Coming to Queens: NYC’s first outdoor movie set

Kaufman Astoria Studios is going Hollywood with its very own back lot.

Rendering: Kaufman Astoria Studios

Believe it or not, there’s nary an outdoor film set to be found in all of New York City. (Though if you’ve ever rolled your eyes at exterior shots in How I Met Your Mother, you probably do believe it.) That is about to be remedied, however: Last week, Kaufman Astoria Studios began construction on a 34,800-square-foot back lot on 36th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues in Astoria. The project is set to be completed sometime in the fall.

The 93-year-old studio has long been a movie and TV hub for the city, from Marx Brothers flicks at the dawn of the talkie era to The Wiz, Goodfellas and The Cosby Show. The space was taken over by the U.S. Army during World War II to make training films, eventually ending up in the hands of real-estate developer George S. Kaufman in 1982. Recent flicks shot here include The Bourne Legacy and Men in Black 3. Currently, Sesame Street, Nurse Jackie and Orange Is the New Black all call the studio home. (Side note: We’d really love to see a scene between Oscar the Grouch, Jackie Peyton and Galina “Red” Reznikov.)

The new 60-by-580-foot lot will allow for the filming of open-air shots, special-effects scenes and, of course, car chases. Architectural firm the Rockwell Group is designing a Hollywood-style entry gate (see rendering above), rear gate and a streetscape for filming. The bad news for Astoria residents is that they’ll lose a block of street, but it’s more fun to watch cars blow up than to park them, amirite?

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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