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Bowery Boys Movie Club

Coming to America: Fast food and beautiful hair in 1980s New York

The new episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club explores the film Coming to America and the gritty historical context of late 1980s New York City. An exclusive podcast for those who support us on Patreon.

Eddie Murphy plays an optimistic African prince looking for the love of his life in the 1988 film Coming to America, a surprising entry in the New York City film canon — a mix of beautifully transformed locations and well-decorated famous faces.

In this movie directed by John Landis, not every filming location is authentic — Williamsburg, Brooklyn, plays the role of Queens, for instance — but this fast-paced ’30s-inspired comedy creates a very familiar city, from romantic strolls along the Brooklyn waterfront to the wacky discoveries at a character-filled discotheque.

Listen in as Greg and Tom recap the story and explore some of the historical context for the film. Featuring an unusual cavalcade of New York City places, from a fast food restaurant on Queens Boulevard to the crowded bathrooms of Madison Square Garden.

PLUS: Just let your Soul Glo!

How do I listen the Bowery Boys Movie Club?  Once you’re signed in on Patreon, you’ll see a private RSS link that can be put directly into your favorite podcast player. Even easier, it can also be played directly from the Patreon app if you’re signed in.

Your support on Patreon assists us in producing our podcast and website and it helps as we endeavor to share our love of New York City history with the world. 

Should you watch the movie before you listen to this episode? This podcast can be enjoyed both by those who have seen the film and those who’ve never even heard of it.

We think our take on Coming to America might inspire you to look for the film’s many fascinating (but easy to overlook) historical details, so if you don’t mind being spoiled on the plot, give it a listen first, then watch the movie! Otherwise, come back to the show after you’ve watched it.

Where can you watch Coming to America? It’s available to rent on all movie streaming services, as well as a free stream on Amazon Prime. (There’s also the sequel Coming 2 America.)


One of the central locations of the film — not in Queens but in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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