Whilst Harry Potter’s wizard adventures at Hogwarts largely took place near some loch in Ye Olde Scotland–a cultural landscape dominated by the curmudgeonly sheep & goat demographic–the newest cinematic addition to the Potterverse takes place in New York Motherfucking City, y’all.
That means New Yorkers like yours truly can *actually* visit some of the film’s secret ~magic~ locations in the city. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM? More like FANTASTIC WIZARD BARS AND WHERE TO INSTAGRAM THEM (inevitably the title of an informative but snarky nightlife listicle from Gothamist.)
In a bloody brilliant marketing move, Warner Bros has teamed up with Google Maps to help Muggles (‘scuse me, NO-MAJS) try to figure out how to get to several American wizard must-see spots via subway, bus, or (God forbid) Citibike. And isn’t it just typical wizard privilege that NYC magic-types don’t have to deal with public transport? because broomsticks/Floo Powder/freaking apparition? THEY ARE MISSING OUT ON A VERY LARGE PART OF NYC LIVING. THEY ARE LIKE PEOPLE THAT ONLY TAKE CABS OR UBERS OR HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGES BECAUSE THEY ARE SO RICH. THEY ARE DONALD TRUMP.
What? I’m just kidding I love wizards and I definitely do NOT resent them.
What I do resent, howerver, is the motto of the hip Wizard Bar, “The Blind Pig, as it explicitly states in its Google Maps description: “No-maj? No entry.” Which is just so typical of wizards, but also much of early 20th century America. And present-day America. Oh God.
Other spots on the FANTASTIC BEASTS map include the Goldenstein house, in bougie-as-hell Flatiron district; Steen Bank, aka American Gringotts; and MACUSA, shorthand for the Magical Congress of the USA.
“Home of MACUSA employees Tina and Queenie Goldstein, bewitched with the latest in housekeeping charms.”
Witches don’t clean, bitch! They work for the motherfucking MAGICAL GOVERNMENT.
The Blind Pig
“Underground speakeasy open to witches & wizards (if they know the secret knock). No-Maj? No entry.”
Of course the trendy magic bar is in Greenwich Village. I mean, I appreciate the whole password thing that wizards really seem to dig also harkens back to Prohibition-era speakeasies, but if a No-Maj knows the secret knock WHY WOULD THEY BE DENIED SERVICE?
Oh. Is this a metaphor for segregation?
Steen National Bank
“Trusted bank offering check & saving services, plus loans to those with the right collateral.”
Steen National Bank is such a typical, practical American bank. The Wells-Fargo of the magical world. They’re still wizards, goddamnit! Why don’t we get whimsical-ass names like Gringotts? Why do we call our Muggles something as lame and obvious like No-Majs? Do goblins even run these banks or is it just Wall Street types with wands?
“Headquarters of the Magical Congress of the USA, the governing body of wizarding in America.”
Again with the utilitarian acronyms! MACUSA, seriously? The Magical Congress of the USA is the actual dullest name I’ve ever heard for a governing body–excluding the nonmagical Congress of the USA. Why can’t we elect a Supreme Mugwump to our Wizengamot?
But on today of all days, I think we’d all like to escape the real world, at least for a little while. So why not take a tour of Newt Scamander’s New York City, a place where magic exists and fantastic beasts can be found? Just like ours, the wizarding world has its own share of flaws (and fascists), but on a tour of JK Rowling’s imagined world, we can remember that the good eventually triumphs over He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.