital of choice was Roosevelt Hospital—the site where George’s girlfriend Susan died from licking cheap envelopes for wedding invitations, and where Kramer freed the “pigman.” The name of the real-life institution where all the fake shenanigans occurred is Mount Sinai Roosevelt at 1000 10th Ave., btw W. 58th & W. 59th sts.
When Jerry wasn’t eating cereal, George consuming a block of cheese in one sitting, and Elaine and Kramer pilfering the contents of Seinfeld’s fridge, the crew could be found patiently (or impatiently, depending on whom you ask) standing in line at an unassuming soup kitchen, helmed by a man they referred to as the “Soup Nazi.” Just like several other characters on the show, the icy chef was based on a real person—Ali "Al" Yeganeh, whose Soup Kitchen International was the basis of the storyline. Soup Kitchen International has long since closed, but those in need of a piping hot bowl of crab bisque or turkey chili can get just that at The Original Soupman— Yeganeh’s chain of restaurants, with a location at W. 55th St. & Eighth Ave.
Although it’s been a while since Jerry Seinfeld has tickled audiences in front of the camera, he’s currently demonstrating his comedic timing behind the scenes with a new off-Broadway play he’s directing, which stars "SNL" alum Colin Quinn. The aptly titled "Colin Quinn: The New York Story" plays at the Cherry Lane Theatre through August 16, and with it Jerry might find a fresh fan base in the millennial set—kids born the year "Seinfeld" went off the air, who are now gearing up for their senior year of high school—or, if anything, surely their parents are delighted.
P.S.: Fans of the aforementioned Larry David, Seinfeld’s co-creator and man behind the HBO hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, can check out the Broadway show he penned called Fish in the Dark, a comedy about a death in the family. As an added bonus, it stars Mr. Costanza himself—Jason Alexander! See the play at Cort Theatre thru Aug. 1.