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Wednesday July 17th 2024

13 Going On 30 | 2004

13 Going On 30 film location: Spruce Street, South Pasadena, California
13 Going On 30 film location: the "New Jersey" homes of Jenna and Matt: Spruce Street, South Pasadena, California | Photograph: Google Maps

Set in New York and New Jersey, there’s precious little New Jersey but quite a bit of Los Angeles in this cautionary tale disguised as a fluffy fantasy, is

If the 1987 ‘Garden State’ homes of schoolfriends Jenna and Matt look more Southern Californian, it’s because they’re numbers 1837 and 1839 Spruce Street in South Pasadena, LA’s leafy eastern neighbour.

13 Going On 30 film location: Marshall School, Allen Avenue, Pasadena
13 Going On 30 film location: Jenna and Matt's "New Jersey" school: Marshall School, Allen Avenue, Pasadena

The high school, where Jenna dreams of being admitted to the snotty Six Chicks clique, is also Pasadena, but up in East Pasadena. It’s Marshall Fundamental Secondary School, 990 Allen Avenue, which was also the school attended by Sam Witwicky (Shia Labeouf) in Michael Bay’s first Transformers movie, as well as appearing in Cameron Crowe’s 2011 We Bought A Zoo, with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

In fact, the film is starting to feel so Californian that when the suddenly-older Jenna (Jennifer Garner) wakes up, it’s more of a jolt that she’s in New York than that she’s suddenly “Thirty, flirty and thriving” in 2004.

13 Going On 30 film location: Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
13 Going On 30 film location: adult Jenna's smart Manhattan apartment': Fifth Avenue, Manhattan | Photograph: Google Maps

She turns out to have become a “big time” magazine editor living in 51 5th Avenue at East 12th Street, a smart apartment block in the Union Square district – which was also home to Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt in TV’s Mad About You.

Spooked by the ringing of a mysterious object called a “mobile phone”, Jenna gets out of the car taking her to work at the junction of East 50th Street and Park Avenue.

She’s on her way to the offices of Poise magazine at 444 Madison Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, Midtown, but she’s more interested in tracking down her schoolfriend Matt.

13 Going On 30 film location: 4th Street, Greenwich Village, New York
13 Going On 30 film location: adult Matt's Greenwich Village apartment': 4th Street, Greenwich Village, New York | Photograph: Google Maps

He’s grown up to become Mark Ruffalo, living in a West Village apartment at 305 West 4th Street, just north of Bank Street. Jenna’s taken aback to learn they’ve had no contact for years.

Poise mag is hosting a party, giving Jenna the chance to try out her new wardrobe and to be driven through Times Square in a stretch limo.

The party, though – saved by Jenna’s irresistible Thriller routine – is held inside good old standby 650 Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles, the old Bank of America Building that’s become a screen veteran, previously seen in Se7en, Spider-Man 2, Bridesmaids and  Star Trek Into Darkness.

Jenna’s enjoying the high-life, taking the opportunity to shop at upscale frock-store Henri Bendel, since closed, at 712 5th Avenue, and attending a swish cocktail party, where she meets up with Tom-Tom (Judy Greer), former leader of the enviable Six Chicks.

13 Going On 30 film location: Greene Street in SoHo, Manhattan
13 Going On 30 film location: the cocktail party: Greene Street in SoHo, Manhattan

Did you recognize the cobbled street and the bar exterior as 71 Greene Street – the antiques store in Highlander? This seems to be a popular screen neighbourhood – both Will Smith, in Hitch, and Ben Stiller in Zoolander, lived across the street at 80 Greene Street.

Trying to reconnect with Matt, Jenna is curious to know why they stopped being best friends after her 13th birthday party. As they stroll along Greenwich Street at Perry Street in Greenwich Village, it becomes obvious to Jenna that she’s grown up to be a pretty unpleasant adult.

She tries to make amends by hiring aspiring photographer Matt to do shoots for the important redesign of Poise.

13 Going On 30 film location: New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue, New York
13 Going On 30 film location: the 'Class of 2004' photoshoot: New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue, New York

The ‘Class of 2004’ group photo is posed in front of New York Public Library, 455 West 5th Avenue, famous of course from the opening shots of Ghostbusters.

Jenna and Matt bond further, taking a nighttime stroll along the boardwalk of the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park at 26 New Dock Street, Brooklyn, across the East River from Manhattan, between Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. The park is also where Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) meets up with Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Happier, Jenna walks in the rain and gleefully takes down copies of rival Sparkle magazine from a street store at MacDougal and West 3rd Street,in the Village.

13 Going On 30 film location: Fletcher Avenue, South Pasadena, California
13 Going On 30 film location: Jenna and Matt move into their married home: Fletcher Avenue, South Pasadena, California | Photograph: Google Maps

It’s no spoiler to reveal that, despite complications, all ends happily, with Jenna getting the chance to be 13 over again and make all the right life choices – including marrying Matt. The home they move into is 1965 Fletcher Avenue, back in South Pasadena. No, disappointingly it's not painted pink in real life.