The “New Girl” Apartment BuildingApr 17th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
My good friend/fellow stalker Lavonna has been begging me to track down locations from New Girl for a good three months now, but because I had never seen an episode of the series I was unable to do so. Until last Monday evening, that is, when the Grim Cheaper and I finally sat down and started watching it from the beginning. Thank you, Hulu! I have to admit that I did not have very high hopes for the show as, for whatever reason, I am not that big of a fan of actress Zooey Deschanel (whose mom played Eileen Hayward on fave series Twin Peaks, but I digress). I ended up LOVING it, though, and both the GC and I are now absolutely hooked! After watching the first few episodes, I immediately started doing research on the warehouse-style loft apartment building where the New Girl gang lives (Lavonna’s most coveted locale from the series) and thankfully, Christine, over at fave website OnLocationVacations, had posted the address several times on her Daily Filming Locations page. So I dragged the GC right on out to the Arts District in Downtown L.A. this past Saturday afternoon to do some stalking of the place. (On a side-note, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, just taught me how to process my photographs using the soon-to-be defunct Picnik editing program, so I have been having a little fun with them today. Don’t mind me. )
I had never before visited – or even heard of – the “Arts District” (or “Artists District” as it is sometimes referred to) until this past Saturday, but according to the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District website, the area is the site of an average of 900 movie shoots per year! Um, yes please – sign me up! It is basically a stalker’s heaven – and one of the coolest spots that I have been to in all of my stalking travels. The District became a haven for the artistically-inclined in 1976 thanks to the many affordable studio-type spaces available in the countless then-abandoned buildings and warehouses located there. Artists gradually began to take over the many spacious lofts, turning them into art studios and illegal living spaces (the area was not yet zoned as residential). In the 1980s, the Artists-In-Residence ordinance was passed which allowed lessees to use their flats as live/work spaces and, as a result, even more artisans flocked to the area. Today, the Arts District is a flourishing mecca of artists and hipsters and boasts fabulous brick buildings, sidewalk cafes and more galleries than you can shake a stick at. While there, not only did I feel like I had been transported back to my beloved Manhattan, but we ended up falling bass-ackwards into one of my most sought-after filming locations ever! But that is another story for another post.
In real life, the property where the New Girl gang lives is known as the Binford Building and it was originally constructed in 1906, but was not converted into a residential structure until the mid-1980s. The 36-unit domicile was the brainchild of real estate developer Michael Kamin, owner of the Mika Company, who, in a 1986 Los Angeles Times article said, “We wanted to make the building a statement and an art piece — something that says this is an exciting place to live, something to keep the focus on this street.” I would say he succeeded – in spades! The structure is definitely unique and the most eye-catching on the entire block.
In New Girl, the Binford Building is where Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Nick (Jake M. Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Winston (Lamorne Morris) live. The exterior of the structure is shown weekly on the series.
The building’s main entrance has also popped up from time to time.
That entrance is shown above.
As you can see, the Binford’s real life directory and intercom are even visible on the show. Love it!
The interior of the gang’s apartment is just a set, though, located at Fox Studios where (I am fairly certain) the series is lensed. You can check out some photographs of the interior of an actual Binford Building unit here. As you can see, it does not look anything like the New Girl loft. I am absolutely IN LOVE with the group’s sprawling, FOUR-bedroom, industrial, brick-walled loft, by the way. The GC and I also live in a loft-style apartment that I ADORE, but it is 750-square feet, has no actual bedrooms and only ONE teeny-tiny closet! Yes, ladies, I have to share a closet with my husband – GASP! The GC recently commented that he has noticed his side of the closet getting gradually smaller over the years. Ha! And here I thought I was being all sly. So yes, I have been known to drool copiously while watching New Girl. I definitely have apartment envy!
I could do without their public-style bathroom, though, which is an aspect of the show that I still do not entirely understand.
According to a message board on the Animation Nation website, the premiere episode of the cartoon Family Dog (which was part of Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories) was created by animator Brad Bird in one of the Binford Building lofts. The family in the series was even named “The Binfords” in honor of the property. Traction Avenue, the street where the Binford is located, was also mentioned (and briefly seen on a freeway sign) in Bird’s 2004 hit, The Incredibles.
You can watch a video about the Binford Building lofts by clicking above.
Big THANK YOU to fellow stalker Lavonna for asking me to find this location (and for turning me on to New Girl) and to Christine, from OnLocationVacations, for tracking it down!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Binford Building, aka the New Girl apartment building, is located at 837 Traction Avenue in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles.