PHOTO BY JUSTIN STEPHENS, COURTESY OF NBC UNIVERSAL
Hollywood on the Palisades ON THE SET WITH LAW & ORDER: SVU BY ROGER KIMPTON
n film parlance, the warehouse in North Bergen would be described as “ND” —nondescript. Maybe so, but upon entering you’re transported to the magical world of the Hollywood soundstage. From 1999 through 2002 I spent more time in this building than I did with my wife; I was best boy grip on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Grips move the camera on dollies and cranes, and refine the lighting instruments so the image is sculpted to appear natural. We secure all lighting and move set walls, and we are the set safety officers. The best boy is much like the foreman on a construction crew.
How did the iconic New York television franchise wind up with a branch in North Bergen? In 1999 all adequate New York stage space was occupied, so producer David DeClerque sent his people out to scout locations, and when they came upon this 52,000-square-foot cavernous space, he knew they’d found a home for SVU. THIS SPRING I RETURN TO THE SET. AT THE reception desk I’m told that Mariska Hargitay (Detective Olivia Benson), wants to see me. I assume she’s my first interview and wants to be done with it. As soon as I hit the make-up room door,
palisade • hoboken & beyond