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NYC Neighborhoods

Where in New York is Sesame Street?

Sesame Street Subway Entrance
Sesame Street Subway Entrance

Can I tell you how to get to Sesame Street? Well, I can try. You can get to the Sesame Street Subway Stop by the A, B, 1, or 2 trains, which if you check any MTA map, do not intersect at any current station.

A typical NYC neighborhood has a subway stop, a deli, a laundromat, a daycare, street vendors, a park, and a diverse population. Sesame Street has all of those things and shows on a regular basis how important street life, diversity, and neighborhoods actually are to the people who live in them. One reason that Sesame Street has worked so well on television for so long is that it depicts what works so well about living in a New York neighborhood. Sesame Street is nothing if not a paragon of New York at its best. Even Gothamist has covered Sesame Street neighborhood news.

Sesame Street Characters sing about the subway.

Many have gone to great lengths to pinpoint what neighborhood Sesame Street is exactly, using stage directions, lyrics from songs, and various scenes from the show.

There are are clues in songs, such as instructions to take the 123 Bus, or visual clues such as characters getting off at the 86th Street stop on the subway during a Christmas episode.

Rumored neighborhoods (an incomplete list):

General view - Queens - Astoria. Image ID: 730483F
General view - Queens - Astoria. Image ID: 730483F

Astoria, Queens

This rumor is mostly supported by the fact that Sesame Street is filmed in Astoria at Kaufman Astoria Studios. But Queens is a likely contender because of its reputation as the most diverse county in the nation. Astoria is known as a working class neighborhood with a variety of ethnic heritages. It also has a musical heritage as the home of the Steinway Piano Factory. However, Astoria is served by the N, Q, E, M, and R trains.

Find out more about Astoria:

Avenue B at 15th Street and , East side to North, Manhattan Image ID: 486046
Avenue B at 15th Street and , East side to North, Manhattan. Image ID: 486046

Alphabet City, Lower East Side

Creator Joan Ganz Cooney proposed the title “123 Avenue B” which would have placed Sesame Street across from Tompkins Square in Alphabet City, on the Lower East Side. It does seem appropriate for a show that is sponsored by letters and numbers to take place in a neighborhood called Alphabet City. Avenues A, B, C, and D do not have their own subway station, but they are probably best served by the F, J, M, Z and L trains.

Find out more about Alphabet City:

Broadway - West 66th Street. Image ID: 1557816
Broadway - West 66th Street. Image ID: 1557816

Lincoln Center

Sesame Workshop is located here. Lincoln Center is largely non-residential, consisting of many performance related buildings such as Avery Fisher Hall, the Juilliard School, the Library for the Performing Arts, and the Metropolitan Opera House. However, before Lincoln Center’s construction as part of Robert Mosesurban renewal plan, this neighborhood was known as San Juan Hill, which designer Charles Rosen stated was part of the amalgam of NYC places on which he based his set design for Sesame Street. During Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary, Mayor Bloomberg temporarily named the corner of 64th and Broadway as Sesame Street. Lincoln Center is served by the 1 train, but nearby you can also catch the 2, 3, A, B, C, D trains—just not all at the same stop.

Find out more about Lincoln Center:

Brooklyn: 86th Street - 19th Avenue Image ID: 702890F
Brooklyn: 86th Street - 19th Avenue. Image ID: 702890F
Columbus Avenue at 86th Street and , West side to North, Manhattan Image ID: 486049
Columbus Avenue at 86th Street and , West side to North, Manhattan. Image ID: 486049

86th Street - Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights

Much speculation abounded when the Sesame Street gang got off at the 86th Street stop of the subway during the Christmas Eve on Sesame Street special, which originally aired in 1978. However, this is the only appearance of the 86th Street subway in Sesame Street, and to further complicate matters, there are four 86th Street subway stations in NYC. On the Upper West Side, there are two 86th Street stops, one for the 1 train, and one for the B and C trains. The third 86th Street stop is on the Upper East side and serves the 4, 5, and 6 trains. Finally, the fourth 86th Street stop is in Brooklyn. It serves the R train and residents of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

Find out more about the Upper West Side:

Find out more about the Upper East Side:

Find out more about Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights:

Bird's eye view of West 125th Street, Harlem, looking west from Seventh Avenue, 1943. Image ID: psnypl_scg_649
Bird's eye view of West 125th Street, Harlem, looking west from Seventh Avenue, 1943. Image ID: psnypl_scg_649
Bronx: 137th Street (East) - Willis Avenue Image ID: 700061F
Bronx: 137th Street (East) - Willis Avenue. Image ID: 700061F

Harlem and the Bronx

The other part of designer Charles Rosen’s amalgam of influences was Harlem and unspecified neighborhoods of the Bronx, as reported in this article from New York magazine. Harlem is served by the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, B, C, and D trains, though the 1, 2, A, and B do not stop at the same station. The Bronx is served by the 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, B, and D trains.

Find out more about Harlem:

Find out more about the Bronx:

The truth is that Sesame Street is the most typical of all New York neighborhoods, meaning that it can be any one of them and should be considered to be all neighborhoods, because you, yes you, belong on Sesame Street too.

Street Gang cover

More about the history of Sesame Street

Now through January 31, come visit the NYPL’s exhibit "Somebody Come and Play:" 45 Years of Sesame Street Helping Kids Grow Smarter, Stronger, and Kinder at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.


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I'm a fan of the 86th Street,

I'm a fan of the 86th Street, 1 train, Upper West Side theory based upon the Christmas special- especially since the tile in that station hasn't been updated since 1978!

The argument for and against Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle could count if you make exception that the 2 doesn't stop there except for late nights when it isn't running express and that the station also includes additional trains that don't stop at the Sesame Street subway stop.

Figured it was in Manhattan

I always got the feeling they were in Manhattan for some reason, and probably far uptown or certainly in a more residential area.

West 83rd Street

I've always thought that Sesame Street was modeled after West 83rd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues in Manhattan. It is block with a school, post office, fire house and compared to other side streets in the neighborhood a relatively large number of commercial establishments. I always like the block when I lived in the neighborhood, some 25-30 years ago.

77th Street

Since the Cosby show used the Sesame Streetscape for rare sidewalk scenes I came to conclude that Sesame was located in Brooklyn. On the other hand, the Tecumseh schoolyard on the upper west side was featured in the "Operation Playground" construction film and has led all the children I knew to refer to it as the Sesame Street Playground.

That song they sing about

That song they sing about Subway from Sesame Street and I think I found it very funny and cute to. and the Sesame Street Characters are way down of my list. and but I still like them to. and Bert and Ernie are buddies and sometime they don't get along very well on there Show's to.

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