Movies and TV shows filmed in Westchester expected to help boost economy following pandemic slump


Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

In recent years before the pandemic, TV shows and movies shot in Westchester, including “Billions” with Damian Lewis as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod and Glenn Fleschler as Orrin Bach at the Empire City Casino in Yonkers.

Going back to 1965, Westchester has been the setting for many film and television productions. The county offers a variety of locations for filmed productions, everything from cities like Yonkers to small villages such as Sleepy Hollow.

Productions filmed in Westchester provide local businesses such as hotels, restaurants and stores an economic boost before Covid-19 struck. In 2019, the films and shows made a $45 million economic impact within the county.

County Executive George Latimer said he expects location shooting to aid the economy again this year as the Covid-19 pandemic eases. “Film is an important economic driver in Westchester and it will be important to our recovery in 2021,” he said.

When the pandemic struck last year, productions for movies and TV shows screeched to a halt. On July 7, when the county entered phase 4 of reopening, media production started back up.

Due to Covid-19, productions must follow the New York State media production health and safety guidelines, which include social distancing, protective equipment and disinfecting.

“What we’ve heard is that after the initial set-up, everything feels ‘normal’ once the creative work begins,” said Westchester County Tourism and Film Director Natasha Caputo. The film office has a hands-on support system for productions that makes the filming process very easy and helps expedite the permit process, she said.

“The county also offers a breath of fresh air to productions seeking ample space to safely set up and socially distance on set,” Caputo said.

We’re also well-versed in the latest state guidelines and health and safety protocols,” said Latimer.

There are historical locations, mansions, hotels, an airport and a correctional facility for movies and shows to make use of as backdrops.

Set crews sometimes build structures to be left behind, improving locations.

“After filming a New York State Lottery commercial in Westchester’s parks, the production company built a new trailhead marker and wood fencing that remain as permanent additions,” said Latimer.

This year, seven award nominations for both Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild went to productions filmed in Westchester. “The Flight Attendant” with Kaley Cuoco on HBO received four, the other three are going to “Hunters” (Amazon Prime) with Al Pacino and “Ramy” (Hulu) starring Ramy Youssef.