Long Island is more than ready for its close-up. In fact, the region has a starring role in two major releases in 2019 – Martin Scorsese’s popular drama “The Irishman,” set at Huntington Station, and “Bad Education,” starring Hugh Jackman as the former Roslyn School Principal Frank Tassone.
Don’t think Long Island is a newcomer to the film industry. The region has been a main actor on screen since the days of silent films. If you’re looking for a cool day trip, why not visit these local spots that have served as the backdrop to great movies.
1. Start your visit at Old Westbury Gardens, namely its large Phipps estate. More famous still, the mansion dubbed in the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock thriller “North by Northwest” as the home of Glen Cove where the film’s hero, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), was kidnapped by the villain. creepy (James Mason) then forced-fed alcohol by an even scarier villain (played by a very young Martin Landau). The Phipps Mansion was also featured in “Love Story” (1970) and “Cruel Intentions” (1999). ($ 12 adults, $ 7 ages 7-17; 516-333-0048, oldwestburygardens.org)
2. When you’re done with the mansion, you can take a quick tour of the property or just get back in your car and drive 11 miles north to Sands Point Preserve ($ 10 / parking; sandspointpreserveconservancy.org). Here you can visit Cliff, the estate owned by Harry Guggenheim (who was married to Newsday founder Alicia Patterson) and see the room where the memorable horse head in the bedroom scene from “The Godfather” (1972 ) was filmed ($ 10 guided tours offered Thursday-Sunday May-November, reserve at 516-571-7901).
3. Next to Cliff is Hempstead House, another mansion that has served as the backdrop for many films, including “Scent of a Woman” (1992) and “Malcolm X” (also 1992). On prior request, you can also take a guided tour (516-571-7901).
4. Stop at Coe Hall, the mansion of Oyster Bay Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park (516-922 9200, plantingfields.org), for a guided tour and you might recognize it in “A Winter’s” Tale ”(2014). The fantasy romance starring Colin Farrell as a burglar with a gift for reincarnation used the basement, furnace, and other rooms in Coe Hall. Be sure to call ahead, as Coe shuts down during the winter.
5. If you’re in the mood for a laugh, drop by the Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown (516-731-3358, govs.com), who played a barely-disguised version of himself in “The Comedian” (2017). The film stars Robert De Niro as Jackie Burke, a former TV star who has fallen so far he’s reduced to acting – horrors! – Long Island. If you go there, you might even see West Hempstead comic book Jessica Kirson, a regular who coached De Niro during filming.
6. Have an evening drink at Woody’s Village Saloon at 1015 Park Blvd. in Massapequa Park (516-798-9786, woodysvillagesaloon.com). This is where Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt shot four key scenes from the comedy-drama “Young Adult” (2011). She plays a bestselling but troubled author, he plays an old admirer and Woody’s plays their local hangout. The production crew hosted a birthday party there for director Jason Reitman, who turned 33 days before filming began.
7. One of Long Island’s biggest claims to fame is that Jackson Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner, made the area their home. When Ed Harris realized himself as a legendary action painter, in “Pollock” (2000) he shot a number of shots at the Pollock-Krasner house (631-324-4929, stonybrook.edu/pkhouse ) in East Hampton. Due to the house’s landmark status, Harris limited himself to exteriors. Even the concrete slab outside, on which Pollock painted much of her paint, was off-limits because she feared Harris would spill paint on it. Instead, the team built a nearby duplicate for the shoot.