Four primetime Emmy Award winner, Russian doll is an American TV show about a woman named Nadia Vulvokov. It deals with themes like alcoholism, drug addiction, existentialist crisis, the quest for truth and self-belief, and dark humour. The show has an IMDb rating of 7.9/10 and 97% votes on Rotten Tomatoes. Russian Doll had a variety of picturesque filming locations all over New York, specifically downtown Manhattan.
From the 2nd Avenue subway station on the Lower East Side to Riverside Drive, we can witness a few important landmarks in the show.
The Russian Doll was also shot in the legendary east side viillage of Manhattan. Despite the urbanization and gentrification, the place still looks a bit eerie and the show displays it amazingly.
Created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler, it is a story of a video game creator who is stuck in one herself. On her 36th birthday, she dies only to find that she has to live the day all over again. She meets a man named Alan Zaveri played by Charlie Bernett who is in the same situation as hers. Now, let’s delve into unique Russian Doll filming locations:
The local Bodega
Though Nadia passes through some of the most popular filming locations in Russian Doll- the Ukrainian stalwart Odessa, fabled dive the Horseshoe Bar (also known as 7B or Vazac’s), and anytime-day-or-night sandwich favorite Sunny & Annie’s- what catches our eye is the local Bodega which is equally familiar as well as unpredictable.
The bodega at 94 Avenue B called Anwar Grocery is one of the most important locations of the set. It forms the primary loop between her apartment, the park, and the deli. As she is returning from the place after buying her pack of cigarettes, she spots her cat, Oatmeal. In a frenzy to get her back, she doesn’t notice the car that hits her and she dies only to relive the day all over again.
St. Nicholas Carpatho Church
St. Nicholas Carpatho Church at 288 E 10th Street has interiors that seem to appear on the set and is one of the most important filming locations in Russian Doll. It is said to be a former yeshiva, in the show. Further, this can be connected to the building on the other side of Tompkins Square Park at 295 E. The dialogues in the show also indicate the rich history of the former East Side Hebrew Institute, a Jewish Day School founded in 1910.
When Nadia runs into her ex-boyfriend, she walks with him past the Horseshoe Bar, also known as Vazacs. It is next to the bar 7B, on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue B.The deli has made its appearance in numerous other movies too. The interiors were seen in The Godfather Part II, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
For East Village locals, the Horseshoe bar place loaded with punk rock serves as the best location to chill with friends.
Tompkins Square Park
The Russian Doll location has inspired a lot of important figures in the pop culture history like Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, as the site of riots, and a vestige of the city’s grittier past. The Tompkins Square Park stretching from Avenue A to B and from 7th to 10th streets is where Nadia finds Oatmeal and meets Horse, the homeless man.
The park spread in an area of 10.5 acres was build in the honour of Daniel D. Tompkins. He served as a governer of New York and later became the Vice President of the United States. This was certainly one of the most historically significant filming locations spotted in Russian Doll.
East River Park
Both Nadia and Alan come to East River Park and something weird happens to both of them. Nadia could be seen walking here with her cat Oatmeal and a weird accident happens that sends her back at the start of the time loop.
The Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges serving as a backdrop to the park make this promenade one of the best places to spend time in the city. One also gets a charming glimpse of the New York Harbour.
Chelsea Office Building
This is the place where Nadia works, which is at 544 W, 27th Street. In one of the episodes, he is seen working here on a bug in code. Though when she gets a call from John the drug dealer, she leaves and goes back to 7B. Here, she falls into an open cellar door only to restart her day all over again.
In reality, the building was a former garment warehouse owned by Elijah Equities. Morris Adjmi had redesigned it and the Chelsea Office Building was made, it was leased to a parking lot operator. Also, two new floors and one partial floor providing a big terrace to the structure were added.
Tifereth Israel Town & Village Synagogue– One of the most beautiful filming locations in Russian Doll
Nadia goes to the actual Tifereth Israel Town & Village Synagogue with John who pretends to be her husband. This was because she wished to go to the Rabbi in order to get answers about the perplexing incidents occurring in her life.
Six years ago, the Tifereth Israel Town and Village Synagogue was designated as Landmark. The synagogue was originally built as the First German Baptist Church in 1869.
Salvation Army Headquarters
In the mad hope to cheat death, Nadia enters the basement of the Salvation Army headquarters where she sees Horse in the homeless shelter.
The building was designed as a landmark in 2017, eight British officials were sent to the United States to lay the foundation of Salvation Academy in lower Manhattan. The building structure comprises of an 11 story office building and a four-story auditorium. Sir Ralph Walker who specialized in Art Deco Architecture built the structure. The Salvation Army is known to assess the needs of each community they serve and work towards their betterment.
Le Monde Brasserie
Nadia keeps trying to reach this location in Russian Doll at 2885 Broadway near Columbia University but never succeeds.
Le Monde Brasserie is a restaurant that provides a variety of French wine and cuisine in a bistro-style space with patio seating.