From 'Birdman' to 'Girls,' New York Soundstages Are Booming
With facilities such as Steiner Studios expanding, film and TV production is casting a halo effect over Brooklyn and Queens.
This story first appeared in the April 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Real estate is at a premium in New York City, with land scarce and prices high. But despite those challenges, the city's soundstages are not only booming, but growing. Consider the case of Steiner Studios: Founded 11 years ago, it's served as the production base for The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire and Girls, and it now occupies 580,000 square feet spread across 10 soundstages and production facilities in Brooklyn. Since 2013, it has experienced a 150,000-square-foot growth spurt. The Steiner campus, which hopes to expand to 30 soundstages over the next decade, has outgrown older rivals such as Kaufman Astoria Studios and Silvercup Studios, both in Queens.
Money Monster, and Birdman was a recent tenant. But the real star may be the 40,000-square-foot outdoor backlot. Nearby are Greek restaurants like Taverna Kyclades, where Clooney recently ate with Bill Murray.
Some think of it as the studio that HBO built with The Sopranos and Sex and the City, which both shot here. But Silvercup has been hosting film, TV and commercial shoots since 1983, when it took over space left by Silvercup Bakery. The 18-stage complex's Queens neighborhood is undergoing glass condo-fication, which could imperil its future as a grimy outdoor set for sordid New York scenes in Silvercup shows like Person of Interest.
Siblings and co-presidents Tony and Gina Argento oversee more than 500,000 square feet of production space in scruffy-hip Greenpoint. Befitting the north Brooklyn setting, Broadway is big on green initiatives: Seven of the 32 soundstages are topped by solar-paneled roofs. Blue Bloods and The Good Wife are notable series that shoot here — and regularly occupy neighborhood parks and restaurants.