Queens “Sesame Street” studio wins community approval for outdoor expansion

Kaufman Astoria Studios

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The Astoria studio that houses “Sesame Street” won the approval of its local community board Tuesday in a plan that would de-map 36th Street between 34th and 35th avenues and turn the block into an outdoor movie set. According to the Daily News, Kaufman Astoria Studios would lease the block, which is adjacent to its own building, from the city. While some neighbors worried about the increased traffic and congestion that could result from the street closures, the idea behind the outdoor expansion is to make the studio more competitive with sets in Los Angeles, which would in turn create jobs related to the production of major films and shows, according to studio head Hal Rosenbluth and Julie Wood of the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Wood said the studio’s lease would run through 2049 and although she wouldn’t provide the rental rate, she said it would be “a significant investment.” The proposal will move next to the office of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall for review before going before the City Planning Commission and then, the City Council. [NYDN]