Friends fans who don't realize TV is imaginary deface a New York restaurant

Photo: Gabriel Olsen (Getty Images)

On the TV show Friends, the building at 90 Bedford Street was used to represent the exterior of Central Perk, the coffeehouse where the friends hung out. The actual show was filmed on a soundstage in LA. Central Perk never existed, neither in real life nor as a shooting location.

Nonetheless, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the debut of Friends, people have been turning up at 90 Bedford Street and writing some of the show’s more immortal lines of dialogue (“We were on a break”) on the wall of the building. There is a real restaurant in that space, one that has nothing to do with Friends, with an owner that has to pay to erase the graffiti. This does not make him happy.

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Joey Campanero, chef and owner of the Little Owl Restaurant, told the New York Post that hundreds of Friends fans, sometimes thousands on weekends, have been coming by to pay their respects in permanent marker and lipstick.

“It’s monkey see, monkey do,” he told the Post. “Take a picture of it and share it on social media. It’s become a bit of a cult.”

The sad twist in this story is that Campanero fears he may be responsible. Back in 2011, a satisfied customer who happened to be a street artist wrote “I love Joey” in chalk on the side of the building. It stayed there for years, and Campanero suspects that it was mistaken for a tribute to the character Joey Tribbiani.

Silly people! How can you possibly walk past a restaurant and not know the name of the chef and just assume that a love note was meant for a fictional TV character? What is this world coming to?

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Aimee Levitt

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.