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Queens Chronicle

Kaufman studios to build new stage

$20 million project will allow for more movies to film in Queens

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:57 am, Thu May 1, 2014.

Kaufman Astoria Studios, the venue where hundreds of movies and television shows are filmed, will open a new 18,000-square-foot sound stage by 2016.

The project, called Stage N, will be the studio’s 10th stage and cost the company $20 million.

By the end of construction, the stage will be 40 feet high, the same size as Stage K at Kaufman, which opened in 2010.

“It seems necessary, I guess,” Ingrid Hanes, an Astoria resident, said. “It’s great that they’re doing that well that they can afford to build another stage. It brings a lot of attention to our neighborhood, which I love.”

“Men in Black 3,” “Sesame Street,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Nurse Jackie” have been shot at Kaufman, which opened its first outdoor soundstage in December.

Before the Kaufman family bought the studio, the space had set the stage for a number of Marx Brothers movies.

Stages, unlike shooting on outside streets, provide directors with free reign to work without worrying about disruptive sounds, inconveniencing neighbors or bad weather.

“The more they keep it inside, the better,” Paul, who would not provide his last name, said. “When they shut down the streets, it inconveniences everyone. We can’t park, we can’t walk down the block. It’s a nuisance. If this stage can create a little less film traffic in my neighborhood, I welcome it.”

In recent months, Kaufman Studios and local government officials, including state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) have pushed to bring more film projects to Queens.

Recently, Van Bramer introduced Kaufman, and several surrounding businesses and schools, as Queens’ first official arts district.

It is all part of the latest initiative to make New York the film and television capital of the world.

“It makes me happy to see not only New York becoming a contender but Queens also,” Hanes said. “I have been here for 30 years and I have never seen this neighborhood as popular and bustling as it is now. Kaufman had a lot to do with that.”

Construction is expected to break ground early next year and should take approximately 14 months to complete.

“I’m not looking forward to construction, I’ll tell you that,” Paul said. “We already had a lot of construction. The fence was just finished a few months ago and now we have to sit through new construction? It’s never ending.”

While officials including Gianaris have acknowledged that filming can be a nuisance for neighbors, he has also said that the business and awareness these projects bring into the community far outweigh the few complaints he receives.

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