American Psycho: Is American Gardens an Actual Apartment Complex in New York?

An opulent apartment with luxurious amenities is a major part of Patrick Bateman’s narcissistic life in the 2000 psychological thriller ‘American Psycho.’ The serial killer, who works as a banker, has an affluent lifestyle, which is evident in his modern apartment in the American Gardens complex at 55 West 81st Street, New York. Its location in a supremely posh city area is a testament to Bateman’s status, which he takes very seriously in his conversations with his colleagues at work. In a narrative in which the exterior façade becomes an integral theme, American Gardens offers the protagonist an opportunity to display his elevated position without holding much substance!

American Gardens Does Not Exist in Real Life

The American Gardens apartment complex in ‘American Psycho’ is a fictional establishment conceived by Bret Easton Ellis, whose novel of the same name was adapted by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner to the screen. With modern art pieces, pieces of furniture, and music systems, the apartment is home to a collection of several tasteful things that have been arranged in a hollow atmosphere lacking any warmth. Patrick Bateman engages in his daily skincare routine, workouts, and severe dietary standards almost as a way of living up to the pristine aesthetic of his material home.

While the film’s narrative places the apartment complex at 55 West 81st Street, there is no such establishment called American Gardens in this area. Instead, the location is graced by another apartment called the Galaxy at 51 West 81st Street, as the address provided in ‘American Psycho’ doesn’t exist. It is a residential apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that offers great views of the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. The scenes featuring the interior of Patrick’s home were filmed on sound stages in Toronto. Due to the violence and sensitive subject matter portrayed in the narrative, large portions of the crime thriller had to be primarily shot on sets rather than on location as it was intended in the beginning.

Image Credit: Compass

In the film and the novel, Patrick boasts about the prime location of his American Gardens apartment on the Upper West Side. It’s one of the ways in which he attempts to fit into the superficial attitude and culture present within the groups of his friends and colleagues. The building signifies his desperate need for affirmation and also his detachment from the rest of society on whom he inflicts his pain through the brutal killings. The immaculately kept rooms within the apartment do not reflect a house that is filled with warmth and a welcoming vibe. Instead, it has a cold elegance that hides a brutal monster lurking underneath its well-maintained exterior.

In a strange way, it is apt that the titular psycho lives at American Gardens. The apartment may not exist in reality, but like its fictional inhabitant, it serves as a stark reminder of the uncontrolled materialism and ostentatious culture on display in ‘American Psycho.’

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