From the NY Times:
Dust off the Duesenberg. New York is getting two new studio gates.
The gates will close off a one-block stretch of 36th Street in Astoria, Queens, allowing Kaufman Astoria Studios to consolidate its complex on either side of the street. This will allow the studio to create — in the former roadway itself — a 34,800-square-foot back lot, almost exactly where many outdoor scenes were filmed in the 1920s and ’30s for movies that are themselves long forgotten.
“When you think of going to a studio, you expect to pull up to a gate,” said Hal G. Rosenbluth, the president of Kaufman Astoria. “This will become an iconic symbol for the area.”
The historical heart of Kaufman Astoria complex is an enormous studio building on 35th Avenue that was opened in 1920 by the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, the predecessor to Paramount Pictures. Directly behind this building was a back lot, now occupied by soundstages and offices, that was used for dozens of movies produced or distributed by Paramount until 1939.
The new back lot will be 60 feet wide and 580 feet long, running from 35th Avenue to 34th Avenue. Studio executives and city officials envision it as an alternative to some of the location filming that snarls neighborhoods and tests New Yorkers’ patience. It would offer filmmakers a controlled outdoor environment on which temporary sets could be constructed, stunts and car chases could be staged and large-scale equipment could be used.
Kaufman Astoria rents its studios to producers. (All Saints Hospital from “Nurse Jackie” occupies Stage G, for example, while “Sesame Street” can be found on Stage J.) It has not been affiliated with Paramount Pictures for many decades. It will lease this one block of 36th Street from New York City and effectively control it until 2049.
As a technical matter, the 36th Street segment has been closed — or “de-mapped” — since June 2012. In 2015, Kaufman Astoria will begin paying rent; it will start at $140,000 annually and escalate every five years. It has already begun making payments to the city in lieu of real estate taxes. These began at $33,137 annually and will increase every year.