Reel Estate

The only tolerable character on "The Slap" is the brownstone

By Virginia K. Smith | April 30, 2015 - 12:59PM 

When a movie or TV show is set in New York City—and if the people making it are savvy—real estate becomes part of the story itself. In Reel Estate, we look at some of the more memorable domiciles to grace the screen.

While we'd prefer to think that the insufferable characters on NBC's miniseries The Slap have absolutely nothing to do with anyone who lives in Brooklyn (we admit, this is wishful thinking), at least one aspect of the show is very real: the Boerum Hill townhouse where the show's eponymous slap actually takes place.

As numerous local blogs reported at the time, NBC did some heavy location scouting around Brooklyn during the show's production in summer 2014, and at one point posted flyers around Williamsburg seeking “loft style apartments – preferably 2-3 bedroom or a very spacious studio/one bedroom space." But for the townhouse where the central characters live, the crew opted for Boerum Hill, and the production even donated $500 to the Boerum Hill Association, to be earmarked for "people inconvenienced by the shoot." (Our opinion: That doesn't sound like much for a TV production, but we digress.) So let's have a look at the brownstone, shall we?


It's the platonic ideal of a cozy Brooklyn family homestead, but also modest enough that you might believe that Hector (an assistant deputy commissioner played by Peter Sarsgaard) and his wife, Aisha (a doctor played by Thandie Newton), could conceivably afford to live there. Yes, that outdoor deck is perfect for a wine-soaked summer afternoon, but note the small, basic kitchen and the unfinished backyard. (For reference, the closest equivalent we could find in the neighborhood is this 3-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house asking $2.35 million.)

Hector and Aisha find themselves torn between their wealthier and more "bohemian" acquaintances after they host a birthday barbecue at which his ultra-wealthy cousin Harry (Zachary Quinto) slaps the unruly, borderline violent child of their hippy-dippy, neglectful artist friends, Gary and Rosie (Thomas Sadoski and Melissa George, respectively). To hammer the point home, here's Harry's massive house in an undisclosed waterfront suburb:

And here's where Gary and Rosie live, in what looks like a neglected corner of Bushwick or East New York:

Kind of understandable that when Harry—who literally refers to himself as a member of the one percent on more than one occasion—shows up here to attempt an apology for the whole slapping thing, he assumes Gary and Rosie are shaking him down for cash.

We won't spoil the rest of how the show unfolds here, except to say that there's no particularly clear moral takeaway from any of this. Well, except maybe one: If you've got a sweet outdoor space, you can afford to be a little choosier about who you invite over. Just think, if Hector and Aisha had left his awful cousin and their self-righteous friends off the guest list, none of this ever would have happened, and everyone could have actually enjoyed that backyard setup.


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