Controversial ‘Seinfeld’ Episode Was Partly Filmed in Beacon, NY
One of the most divisive episodes of Seinfeld includes a scene filmed in the Hudson Valley.
Long before Beacon became a hip destination for rich folks from the city and decades before Hollywood began using the Hudson Valley as a backdrop for famous films and television shows, the biggest comedy series of all time decided to send its cameras to our neck of the woods.
Back in the day, it wasn't as common as it is now to see Hudson Valley landmarks on television or the big screen. Hit series like Severance, Poker Face and The Sex Lives of College Girls are just some recent examples of star-studded productions that are now filled locally. But in the late 1990s, it was pretty rare for cameras to be rolling on local streets.
Seinfeld's Creates Most Controversial Episode
After nine seasons, Seinfeld announced that it would be ending its highly acclaimed series with a top-secret final episode aptly titled "The Finale". While the extended one-hour and 15-minute episode garnered a historic number ov viewers, reception to the plot was mixed.
The show featured the cast being stranded in Massachusettes where they witness an obese man getting carjacked. Instead of helping, the gang films the crime while mocking the large victim. A police officer arrests all four of them for violating a law that requires bystanders to help someone in need. A wacky trial is held that includes character witnesses from the series' past nine seasons proving that George, Elaine, Kramer and Jerry are actually terrible people. The show ends with the four of them rotting away in jail.
While it wasn't the uplifting ending that most people expected, the finale was watched by 76.3 million people making it one of the most-watched television episodes of all time.
Portion Filmed in Beacon, New York
While the episode received lots of criticism, there was one detail that received surprise and delight from local viewers. It turns out that Beacon, New York was used as the backdrop for Latham, Massachusettes where the gang wound up getting arrested.
After the controversial scene that depicts the four main characters mocking the overweight man as he's being robbed, a police officer comes along and tells them that they're under arrest. The camera then cuts to an exterior of the police station that was actually a small building on Main Street in Beacon.
The building, which still stands today at 463 Main Street, was actually the former Beacon Police station. The small building right next to Brother's Trattoria was built in 1936 and even served as a local bomb shelter because of its strong construction. On the show, it can be seen with a generic sign that says "Police" and decals on the door that read "Police Department." However, keen viewers may have noticed the iconic City of Beacon street lamps that gives away its real location.
Today, the City of Beacon Police are located closer to the train station at the other end of Main Street. The building, however, still stands and hasn't changed much since it made its television debut on the Seinfeld finale. It's zoned for two apartments and a retail shop on the first floor.