High Maintenance filming location with The Guy and dogPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

The fourth season of HBO’s High Maintenance debuts today. The show began as a web series created by Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, following the daily life of “The Guy,” a weed dealer based in Brooklyn. The viewer is given an almost voyeuristic look into the lives and apartments of The Guy’s friends and clients, most of whom remain nameless as an address in The Guy’s phone. A few key recurring characters get names or nicknames — Homeless Heidi played by Greta Lee, or Colin, the cross-dressing dad played by Dan Stevens, or Hannibal Burris and Lena Dunham who plays themselves.

The structure of the show, which was originally just 7 to 20 minute vignettes, allows the series to tell the story of a diverse New York, one character or group of characters at a time. The writers also have an uncanny ability to capture the idiosyncrasies of life in this city. Small details, like a scene with a group of French tourists on a tour of the “street art” in Bushwick come without much direct commentary but you know they’re poking fun. An uptight mother struggles to get her massive Uppababy baby stroller up a brownstone staircase, and freaks out at The Guy when he tries to help her. Or when The Guy gets invited into the home of a Hasidic Jewish family on Shabbat — but only because they need someone to turn on the air conditioning in the summer heat.

The Guy biking with his dogPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

The core storylines are great too. There’s the couple who build out a tiny space in their apartment and rent it out as a “loft” on Airbnb, familiar to anybody who has had a strange Airbnb experience or tried to get some extra income out of their own place. One episode is told from the point of view of a dog trapped at home while his owner is at work and forms a crush on his dog walker. The show is comedic and can be outright raunchy, but the most memorable episodes are also particularly moving, like the one where a friend calls in a weed order for a friend battling cancer (to hilarious and unexpected results). Or the Asian son who is afforded a better lifestyle due to the hard work of his parents, who make ends meet by retrieving recyclables from the garbage. Or in a recurring storyline, the overprotected son Patrick who spends his days sequestered at home caring for his ill mother and obsessively watching Helen Hunt movies. He looks forward only to his human interactions with The Guy and we gradually realize that he never smokes any of the weed. Probably every New Yorker can recognize a sense of loneliness that comes from being in a city of 8.5 million souls.

The Guy and Patrick on High MaintenancePatrick with The Guy. Photo by David Russell courtesy HBO

A lot of the time when watching High Maintenance, I wonder if I had actually crossed paths with the writers back in my mid-’20s. If so, it would have been during the time I was smashing cellos on stage in a Brooklyn indie-rock band and living a somewhat nomadic lifestyle. Was a Homeless Heidi? There was definitely a period where I basically lived in my band’s apartment in Williamsburg, or with my friends around the corner, wearing their clothes and leaving all of my belongings with them. And like Heidi, I’m Asian American to boot…(although there were no dating apps then, I actually did have my own place, and I wasn’t acquiring boyfriends for housing, so…)

High Maintenance Filming Location in 1 Grand Army Plaza“Homeless Heidi” played by Greta Lee. Photo by Craig Blankenhorn courtesy HBO

Then there’s the strange coincidence that now, I live and work in Crown Heights where the show films frequently and has their production offices. Once, we got a flyer on our apartment building from a scout looking for homes to shoot High Maintenance in. Even more bizarre, is how the Untapped New York office is in fact, on the same floor and in the same building as the High Maintenance offices (I guess there aren’t that many offices in the neighborhood, but still…). Occasionally I’ll see someone from the cast or a writer or producer, doing every day things, like grocery shopping, and suddenly, the television world and the real world start to meld and exist in a strange nether plane that is neither here nor there. There is Ben, eyeing the overwhelming offering of crackers at the neighborhood’s first fancy grocery store, just like The Guy might.

But that is what the show does so well. The actors on the show are often friends of Ben and Katja, playing some quasi-alternate version of themselves. The story of Ben and Katja themselves, who were once married in real life, appears as a long-running plot rooted in, it seems, a lot of truth. Notable film and television stars turn up on the show, playing themselves. Crown Heights, the very neighborhood the High Maintenance team works (and possibly lives) in becomes a recurring character – a once under-the-radar neighborhood now desirable for its historic districts and range of architectural styles (not to mention trendy restaurants), the latest darling for location scouts when a bygone New York City needs to be reconstructed for film. While no show can encapsulate all of New York City — its inherent diversity prevents this from being possible — High Maintenance comes pretty close in reflecting a wide swath of what New York living is.

So now, we bring you the places where High Maintenance has filmed in, from past seasons to now. We’ll be updating this article with new locations as the episodes in season 4 are released.

Cadman Plaza

High Maintenance Filming Locations Brooklyn Borough Hall and Cadman PlazaPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

In the first episode of the new season of High Maintenance, a for-hire entertainer who does singing telegrams (whose mission it seems to either embarrass or insult the receiver, while dressed in crazy costumes) encounters The Guy on one of his visits. The Guy gives him a tip because he feels bad for him.

Kingsland Wildflower rooftop

Before this, we see a montage of his jobs, one which takes place in the Brooklyn Borough Hall and Cadman Plaza area (above). In a dance sequence, after he loses balloons in Soho, we see him do a dance atop the Kingsland Wildflower roof gardens in Greenpoint, atop Broadway Stages.

In this episode, we also follow a radio producer, who works for THE Ira Glass (who plays himself), as they prepare a new episode of This American Life. You’ll have to see the episode to understand how all this comes together in a touching way.

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