3. The Robert Moses Building

The attention to historical detail is very impressive in Motherless Brooklyn, and this was one of the filming locations that made us smile. The office of Moses Randolph, exterior at least, is filmed at Robert Moses’ actual office and headquarters on Randall’s Island. Originally named The Administration Building, the Robert Moses Building was constructed by Aymar Enbury II, who worked on many of Moses’ other architectural projects. The building was completed in 1937, and can be found today next to the Triborough Bridge on Randall’s Island. The Administration Building was meant to be used as the center of operations for the bridge. However, it quickly transformed into a major base of operations for the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and its director, Robert Moses.

Alec Baldwin as Moses Randolph, aka Robert Moses with Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog. Photo by Glen Wilson, © 2019 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

The interior scenes were shot mostly in the ballroom of the New York Academy of Medicine, with digital backdrops added to make it appear as if it was under the Triborough Bridge. In an interview with us, production designer Beth Mickle said, “Aside from the one little entrance vestibule, everything else had been remodeled…What we did do, we went in and they had some old emblems from the Triborough [Bridge] Authority that we took photos of, and we made our own plaques and emblems all based on what we saw there which is all original.”