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Don’t worry, The Second Wave is a six-episode pandemic-themed drama from The Good Fight and Evil creators Robert & Michelle King that’s being filmed on W51st Street this month.
The producers, Spectrum Originals and CBS Studios, have taken over a Hell’s Kitchen brownstone that’s been on the market for the past few years, priced at anything from $16.5million to the current asking price of $8,995,000. The 5 bedrooms, 6 story house, is currently “in contract”, according to realtors Corcoran.
Keep an eye out in the neighborhood for The Good Fight‘s Audra McDonald, Orange Is the New Black actor Taylor Schilling and Steven Pasquale (who you’ll have spotted most recently in The Comey Rule). We checked in with Erol Zeren, whose coffee shop Kahve is on the same block: “I haven’t seen any celebs yet, but the producers and assistants have been coming in often”, he said. The team has made their location base at the shuttered Uncle Nick’s Greek Cuisine around the corner on 9th Avenue.
The production crew should be on W51st Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue) for a few weeks, as filming is slated to continue until just before Christmas. In a quick turnaround, the plan is for the first episode of The Second Wave to be shown on Spectrum On Demand before the end of the year.
Deadline reported that The Second Wave follows an unexpected, deadly second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City. It features two neighbors, Rachel (McDonald) and Lily (Schilling), as they navigate life in quarantine. Rachel juggles her many telemedicine clients as well as a shaky marriage, while Lily is upstairs trying to convince her Wall Street clients to use her skillset over video. When a deadly second wave of the virus arrives, the women “face unprecedented times while still juggling their careers, their loved ones… and possibly…the end of the world?”
Pasquale plays Rachel’s husband, Dr. Zach, a top official at the CDC who is stuck between the medicine he knows and the politics thrust upon him.
The brownstone makes an amazing set for the show. The home has been marketed over the past few years as at times “The Manse” and “Midtown Castle” (depending on which brokers were in charge of selling the house).
It was built in 1910 and owned by the Catholic church until 2011, when it was bought for $3.05m by “a Wall Street guy,” Matthew Hansen.
“I wanted it to be like Alice in Wonderland — normal from the outside, not so normal on the inside,” Hansen told Mansion Global back in 2016 about his inspiration for his unique transformation from a Christian Brothers monastery to a designer townhouse.
Hansen undertook a 4-year renovation on the property. First off, he restored the austere facade and stoop, guided by archive photos. “The stone scrolls each weigh over 500lbs and are exactly the same as they looked in the 1900s,” he said. Then he gutted the property remodeling with double-height ceilings in the living area and master bedroom, with four additional bedrooms that are as large as most people’s apartments at 500 square feet each.
The whole set up must be a dream come true for the production crew. There is an elevator in the building for their heavy equipment, the property has its own generator, it has a “gastropub”, and there are balconies that allow for diverse angles – just like the best studio setups. And if there is a real second wave, what better location to be holed up for a few weeks!
There’s been some cynicism about the sensitivity of the topic. One commenter on the Deadline announcement ironically said: “Yeah, because that’s what we want to watch on television in the midst of this pandemic. Excellent escapist fare. Like that time I was serving five years in San Quentin and watched Papillon and Cool Hand Luke over and over in the prison library.”