By looking closely at the setting of HBO’s latest crime drama, “The Night Of,” Queens residents may see some familiar places.
The eight-part series follows Naz, a shy Pakistani-American college student, who after a one-night stand with a stranger in her home, wakes up to find her stabbed to death.
The first episode aired on July 10 and the second episode aired last Sunday, July 17. Turturro plays Naz’s lawyer as they try to piece together the night and convince the court that he did not commit murder.
Naz and his family live in Jackson Heights and in the first episode we get a glimpse of the eclectic shops dotting 74th Street. Shane Haden, the location manager of the show, said that the creators wrote Jackson Heights into the show and that it was an ideal neighborhood to capture the flavor of Naz’s Muslim community.
Haden, a location manager for 15 years, has worked on shows like “Limitless,” “Glee,” “Bloodline,” “Damages,” “The Jim Gaffigan Show” and worked as an assistant location manager for the movie “The Avengers.”
Once cops find that Naz is connected to the murder of a woman, who is played by Sofia Black-D’Elia, he eventually ends up in what is supposed to be Rikers Island. Though the crew could not actually film at the prison, they found a replacement – the Queens House of Detention in Kew Gardens.
Located at 126-02 82nd Ave., the jail was closed to prisoners in 2002 but was kept operational for court processing during the day.
The Queens House of Detention once housed rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard and John Taylor, an employee at a Wendy’s in Flushing who stole from the restaurant chain’s cash register and killed five of the seven employees with the help of a partner.
Haden said the recent explosion of filming in New York City requires location managers to discover new places to shoot.
“There’s so much production work in New York that people are trying to find new hidden gems,” Haden said.
Scouts will look at the script and put up flyers around neighborhoods with specific locations they’re looking for: rowhouses, brownstones or whatever specific look the director discussed. Once a location is found, the director, production designer and scouts will get together as a team to discuss if it is suitable.
Some “hidden gems” found by the scouts include Calvary Cemetery in Woodside and Aviation High School in Long Island City. They also filmed Naz’s college scenes in Queens College.
“Calvary Cemetery [was] very interesting,” Haden said. “The Aviation High School is an amazing location that a lot of people I don’t think know about. It’s actually limited to when you’re not impacting the students there as well. On a show like ‘The Night Of,’ if you shoot on the weekends, a location like Aviation High School becomes a possibility.”
Richmond Hill was also used to shoot scenes, and Haden said residents were inviting toward them since they don’t have as much exposure to film crews on their streets.
The show is packed with Queens locations, and Haden said viewers can also expect to see more of Jackson Heights.
“There’s enough of Queens in there that [residents] should stay tuned,” Haden said.
“The Night Of” airs on HBO on Sundays at 9 p.m.