Shooting 'Back' On 116 Street
Parking was nearly impossible and shopping was difficult on Beach 116 Street last weekend and into Monday, when a television production team came to the street to shoot a portion of a new CBS pilot called "Back."
The rest of the parking slots were taken up by trucks and trailers belonging to the production company.
The prime shooting locations were at the firehouse on Beach 116 Street and at the single room occupancy hotels at the southern end of the beach block, but the shoot spread out along the rest of the twoblock shopping area as well.
Many of the local shopkeepers were angered by the city's approval of tying up the entire street on the weekend before Easter.
"Nobody can even see that my store is open because all of the trucks block it from the street," said one angry owner. "You would think that the city would have given us some advance warning. They let us know on Thursday morning and put up the signs that afternoon."
"This is just another manifestation of how the city treats its business owners," said another. "They don't care whether or not we earn a living as long as we pay the draconian taxes. How can they do this to an entire shopping street that's in financial trouble to begin with?"
"Business, what business?" said a third owner looking at the rain come down on Monday morning. "What person in their right mind is going to park blocks away and then walk in this rain to come to my store? The city is destroying us."
Dubins, and other storeowners who were negatively impacted by the shoot, hope that they will be compensated for their losses.
That is a distinct possibility, said John Lepore, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, who has been acting as a go-between for the owners and the production team.
"I got lots of calls," Lepore told The Wave on Monday afternoon. "The merchants are concerned that they had no advance warning. The city did lousy job of alerting people.
"I spoke to the location manager, and he tried to help by cutting down on the no parking restrictions until he needed to use those locations," Lepore added. "There is a chance that owners will be reimbursed for their losses. I believe they have already made amends with the pet shop owner."
"This is a double-edged sword," he concluded. "People want to see their area highlighted, but they don't want to be disrupted. The location manager said that he wants to show 'the local flavor' of Rockaway. This is a 9/11 story, and they have empathy for the locals who died in the World Trade Center."
The premise of the show, which stars John C. McGinley (Scrubs), Skeet Ulrich (Jericho) and Sherry Stringfield (ER), posits that Richard (Ulrich), who was declared dead in the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, comes back home in 2009 only to find his ex-wife (Stringfield) married to a firefighter who survived the attack (McGinley).
The show follows the trials and tribulations faced by Richard, who is trying to get his old life back. Richard winds up in a single room occupancy hotel, which is why the crew was shooting on Beach 116 Street.
Lepore said that he was told that a decision was to be made in the next two months as to whether or not "Back" would be on CBS's fall schedule.