Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has only just released for PlayStation 5, but it’s already garnering heaps of praise for its impressively detailed version of New York City that expands upon the original’s. From the addition of Brooklyn and Queens to the increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic, New York City in Spider-Man 2 feels like a real, lived-in place.
Though the sequel has Photo Ops just like in the original game, they aren’t focused on iconic NYC landmarks, but instead give Miles a chance to make a few extra bucks by snapping shots of Manhattan’s colorful characters, whether it’s warring bodega mascots or a popular hummus spot.
But don’t worry, as a woman born in the shadow of New York City and one who has called it home for the past seven years, I’ve gathered the most iconic landmarks you can swing to in Spider-Man 2. And I’m digging deep for not just the obvious ones like Rockefeller Center, but the smaller, more inherently New York spots like rooftop pools and beachside bathrooms.
Click through to see all of the best NYC landmarks in Spider-Man 2.
Empire State Building
Perhaps the most iconic New York City landmark of them all, the Empire State Building is hard to miss in Spider-Man 2, and hard to scale if you are at all scared of heights.
Ah, the Rockefeller Center ice rink, the home of awkward first dates and careening Swedish tourists. When the ice isn’t laid out in the plaza lying in the shadow of the massive 30 Rock building, it’s a roller rink.
Coney Island Boardwalk Bathrooms
The attention to detail here is staggering—look at the windows weeping an unknown substance, the hot dog stand close enough to the stalls that you can smell pee while biting into a dirty water dog, the overall dinginess of it all. This feels like Coney Island.
Water Tower Disco
There’s a water tower at the Arlo Hotel in Williamsburg that is often the site of dance parties, and this little club inside an abandoned tower feels like a nod to that. I play soccer in the park near the Arlo Hotel, and often see masses of twentysomethings lining the walkway around the tower, bopping to the beat of whatever Peggy Gou song is currently in vogue.
Silvercup Studios Sign
Though it says Spoiler Studios in Spider-Man 2, this sign (which can be found in Queens) is a nod to the iconic Silvercup Studios sign you can see from the Queensboro Bridge. Silvercup is one of the largest film and TV production companies in New York City, and its main studios can be found in Long Island City, inside what used to be the Silvercup Bakery.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, aka the site every Roman Catholic mother absolutely must see when visiting New York City. Construction on the cathedral started in 1858, paused due to the Civil War, and finished in 1878, and it’s one of the more beautiful structures in the entire city.
I just love a beautiful Brooklyn building, and this one stood out to me.
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden squats on top of Penn Station, the transit hub that every bridge and tunnel brat is all too familiar with. Though Spider-Man 2 calls Penn Station Square Station, and the Garden is bizarrely in Hell’s Kitchen (it’s in Midtown IRL), it has all the markings of the world’s most famous arena, from the litter on the ground to the pedestrians in hockey jerseys. It is, after all, where both the New York Knicks and New York Rangers play. All it’s missing is the distinct sense of dejection you get when you miss the final, late-night LIRR train after a night out on the town.
Museum of Natural History
Though it’s not called the American Museum of Natural History in-game, it’s clear that this building is a nod to the famous Upper West Side landmark.
Central Park Castle
Belvedere Castle is technically not a castle, but a folly, or a building that’s mostly decorative. It sits on top of a rocky outcropping in Central Park, and offers beautiful views of the surrounding area. It’s open to visitors, if you want to check it out IRL.
You know I had to head to Little Italy to salute my Italians.
It is far less stressful to visit Times Square in Spider-Man 2 than it is in real life, I promise you.
Williamsburg Rooftop Pool
You haven’t fully assimilated to the bougie Williamsburg world until you’ve paid too much money for a day pass at a rooftop pool. Spidey can go for free.
Maimonides Park/Cyclones Stadium
The Brooklyn Cyclones are a minor league baseball team with one of the best stadiums ever—Maimonides Park in Coney Island. Not only do you get the view of the amusement park when attending games there, but you can enjoy some fantastic beers thanks to the Coney Island Brewery being right there.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim, a modern and contemporary art museum resting on the eastern edge of Central Park, pissed off a lot of people when it was first built. It broke with NYC architectural tradition and “crushed the notion that buildings should have a ground floor, a first floor and so on,” according to NPR. And the bizarre, alien-like building looks incredibly real in Spider-Man 2.
The iconic Apollo Theatre is technically in Spider-Man 2, it’s just called the Phoebus (which is just another name for Apollo). The Harlem-based theatre is a historic site that has centred Black performers since the 1930s. It’s also home to the TV show Showtime at the Apollo.
Are there any excellent NYC landmarks we missed?
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