Elementary updates the canonical stories of Arthur Conan Doyle to 21st Century New York. Now in its fourth season, the CBS show stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson, his sober companion turned partner in detection. The show is as much a love letter to New York as it is a testament to the incredible friendship between the two main characters. Here are our suggestions for the five best places for superfans to geek out in New York City. By Jessica Allen.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched the series but plan to, it’s best to bookmark this post for after you’ve watched.
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With its shabby chic charm, warren of rooms (including one devoted to locks), and multitude of devices (including boxes and boxes of burners), the Brownstone offers Sherlock and Joan more than just a place to hang their heads after long days of solving crime: it’s a residence, an office, a clubhouse, a sanctuary, and probably the most famous location in the show. According to the show, the Brownstone is located in Brooklyn Heights, but shots of the exterior are actually filmed in Harlem, along 121st Street to be exact. It’s a beautiful street.
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Sherlock and Watson share several meaningful moments atop the Brownstone’s roof, as when they watch the bees, including Euglassia watsonia, at the end of season 1. Sherlock and Mycroft practice single-stick up here too, in season 2, and Sherlock comes here to be alone (and to hide letters from Moriarty). Although you can’t get atop the building at 10th Street and 44th Avenue, where filming takes place, you can roam around nearby Gantry State Park, which boasts similarly astounding views of the Manhattan skyline, especially at night.
At the start of season 3, Joan has cemented her break from Sherlock by leaving the Brownstone and by setting up her own detective agency. Her new apartment contains a handful of artifacts from her old apartment (diehard fans will remember her old digs as the site of a porno). Interestingly, the bedroom features a painting by Lucy Liu. The exterior shots were filmed at London Terrace Gardens, a huge apartment complex in Chelsea built in 1931 on land owned by Clement Clarke Moore, the author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
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In season 1, Sherlock discovers Irene (aka the love of his life, aka the woman, aka Moriarty) painting at a house. You can see the grand estate for yourself by heading to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Beginning in the early 1800s, American warships were built at the yard, and eventually 70,000 people worked there. Today, the Navy Yard is home to lots of business, including distilleries, farms, and movie studios. Bonus: on the show, Moriarty’s super-secret black site prison is said to be located at the Navy Yard.
Loyal fans know that Elementary doesn’t shy away from filming outside. In season 1, for example, the weather goes from bad to worse as Sherlock and Watson uncover the real motive behind a robbery. What begins as flurries morphs into a full-blown white out, necessitating that the pair be driven around by a friendly city worker named Pam. When it comes to many of the interiors, however, the show is filmed at Silvercup Studios in Queens. (Girls and Person of Interest, among others, are also filmed there.) If you can’t get enough of TV-making magic, hop on a bus to the Museum of the Moving Image in nearby Astoria.