James and the Giant Peach. An NYC adventure

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Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
3:00pm, 18th July

“You know what those buildings are?” shouted James, jumping up and down with excitement.

“Those are skyscrapers! So this must be America! And that, my friends, means that we have crossed the Atlantic Ocean overnight!’

Who would have thought a pack of insects, a giant peach and a small boy named James Henry Trotter would travel all the way across the Atlantic and end up in New York City? It really is quite remarkable, isn’t it. 

If you too are planning to travel all that way, may we first recommend that you perhaps don’t travel by peach – it isn’t always the most convenient way and the flights aren’t anywhere near as frequent as Virgin Atlantic’s are. And secondly, we also suggest that you take our suggestions of this tour of NYC, inspired by the most superb of stories.  

Click on the map below to uncover the story of James and his fantastic friends inspired by this iconic city! 

A. Roald Dahl’s NYC apartment: 26 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028
Did you know that this apartment is where the wonderful world of James and the Giant Peach came to fruition? It was here that Roald Dahl penned down page after page of notes on yellow lined paper about giant fruit, a whole host of insects (some of which didn’t quite make the cut – like an excitable earwig, a woodlouse and a chatty caterpillar) and of course, James. 

Whilst we wouldn’t recommend knocking on the door, it’s awfully rude to interrupt people in their home and quite frankly we’re not sure you’ll get past the concierge - you should start your adventure here and take a long look at the streets which Roald Dahl used to stroll along every single day. 

B. Central Park 
Once you’ve gazed upon the apartment where Roald wrote, dive straight into one of the most important NYC locations of the whole story – Central Park. 

After all it was here that the Giant Peach’s journey came to an end and where the peach stone became the permanent place of inhabitancy for our hero, James.

Oh and as you walk through Central Park take a look at people’s feet, and look for those wearing the smartest of shoes. Should you spot any you admire think of the Centipede, who when he settled down in NYC, became the Vice-President-in-Charge-of-Sales of the city’s finest boot and shoe manufacturers!

C. New York Philharmonic Orchestra, 10 Lincoln Center, New York, NY 10023
Having seen where James’s NYC residence it seems only right to also explore the American adventures of the insects too. 

You may well remember that the Old-Green-Grasshopper really was an extraordinarily talented musician, so it came as no surprise that he joined New York’s most prestigious symphony orchestra as a member of the Strings sections. 

His playing was greatly admired the citywide and if you’d like to catch a sound snippet of what of his chorus may have sounded like, you should attend a performance at the Lincoln Center. Every Saturday afternoon they host special Young People’s Concerts, ideal for those tramping this trail. 

D. Big Apple Circus, 3 Columbus Circle, Floor 15, New York, NY 10019 
When Miss Spider and The Silkworm arrived in New York City, they wasted no time at all learning skills, which would transform them into very successful business owners. Once able to spin nylon thread instead of silk, they set up a factory together making ropes for tightropes. If you head to the Big Apple Circus you’ll be able to glance upon those very tightropes, being balanced upon by the city’s finest acrobats! 

E. The New York Public Library, 475 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Whilst living in New York, Roald Dahl used to visit frequently to take copious amounts of notes about the insects who would become James’s closest companions to be sure that the characters were as realistic as could be. 

If you ask politely the staff might even show you where you might be able to find the insect books and you could learn a few more facts for yourself.  

Note: Admission to the library is free and you can take a free, docent-led tour of the building. Tours take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 

F. Empire State Building, New York, NY 10001
The Empire State Building was the landing place of the Giant Peach and you should most certainly take a trip to the top to look upon our friends’ first view of New York City, following their epic adventure across the Atlantic! 

(Did you also know that the lift in the Empire State Building, is thought to have. acted as early inspiration for Wonka’s Great Glass Elevator!)

‘There was a squelch. The needle went in deep. And suddenly there was the giant peach, caught and spiked upon the very pinnacle of the Empire State Building’ 

G. Take a stroll down Fifth Avenue and keep your eyes peeled. 
Remember at the end of the tale when the people of New York City through a huge welcome procession for the peach and its crew. Well they travelled right down this very road, whilst the people of New York waved from the pavements in excitement. 

It’s important you keep your eyes peeled throughout. If you see a fire engine at any point pass you by, be sure to wave at it’s driver, it could be the Ladybird’s husband as for when they arrived in this grand city she soon fell in love with and married the the head of the New York City Fire Department!

That’s not all, if you see a beauty store you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be the skin cream for which the Earthworm became a mascot. His silky smooth skin made it one of the best-selling products in the city!

H. New York City Hall, City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007, USA
When James had finished his procession but before his permanent residence in the peach stone in Central Park, the Mayor of New York City threw him the most fantastic party in New York City Hall. It was here for the very first time in a very long time James got to play with other children! 

I. Statue of Liberty, New York, NY 10004, USA
The last stop on our tour - the wonderful Statue of Liberty. The very best way to see Lady Liberty is to hop on the Staten Island Ferry, which is free and leaves from Whitehall (4 South Street, New York City, NY 10004) multiple times a day. 

As you glide across the water by boat and glance upwards to see New York’s most loved landmark take an extra close look at her torch. Inside of the torch, if your eyesight is good enough, you’ll see the Glowworm, who lights Lady Liberty’s torch and every year saves the city of New York a fortune in electricity bills!