Tony Soprano, the fictional Mafia boss throughout six seasons of the highly acclaimed HBO series, The Sopranos, is not the first character to come to mind when thinking about living roofs.
But on one of those dog days last August when I was taken on a roof tour of Silvercup Studios in Long Island City by vice president, Gary Kesner, he made what should have been a commonly understood reference to The Sopranos, which had been filmed at Silvercup. While we scampered across the roof of Studio 4, I had to confess to Gary that I don’t watch much television and had missed the entire Sopranos series, as well as Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, two of many more Silvercup hits. I did, however, promise him that by the time I returned in the spring to photograph the roof , I would watch The Sopranos on DVD, and I am proud to say I’m currently anxiously waiting for Disc 3 of Season 2 to arrive in today’s mail. I now know what “on the lam” means and I wonder who is going to “get whacked” next. I’m completely addicted!
Silvercup Studios in industrial Long Island City takes its name from the Silvercup Bakery, the original inhabitants of the main studio building. Re-purposing the building to bring life back to an industrial neighborhood tells us that the powers that be at Silvercup Studios are believers in the best kind of urban renewal and all the environmental and human perks that offers. Thus is it no surprise that Silvercup took their urban and eco-consciousness to the next level and installed not just one but three green roofs on their various studios, including Studio X, where all the interior shots for six seasons of The Sopranos were filmed. Now the mystery of the Tony Soprano-Living Roof connection is revealed.
These living roofs, in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge, are as environmentally progressive as they are beautiful to look at. As drivers or bicyclists cross into Queens over the bridge, they can see the mix of fabric and living roof, the work of Diana Balmori, the award winning landscape architect who designed these green roofs.
In the next blog I want to take you to two odd roof surprises: NYC’s tiniest (this fact unchecked, it just seemed tiny to me) skating rink and an outdoor roof spa that is used year round, even when it’s snowing!