2. Streets of the Lower East Side
Photo: Paul Schiraldi/Cinemax
Broome Street and Orchard Street in the Lower East Side were transformed into the New York City at the turn of the century. Vintage signage was put atop current, while stores were still in operation. Dirt and hay, along with prop dead horses, lined the streets.
3. Dr. Thackery’s House
Dr. John Thackery is head surgeon of The Knick, but he’s also an inventor and a cocaine addict. Remember, this is a time where you can get cocaine from your local drugstore. Rude, possibly racist, confident and extremely talented, Thackerey is the best role Clive Owen has gotten in years. While he is not someone you would want to consider a friend, John is someone you would want saving your life. The only thing that can stop John from being the incredibly intelligent and masterful surgeon that he is, is if he is without his cocaine fix.
Early in the season, a nurse is sent out to fetch Dr. Thackery because he is needed for surgery. The nurse rushes after him but she doesn’t know where he lives. Another surgeon quickly tells her that he lives on 28 Waverly Place. The actually film location is unconfirmed because 28 Waverly currently the NYU Silver Center for Arts and Sciences.
4. The Robertson’s Home
The Robertsons are the family that finances the hospital. Through the money of the Robertsons, the daughter of Captain Robertson, Cornelia Robertson, is put in charge of the hospital’s social welfare office. The family also placed Algernon Edwards in his deputy position in The Knick, becoming the only black surgeon to work in a white New York City hospital.
Rich, snobby, sexist and racist, Captain Robertson epitomizes the patriarch of old New York families. And like many rich folk during this time, the Edwards moved out of the lower part of Manhattan and up to neighborhoods in Harlem. The location Soderbergh uses as the exterior of the Robertson’s home is the landmarked James Bailey House, located on 10 St. Nicolas Place in Harlem. The building, built for half of the circus duo of Barnum & Bailey is built in the Romanesque Revival style. The building was used as a retirement home from 1957 to 2008, to which it sold to an unknown buyer for $1.5 million.
5. Museum of The City of New York
The Museum of The City of New York is only seen for a moment in the eight episode of the season, but it is a shot neither wasted nor to be taken for granted. Why Soderbergh decided to film this behind a gate in Central Park, through a bare tree is something that will probably not be discovered until The Knick is revisited in repeat viewings.
The MCNY was originally based in Gracie Mansion and moved onto its current home at 1200 5th Avenue in East Harlem in 1932. The museum showcases the many facets of NYC’s storied history with exhibits covering the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the photography of 60s era Coney Island and a fast-paced New York City, and the NYC graffiti movement.
6. Chinese Brothel
Photo: Paul Schiraldi/Cinemax
Remember when we mentioned that our protagonist, Dr. John Tackery was a cocaine addict? Well you can also add opium to his many vices, which also include Chinese prostitutes. To deal with the stress and pressure of being the head of surgery at The Knick, John sometimes spends entire nights at a Chinese brothel located on 467 Mott Street. The series begins with one of the ladies of the brothel waking “Johnny” to inform him of the time, to which he steps out and climbs aboard a carriage to The Knick.
The address is either fictional or doesn’t exist anymore, as Mott Street ends at #321. Regardless, prostitution was rampant during the early 20th century in the lower parts of Manhattan.
The Knick has been renewed for a second season. With all the attention and praise the series has received, we hope that the scope of The Knick expands, with Soderbergh continuing to transform areas of New York City and giving us opportunities to discuss not only his directorial prowess, but also the history of the city.
If you think you have a chance at taking on Dr. Algernon Edwards in a street fight, contact the author @ChrisLInoa