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.

The Despers Steel Band

High Maintenance still with Despers USA Steel BandPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

Perhaps our favorite inclusion in season 3 is the Despers USA Steel Band, which practices in an outdoor lot on Dean Street between Franklin and Classon avenues. Coming upon it is always a nice moment we think, that’s very New York City, but apparently there is a neighborhood grinch who has been arrested in the past for false reporting noise complaints…This area is technically a manufacturing zone and the local Community Board and Brooklyn Borough President are supporting grassroots efforts to keep it that way, so good luck to the grinch!

In this episode, Marty goes looking for Don, whom he’s found on Craiglist to pick up a chair for a car. He ends up in an auto-repair lot and discovers the steel band in rehearsal.

Marie Crisis Cafe

Marie Crisis Cafe in High MaintenancePhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

In the last episode of season three, Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the former Gray Line guide who achieved cult status after appearing in the documentary, The Cruise, makes an appearance. We also enter the world of New York City theater in this episode, and there are also scenes in the famous Marie’s Crisis Cafe, the favorite of Broadway stars, where a group sing-along is guaranteed.

Marie Crisis Cafe is located in Greenwich Village at the corner of Grove Street and 7th Avenue.

12 Chairs Cafe

High Maintenance Filming Location at 12 Chairs CafePhoto by David Giesbrecht courtesy HBO

The second season opens with an episode that appears to allude to some major global event, aka the election of President Trump though it does not explicitly say so, giving New Yorkers some unease. We see this through the eyes and ears of a waiter at 12 Chairs Cafe in Greenwich Village.

The rest of the episode consists of a delivery of The Guy to a threesome taking place in a hotel: perhaps the only three people in New York City that missed the entire event. It ends with a touching scene, recently highlighted in The New York Times, that takes place late night in a New York City subway car where everyone in it comes together to keep a purple balloon aloft for a small Spanish-speaking child, the son of the barback at the bar Beth works in. He’s the same man who at the beginning of the episode, was working clearing tables at 12 Chairs.

Bushwick

High Maintenance Filming Locations in BushwickPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

This is the episode of the aforementioned French tourists. The real storyline is about a couple who end up in an unexpectedly, not-so-desirable Airbnb that has a pet snake on the loose. They have a hard time finding the key, which is inside one of the many locks hanging on the window bars of the apartment building (yet another common New York City sight, with the locks used either for dog walkers or Airbnb guests…).

A great storyline that is part of this episode is The Guy ending up with group of women in the same building as the Airbnb, which ends up with a gun, plotting revolution, and the lost snake.

House of Yes

high Maintenance Filming Location in house of YesPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

The episode, Derech, Lazer Twersky, a real life former Hasidic Jew from Williamsburg plays Baruch. At a hangout with fellow lapsed Hasids, to which Baruch has invited the wannabe reporter Anja, she invites him to go to the House of Yes, the nightclub in Bushwick. There he crosses paths with the drag performers who do gymnastics while hanging from the ceiling (if you’ve been there, you will envision this perfectly).

Early morning, when Baruch chokes on his sandwich in the bodega, one of the performers is the one who saves him — because he’s actually a doctor.

Nowhere Studios

High Maintenance Filming Locations at Nowhere StudiosPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

In the episode “Scromple,” a freelance photographer is working out of Nowhere Studios in Crown Heights (Untapped New York worked out of the awesome space for a year and included it in our article on the neighborhood’s hidden gems). She gets an unpaid gig to photograph a burgeoning church group. Nowhere Studios was built by its founders Porter and Sarah Fox (of Nowhere Magazine) in a former garage, and has an eclectic, DIY feel with reclaimed windows, wooden desks, plants, and a resident cat, Mister Miyagi.

She turns out to also be The Guy’s ex-wife, whom we are seeing for the first time in the series. In earlier episodes, we meet her new wife/girlfriend when The Guy is locked out and needs to get keys.

Del Re’s Knife Truck

Okay, this is not a static location but in the episode “Googie,” The Guy goes to get his knives sharpened at the Del Re’s Knife Truck, while very high on pain medication. Dominic Del Ray has been running this truck since 1987, after being laid off as a commodities trader on Wall Street.

Del Re is now a New York City institution, and drives all over the five boroughs.

High Maintenance Filming Location at Brooklyn Central LibraryPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

In this same episode The Guy also ends up at Grand Army Plaza and in front of the Brooklyn Central Library, with its unique gold symbols on the monumental doors. He also walks under the very architectural and graphic Long Island Railroad Atlantic Avenue branch.

Prospect Park

High Maintenance Filming Location in Prospect ParkPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

Prospect Park is the location of a hangout with The Guy and his friends when Alina proposes to Zach (played by John Gallagher, Jr.) Alina’s sister Dahhlia is on the lake to capture the moment with a huge zoom lens, and the photograph will eventually end up on a cake.

Prospect Park was designed by the same landscape architects as Central Park, and they considered it their masterpiece. The Prospect Park Lake recently got a cleanup, using the so-called Lake “Mess” Monster. You can read about this aquatic weed harvester keeps the lake clean of reeds, weeds, and invasive species.

Apartment in 1 Grand Army Plaza

High Maintenance Filming Location in 1 Grand Army PlazaPhoto by Craig Blankenhorn courtesy HBO

Homeless Heidi finally grifts her way into a sweet relationship, agreeing to marry a guy who has an apartment in the all-glass Richard Meier designed building at 1 Grand Army Plaza. While there, she sees the ad for a new comedy series “Homeless Helga,” starring Kimiko Glen from Orange is the New Black.

Heidi enlists the help of The Guy (via Hannibal Burris, who is Heidi’s friend) to testify in a deposition against the former boyfriend who has created the series about her. The Guy, seeing that he has also become a character on the show, shows up in the Brooklyn Borough Hall area, where the Federal courts are located), to testify.

Crown Heights Townhouse

Crown Heights townhouse on Prospect Place

In one episode, Quinn, whom we met in very first episode of the web series when she was a personal assistant, is married, has a baby, and is living in a Crown Heights townhouse. Her father Jim (played by Peter Friedman) is also living there, on the garden floor, and invites his hippie friends over to the chagrin of Quinn and her husband. In the episode, we see a gathering in the back garden.

This townhouse is located on Prospect Place, conveniently for this story line, just around the corner from the vegan pizza shop,  Screamer’s Pizzeria.

Judson Memorial Church

Judson Memorial Church

Quinn’s dad Jim attends an early morning session of Ecstatic Dance NYC, which takes place in the Stanford White-designed Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square Park. This seemingly improbable event is a real thing (and you can even join the next one on February 25th).

According to the organization, “Ecstatic Dance NYC gathers for a transformative, electronic music journey, mixed with intention. Move however you wish, in a container for conscious dance and freeform movement. No booze, no shoes and no chit-chat on the dance floor helps us keep it intentional. Amazing music helps us keep it all about dance!”

Bushwick

High Maintenance Filming location in BushwickPhoto by Craig Blankenhorn courtesy HBO

Liang is a Chinese American who is seeing success melding traditional Chinese music with modern beats, to the consternation of his father who makes ends meet by finding cans to recycle in the city’s garbage and playing the erhu in the subway. Liang actaully got his musical start as a child playing violin in the subway, with his father looking on.

The episode shows the challenges between first and second generation Chinese in America. Liang is embarrassed by some of his dad’s lack of etiquette, his father doesn’t want to visit him in Berlin because he says the plane tickets are too expensive. In the scene above, we see Liang’s parents on the streets of Bushwick on Manhattan Avenue after recycling the cans they’ve collected.

Astoria Park

High Maintenance Filming Location in Astoria ParkPhoto by David Russell courtesy HBO

The episode told from the perspective of the dog, Gatsby, takes place in Astoria. He ends up having a bit of crush on the recurring character Beth, the girlfriend of The Guy, played by Yael Stone). In a sequence, shown from the imagination of Gatsby, we see Beth cavorting through the arches of the park in slow-mo.

Later in the episode, after Beth is fired, and Gatsby is placed in a cage during the day, he runs free from his owner and joins a homeless crew hanging out in Tompkins Square Park in Alphabet City. Their sign, “Need $$ for Weed” is seen by The Guy and Beth who are taking a walk, and The Guy gives them a joint. Gatsby sees Beth, amazed to see his former crush, and Beth responds by giving him a scratch, but it’s clear after a little bit that she doesn’t recognize him. He follows Beth for a little, then returns to his new crew.

1000 Dean Street

1000 Dean Street back entrance

The building which houses the production offices of High Maintenance (and Untapped New York) was used in an episode in the first season, as the back entrance on Berg’n Street could look very much like a residential apartment with its keypad and buzzer. The scene inside takes place in the elevator, meant to seem like the elevator of a residential apartment.

1000 Dean Street is a former Studebaker facility, dating from when Crown Heights had its own Automobile Row. Not too far was the Studebaker showroom, which has since been converted into an affordable residential building. If you enter the main lobby of 1000 Dean Street, you will see the remnants of a former rotary car turntable leading to the freight elevator. 1000 Dean is also home to Berg’n, a beer hall and food court.

Next, check out the latest in our NYC Filming Locations column