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Murray Hill welcomes CBS crews filming police drama

A CBS television crew of about 80 descended on the quiet neighborhood of Murray Hill last week with a contingent of white trucks and trailers along 35th Avenue.

“We’re filming a TV show for CBS called ‘Unforgettable,’” locations manager Greg Morrison said July 27. “It’s based in Queens. We’ll be all over Queens for the next five to seven months.”

Scheduled to air Tuesdays this fall, the 12-episode television series tells the story of former police Detective Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery), who uses her superlative memory ability to solve crimes. Together with her ex-boyfriend and partner, NYPD Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), Wells solves homicide mysteries, including that of her sister.

Speaking rapidly into headsets, often in foreign accents, set crew and production workers walked quickly up and down 35th Avenue to coordinate the extensive operation. The Church on the Hill, at 167-05 35th Ave., was used for catering.

Morrison said that on the whole residents had been quite cooperative with the crew, even allowing them to change signs on nearby businesses to create a set.

“Everyone here has been super friendly,” Morrison said.

Crew members were also happy to be in Queens and noted the economic benefits for the area from the filming.

Sound mixer John McCormick, 59, lives in New Jersey and spends about $500 a week in hotel stays and food wherever he is working.

“This will be good for Queens, I think. There’s a lot of money that gets spread around,” he said. “You can’t cross two rivers and work 14-hour days.”

The city Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment reported that 160 television series are based in the city. In 2010, 200 feature films were shot in New York City, up from 188 in 2009.

Although areas such as Whitestone, where filming is frequent, may find the film crews an annoyance, Murray Hill cordially welcomed CBS. The neighborhood was notified about a week in advance of the filming and instructed not to park on certain streets during that time.

“I love it,” neighborhood resident Richard Pastorelli, 69, said. “I wish they would do it more.”

A group of about 10, mostly retirees or parents with children, gathered across the street from the set on 169th Street to watch the action.

“It’s exciting,” local resident Janine Werner, 45, said. “It’s short so it doesn’t disrupt our life too much. It brings a little bit of TV right into our place. We don’t realize how much goes into it, so it’s a good lesson for kids.”

Reach reporter Evelyn Cheng by phone at 718-260-4524.

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