The GoodFellas Diner (previously the Clinton Diner) in Queens, which has been a filming location for dozens of movies and TV shows, including its namesake film, “GoodFellas”.
5626 Maspeth Ave
STORY & PHOTOS
There are some filming locations that seem to pop up over and over and over again in tons of media, but they’re so everyday and somewhat nondescript that even though it may look familiar you wouldn’t necessarily be like, “oh, it’s that place again!” (Did I just make any sense? If not, sorry.) The GoodFellas Diner is one of those places; it’s appeared on screen so many times that you’ve certainly seen it more than once but probably didn’t notice. I was looking for filming locations near Brooklyn in December and found this diner, happy that I could take my boyfriend someplace he might actually care about (after dragging him to a bunch of places only I care about) since he loves Scorsese and “GoodFellas”. A little more research told me that this place has been in tons of stuff, including one of my favorites, “The Good Wife”.
The diner is in a super industrial area that doesn’t look like you’d even find a diner there, but then you turn a corner and there it is. Inside, it looks like your average no-frills diner (which is probably why it’s such a popular filming location).
I love places that put their filming location notoriety on display, so that I can geek out without feeling like an awkward loser. The GoodFellas Diner lists their on-screen resume right on the back of the menu, and they have “GoodFellas” clippings up around the diner, so you know they are expecting some visitors who want to ask questions and take photos.
It really is just a no-frills diner, so don’t expect gourmet food or attentive service, but it’s a fun experience if you’re a fan of “GoodFellas” or any of the other dozens of things that have been filmed there!
So let’s get to the diner’s on-screen appearances. Its flagship appearance is, of course, from the 1990 film “GoodFellas”:
Robert DeNiro and Ray Liotta are sitting in the back room of the diner, in the first booth to the right after the doorway. (This section was closed when we were there, but I got a photo of the doorway and a peek into the room, which you can see in a photo above.)
On “The Good Wife” it makes a couple of showings. In episode 204, “Cleaning House”, it’s where Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) meets with Glenn Childs (Titus Welliver):
(Note the telltale light fixtures, also seen in the “GoodFellas” screencaps.) Chris Noth is no stranger to the GoodFellas diner; he also appeared in two episodes of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” that were filmed there!
The diner shows up again in episode 514, “A Few Words”; it’s where Alicia Florrick (Julianna Marguiles) and Will Gardner (Josh Charles) have a tense meeting after Alicia delivers a speech that doesn’t quite land:
As you can tell, the server walks Will past the booths and counter and into the back room (which you can see a peek into in one of my above photos; it was closed the day I was there).
In Zach Braff’s latest project, “Going in Style”, three men who’ve been robbed of their pensions (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin) decide to rob a bank to get their money back. The diner they frequent in the film, Nat’s, is really GoodFella’s Diner. It’s where they plot and plan their mission and where an important scene takes place as the end of the film.
BTW, Aaron and I definitely sat in their booth when we were there (not even on purpose, just a happy coincidence)!
Among the other productions that have used the GoodFellas Diner are the HBO movie “You Don’t Know Jack” and TV shows like “Person of Interest” (episodes 101, 104, and 310), “Elementary” (episodes 316 and 503), “The Americans” (episode 304), “Blue Bloods” (episode 209), and “The Family.”
STORY & PHOTOS