Hollywood Meets St. Mark’s Place

One of the cool things about NYC is running into film sets. Even after suffering through a long day inside a stage set as an extra in the 2015 Rocky movie, Creed, I still enjoy finding one. An easy way is spotting “The Can-Do People” Haddad and their supersized trailers for equipment and dressing rooms. Love their slogan!

According to Haddad’s website, they got into the film service business in 1954 in Pennsylvania of all places. Haddad’s was a modest gas station offering towing when a Los Angeles transportation coordinator wanted to rent a trailer for the film Flashdance. You can probably guess what happened next.

Filming was happening on location inside the William Barnacle Tavern on St. Mark’s Place right below our destination, the Museum of the American Gangster. St. Mark’s Place is in the heart of the East Village, and one of my favorite neighborhoods with old 19th-century buildings, chain-less shops, and food from just about everywhere. We waited around for the museum to open but either they were paparazzi shy (only one guy with a mega camera stood around), or they were starting late.

The tavern is a former speakeasy dating back to Prohibition in the 1920’s, and today specializes in absinthe drinks. From some online photos, the interior is just my style with a model sailing ship. Supposedly, Frank Sinatra was a waiter and may have served one of their regulars, Al Capone. But to get the real story, I must return for an on-site investigation and absinthe tasting. Now I know why the museum is upstairs – excellent connections!

The film, Late Night, per the entertainment industry site IMDb, stars Emma Thompson, Amy Ryan, Hugh Dancy, and John Lithgow. Mindy Kaling is pulling double duty as the screenwriter and an actor. She is also in the new film Ocean’s 8, so Mindy’s a busy and talented lady! We didn’t see any stars – just the herd of extras waiting and then ushered into the bar. The movie is about a late-night talk show host who suspects she may be losing her long-running show. Not a surprise with all that’s been going on, but a woman?!


I’m not sure if the William Barnacle Tavern has aquavit on their menu, a key ingredient in my first novel. My second novel, soon to be done, shifts to drinking absinthe. But the real stuff from the old days with hallucinogenic wormwood.

As they say in Hollywood, “That’s a wrap!”

Karen Stensgaard is the author of the novel AQUAVIT, the first book in the Aquamarine Sea Series with a second novel on the way soon. AQUAVIT is available as a paperback from Amazon and Ingram Spark or as an e-book from almost everyone else. Libraries have free access via Overdrive.  Link to free chapters on Amazon


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