New York Film Locations

Coming to America (1988)

Last Updated: June 2019

Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the prince and heir to the throne of the fictitious African Ruritania-like c ountry Zamunda, is discontented with being pampered all his life. The final straw comes when his parents, King Jaffe (James Earl Jones) and Queen Aeoleon (Madge Sinclair), present him with a bride-to-be (Vanessa Bell) he has never met before, trained to mindlessly obey his every command. Akeem concocts a plan to travel to America to find a wife he can both love and respect and who accepts him for his personality, not his status. He and his servant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in Queens County, New York because according to Akeem "What better place to find a queen than the city of Queens?" They rent an apartment in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights. They also begin working at a local restaurant called McDowell's, passing themselves off as students. Akeem falls in love with McDowell's daughter Lisa (Shari Headley), who possesses the qualities the prince is looking for.

Terminal 7, JFK International Airport, Jamaica, Queens, New York.


South 5th Street and Hooper Street, Brooklyn.


Akeem's Apartment, 392 South 5th Street and Hooper Street, Brooklyn.


Barber's Shop, 392 South 5th Street and Hooper Street, Brooklyn.


otsoNY Comments:In 2013, the Wendy's restaurant demolished to make way for a six-story building worth $105 million, with luxury apartments and stores on the ground floor.

McDowell's Restaurant, 85-07 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst, Queens.


Madison Square Garden, 8th Avenue and West 33rd Street, Manhattan.


otsoNY Comments: Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche reprise their roles as the Duke brothers from another Landis and Murphy collaboration, Trading Places. Randolph and Mortimer Duke lost their enormous fortunes in that film. In this film, the two men are now homeless and living on the streets. Akeem gives them a paper bag filled with money, which they gratefully accept and exclaim "We're back!". A portion of the Trading Places score can be heard during the Bellamy-Ameche cameo.

26 New Dock St, Brooklyn.


Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue (btw East 49th & 50th Street) Manhattan.



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