Two Roaring 20s Landmarks Reinvented as Hollywood Studio, Event Space
By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
Yes, you got that right! Hollywood! The Big Apple will soon have its first and only outdoor studio set on 36th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues in Astoria, Queens. Kaufman Astoria Studios, a historic film and media production facility that was established more than 90 years ago as Paramount’s east coast production arm, is looking to expand and bring a little bit of that Hollywood magic to this section of Queens.
DNAinfo.com reports that the new production space will offer filmmakers an appropriate outdoor space where temporary sets can be built, and special-effect scenes and realistic car chases can be filmed within a controlled area.
Though it was de-mapped in June 2012, 36th street was closed to traffic last week as a result of a deal between Kaufman Astoria Studios and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) that allows the studio to lease the street until 2049. According to an earlier news report by The New York Times, the studio will begin paying rent in 2015 ($140,000 per year, but the amount is set to increase every five years). Reportedly, the new outdoor studio will feature a Hollywood-style main gate designed by a team of architects from the Rockwell Group.
Meanwhile in New York City’s West Side, another landmark from the Roaring Twenties is currently undergoing renovations. Located at 639 West 46th Street, the former H&H Bagel Factory will become Metropolitan West, the newest event venue in this part of the city that has become a popular location for tourists.
Metropolitan West will open in late 2013 as an extension of Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in Chelsea. The new venue will host over 200 events each year, from Internet Week to corporate events. According to the Commercial Observer, back in early 2012 Metropolitan Pavilion signed a lease for the 24,000-square-foot facility with the MKF Group, which owns the building. The remodeling process, with plans designed by architect David Feldman, will include a new elevator, new stairs, new mechanicals, and a renovated façade that will preserve the building’s many original Art Deco architectural details.
Studio Gate rendering courtesy of Kaufman Astoria Studios; Metropolitan West rendering via Melody Joy Public Relations