2009-04-10 / Front Page

Shooting 'Back' On 116 Street

By Howard Schwach

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."

A camera crew sets up on Beach 116 Street on Friday. In the story, a man who returns home in 2009 only to be told that he was reported missing on 9/11/2001, winds up living in a fleabag motel. All photos by Howard Schwach A camera crew sets up on Beach 116 Street on Friday. In the story, a man who returns home in 2009 only to be told that he was reported missing on 9/11/2001, winds up living in a fleabag motel. All photos by Howard Schwach On Saturday, both ends of the busy shopping street were closed to parking, with only a small area in the municipal lot open for locals.

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.

Television star Skeet Ulrich (center), who was formerly on "Jericho," stands with other actors in front of the firehouse on Beach 116 Street on Monday. Ulrich plays a firefighter who marries a 9/11 widow only to find, eight years later, that her husband is still alive. Photo by Chris Kalisak. Television star Skeet Ulrich (center), who was formerly on "Jericho," stands with other actors in front of the firehouse on Beach 116 Street on Monday. Ulrich plays a firefighter who marries a 9/11 widow only to find, eight years later, that her husband is still alive. Photo by Chris Kalisak. While none of the owners wanted to be quoted by name because they are seeking compensation from the production company, a number spoke on the promise of anonymity.

"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."

A large trailer, reportedly for the stars of the pilot, maneuvering its way into the municipal parking lot in the rain on Monday. A large trailer, reportedly for the stars of the pilot, maneuvering its way into the municipal parking lot in the rain on Monday. Danny Dubins, who was to open his new pet store with great fanfare on Saturday, had to cancel all of his plans because he could not use the street for the promotion.

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."

Workers covered up the majority of street signs that might intrude into the scene. Pre-shooting work took up much of the day on Saturday, and only the parking on the southern end of the block was curtailed. On Monday, however, both ends of the busy shopping street were closed to parking. Workers covered up the majority of street signs that might intrude into the scene. Pre-shooting work took up much of the day on Saturday, and only the parking on the southern end of the block was curtailed. On Monday, however, both ends of the busy shopping street were closed to parking. "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).

(Top Photo) Prop NYPD patrol cars block the curb on the busy street. (Top Photo) Prop NYPD patrol cars block the curb on the busy street. 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.

(Left Photo) As part of the illusion, plastic leaves were glued to a number of the trees on the central mall of Beach 116 Street. Notice how some of the trees are bare, while others are in full bloom. (Left Photo) As part of the illusion, plastic leaves were glued to a number of the trees on the central mall of Beach 116 Street. Notice how some of the trees are bare, while others are in full bloom.

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