WGAE picketers branch out to Queens


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LONG ISLAND CITY -- Day 2 of the writers strike dawned on a cold, damp morning for about 25 picketers in front of Silvercup Studios in this industrial section of Queens near the 59th Street Bridge.

Tuesday's WGA East initiative was quite a contrast from Monday's protest in Midtown Manhattan in front of NBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which drew hundreds of protesters and tons of attention from local and national media plus hundreds of tourists and onlookers. But WGA East president Michael Winship said that it was important to branch out the picket line to another key part of New York City production, even if it was far away from the tourism and media center.

That made Silvercup Studios, a film and TV production studio since 1983, the perfect spot. NBC's "30 Rock," the CW's "Gossip Girl" and other productions are filmed here.

"Silvercup is important for us because there's a great deal of production here," Winship said Tuesday morning. "Long Island City has been called Hollywood East."

There wasn't as much media attention on 22nd Street in the borough of Queens, where the protest set up with a big inflatable rat a few feet from Silvercup's main entrance. A few reporters came by, but there were almost no onlookers and the occasional cab.

It didn't seem to faze the strikers, who said that they were inspired by the solidarity of the union as well as the efforts of the West Coast writers who were picketing every Hollywood studio.

"The writers in L.A. are making some very inspirational stands, and we've got to match their commitment," said Bryan Goluboff, who carried a sign with a big picture of his three daughters, ages 22 months to 8 years old.

"This is a truly righteous issue," Goluboff said.

A union organizer said that it wasn't likely that big names would be manning the picket lines Tuesday at Silvercup, though a rolling wave of writers would brave the decidedly fall-like conditions to keep the protest going until its 5 p.m. end time. More picketers were expected to arrive in Long Island City, relatively easily accessible via the 7 or N-W subway lines across the East River from Manhattan, later in the day when the weather was expected to clear.

The third day of protests was scheduled to be held on the far side of Manhattan, along the Hudson River, at Chelsea Piers, where "Law & Order" is filmed.