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Popular HBO series stages film shoot on Bell Boulevard

Lena Dunham (l.-r.), Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke and Allison Williams make up the cast of "Girls," which shot scenes along Bell Boulevard Tuesday. Photo courtesy Jessica Miglio/HBO
TimesLedger Newspapers

Another popular television series took to the streets of Bayside to film part of an upcoming season, but with a new set of rules to minimize the effects on Bell Boulevard businesses.

The HBO series “Girls” set up from 39th to 42nd avenues and parts of 35th Avenue near 215th Street Tuesday, making it the third major film shoot in northeast Queens over the past year.

Crews lined the boulevard Tuesday and set up at C.J. Sullivan’s near the Bayside Long Island Rail Road station to film parts of the popular award-winning show.

This time around, however, leaders of the business district stepped up the restrictions after seeing storefronts come to a complete stop when the cameras started rolling.

Lyle Sclair, executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, said he worked with Community Board 11 to establish some ground rules and keep storefronts from losing all available street parking. The business director said he had seen enough after the most recent film shoot when the FX series “The Americans” closed much of Bell Boulevard earlier this year.

Instead of shutting the boulevard down for another TV shoot, Sclair said “Girls” was told the series could only use the west side of Bell Boulevard for crew vehicles.

“Losing that amount of parking is just devastating for the BID, so we asked to have it reduced,” Sclair said. “We understand that it is a big economic development push the city has, but we asked they keep our small businesses in mind.”

The HBO series was created by Lena Dunham, who also stars in the show, with help from filmmakers Judd Apatow and Jenni Jonner as executive producers. “Girls” has grown since its 2012 debut into a celebrated series with several awards and honors on the national stage. It was renewed for a third season in January.

Kim Bragg was walking past one of the film crews Tuesday evening when she stopped to watch.

“I’m a big fan. I love it,” she said about the show. “I’ve been lingering for a little bit to try and catch a glimpse of the actors.”

Before Tuesday’s film shoot, the new FX series “The Americans” transformed Bell Boulevard into a 1980s Cold War drama with KGB spies and old-fashioned cars. Street parking in Bayside was temporarily suspended along Bell Boulevard from 39th to 42nd avenues and in select spots on 39th, 40th and 41st avenues. Throughout the day with FX in town, business owners along the strip told TimesLedger Newspapers they generally did not mind the temporary parking ban despite the dip in sales.

Also in Douglaston, “The Carrie Diaries,” a prequel to “Sex and the City,” filmed on the streets behind PS 98 along 41st Avenue in March 2012.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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