“It’s as if they were bringing the era back to life”


TROY – HBO’s ‘The Gilded Age’ recreates 1882 New York City for the story of old and new money and the evolution of American society, but it also brings the life of the crust to life Superior of Troy in the same period, said a local historian who witnessed the production.

For the five years leading up to the nine-part debut of “The Gilded Age,” which is at 9 p.m. Monday, Kathy Sheehan, the city of Troy and county of Rensselaer historian, worked with the production designer of the Bob Shaw and scouts show to connect them with Troy’s almost intact late 19and century streetscape that could replace Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Troy’s double casting for New York was such a success that scouts returned looking for locations to film a potential second season for the series. HBO has yet to announce whether it will greenlight any new episodes.

“These are all the people we know who lived in the houses here. We have people’s stories here. They were the same people who lived in New York,” Sheehan said of the similarities between the elites of the two cities.

Watching the first five episodes provided by HBO, Sheehan was thrilled to see her filming suggestions appear in the story. The Hart Cluett Museum, where Sheehan is based, has diaries, letters, and other artifacts from Troy’s Golden Age. The series captures the essence of that past century, she said.

“It’s amazing how they turned the story into a nine-part series. It’s like they brought the era to life,” Sheehan said.

One of the main reasons ‘The Gilded Age’ has spent so much time in Troy is that its 1800s streetscape stretches for blocks, allowing the director to have cameras filming scenes in depth. Washington Park has demonstrated this.

Washington Park replaced Madison Square Park when the Statue of Liberty’s hand holding her torch was recreated with a base built by crews and the torch installed by computer-generated graphics. It was the background that made the scene authentic.

From every angle it was 19and century architecture to be seen from Second Street, Third Street, Washington Street and Washington Place that surround the private 1.8 acre gated park. Sheehan said that’s what Shaw and production wanted to capture as an authentic feel.

When Sheehan saw the Hart House on screen, she was delighted to see this part of the museum complex featured. The crews spent approximately six weeks in Troy filming to replicate New York.

When the story moves to the Academy of Music, an opera house built in 1854 in New York City, the action takes place at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Second Street.

“With the music hall, they probably had the least to do. It was finished in 1875. This is 1882 (in the series),” Sheehan said. The only touch-up she saw was new velvet put along the boxes.

Oakwood Cemetery, Second Street Castle and Monument Square turned Manhattan shopping district caught Sheehan’s eye as she pointed out the landmarks, as did the County Courthouse in Rensselaer, the main branch of the Troy Public Library, second and third street standing houses for residences in Brooklyn and Manhattan, an apartment building scene, and Washington Park.

“It’s Downton Abbey in New York,” Sheehan remarked of the new series prequel to the British show which opened with news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and entered the 1920s. were created and written by Julian Fellowes. “The Gilded Age” drew laughs and guesses about plot development from Sheehan, Doug Bucher and Barb Urban who watched episodes at the Hart Cluett Museum.

It is expected that there will be a crossover between the two series. Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector, Denée Benton and Louisa Jacobson are cast in the new show, according to HBO’s synopsis.

Bucher, an architect and interior restoration expert with John G. Waite Associates, was thrilled with how good the courthouse looked. He had worked on its restoration. His Second Street home appeared on the show.

“It really looks like you were in the 1880s,” Bucher said.

Kelley Curran, who grew up in Slingerlands, talks about her role in ‘The Gilded Age’ and working with Julian Fellowes.


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