Valley 'Girls': Lena Dunham HBO Series Wraps In Hopewell, Heads for Hastings

We spoke with the coming-of-age dramedy’s EP about why it’s been so heavily in our midst

With its sixth and final season set to air in 2017, the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning HBO series Girls is planting its flag firmly in Hudson Valley soil, having shot earlier this week at Hopewell Junction’s Fishkill Farms, with scheduled filming to ensue in Hastings-on-Hudson later this month (it was originally scheduled for this coming Monday). That will mark the show’s second stopover in the Westchester village. Previously, the crew has subbed the sidewalks of Warburton Avenue for busy Brooklyn streets, while this time the diner-style Hastings Center Restaurant will reportedly host creator/star Lena Dunham and members of her ensemble cast. They’ve also touched down for season six in Scotts Corners and Bedford. 

Far as the Fishkill Farms backdrop, Girls Executive Producer Ilene Landress tells Westchester that they were “looking for a house out in a college town, and that’s sort of where we ended up. I had told [the crew] to go scout houses that were in apple orchards, even though I wasn’t sure if we’d use the apple orchards.” And as for Hastings residents eager for their shoutout, being able to spot their downtown streets may have to suffice. “We’re not identifying it as Hastings,” Landress concedes of the locale, which they’re framing as “kind of a cute little town that would be near a college.” She adds that parts of different episodes are being filmed at each location. 

The popular dramedy, which concerns four 20-something women living in New York City, has filmed several scenes in our region since debuting in 2012, with SUNY New Paltz notably standing in as the University of Iowa campus where Dunham’s character Hannah attended a graduate writing program. The show has also been spotted filming at Rockland State Park in Congers and the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River.

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In fact, multiple series from HBO and other networks have called the valley a second home over the past handful of years. (That’s perhaps due to the fact New York State offers a film tax credit program, along with competition for prime city real estate.) Sarah Jessica Parker and castmates could be seen strolling around Maud’s Tavern in Hastings and taking over vintage furnishings store Belkind Bigi in Tarrytown this year while on location for her series Divorce, which premieres October 9. (Look out for an exclusive interview with Parker in the October issue of Westchester Magazine.) Season one of HBO’s The Leftovers also sought out Westchester and Rockland towns including Harrison, Nyack, Dobbs Ferry, and Pearl River to comprise the setting and scenery of its suburban Mapleton.

That’s in addition to Showtime’s The Affair‘s frequent presence in Cold Spring and Dobbs Ferry; ABC’s Quantico taking over a portion of Tarrytown’s Main Street this summer; CBS staging portions of Madam Secretary and Elementary in White Plains last year; and big-screen releases like Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller’s The Meyerowitz Stories, which filmed scenes in Sleepy Hollow and Suffern, as well as the hotly anticipated literary adaptation The Girl on the Train, which set up camp in the Rivertowns in particular last fall. 

“We go where the story takes us, so it’s really nice that within two hours of Manhattan you get a little bit of everything,” surmises Girls’ Landress, who lets on that the show is making a pit stop on Long Island before routing back once more to Hopewell Junction and eventually the Rivertowns. “You get the countryside of Fishkill [Farms], you get the the cute town of Hastings, you get plenty of liberal arts colleges along the Hudson River. We’re just happy that it’s all pretty close by.” 

As for when you can spy Hannah and friends frolicking around our environs, that season-six premiere date is, sadly TBD, but we will surely keep you posted.

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