'Royal Pains' stars reveal their favorite Long Island shooting locales
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Dr. Hank Lawson has been making house calls in Southampton for five years now.
It's been that long since the cast of the USA Network's prime-time show "Royal Pains" has been filming on Long Island. This season's finale is Wednesday, and a sixth season is on the way.
Set in the exclusive world of the Hamptons elite, the story centers on Lawson (Mark Feuerstein), who leaves New York City to become a concierge doctor to the rich and famous.
Outside of the places they film — a little in the Hamptons and, because of logistics, much more in Huntington and Nassau — the actors say there isn’t enough time off-camera to get to know and enjoy the Island as much as they’d like. But their affection for Long Island is strong.
"The guy who drives me to the set is now a dear friend of mine," says Feuerstein. "And we say that, in five years when the show is gone -- hopefully more, hopefully 10 years -- we will take a driving tour of all the places we've shot on location. It is so meaningful and moving to us."
Here's what the show's stars have to say about some of the more recognizable spots where they have filmed on Long Island.
OHEKA CASTLE, HUNTINGTON
ON-SCREEN Known as Shadow Pond in the show, the castle is the home of wealthy German aristocrat Boris Kuester Von Jurgens-Ratenicz (Campbell Scott). Dr. Lawson and his brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) live in the estate's guesthouse. Viewers often get glimpses of the exterior, the outside patio where the characters sit for meals and the expansive yard. A recent fight scene between Evan and sinister character Milos Kuester Ratenicz took place in the marbled foyer of the imposing mansion.
OFF-SCREEN Cast members say they've come to love the sprawling Huntington castle. After filming long days there, cast members often walk up the one flight of stairs to catch some sleep in the luxuriously appointed rooms.
In fact, so many of the scenes are shot at Oheka, "It feels like our living room at this point," Costanzo says.
There's a sense of history that permeates the walls built by Otto Kahn, a Jewish industrialist who made his own home after being shunned by Gold Coast clubs. Many of the actors, writers and directors of the show are Jewish, Feuerstein notes.
"It's so iconic for our show," Feuerstein says. "I always jump at the chance to stay there."
ON-SCREEN Oddly, although the show is set in the Hamptons, very little filming is actually done there. Still, viewers will recognize the aerial shots interspersed in the show as the South Shore's coastline. Main Street in Southampton village often appears as a backdrop, as well.
OFF-SCREEN "I thought everyone would be driving a Bentley and towing a yacht, but that's not so," Costanzo says. "There's a really nice quaintness to it."
Ben Shenkman, who plays Dr. Jeremiah Sacani on the show, has spent time on the East End in his in-laws' Water Mill home for years.
"One of our favorite places is Flying Point Beach, where the bay meets the ocean," he says, as well as Halsey Farms, where he and his family get fresh vegetables and fruit most days.
Candy Kitchen, an old-fashioned diner in Bridgehampton, is a fave of Feuerstein and his three kids for breakfast, "where my kids inevitably make too much noise and the very patient owner, Gus, gives us the high sign to quiet down a little while slipping them a Tootsie Roll -- always great with eggs."
ON-SCREEN There are so many scenes shot here that anyone familiar with Oyster Bay's center will recognize lots of landmarks.
Oyster Bay town hall is the facade for the Hamptons Heritage Hospital, and the firehouse was recently shot as a polling center. The town's historic community hall bandstand on Audrey Avenue shows up often, including in Season 2, when Paige Collins (Brooke D'Orsay) returned as a regular on the series.
Feuerstein says a high point of last season was directing his own father in a scene outside the "hospital." His dad played an ice cream vendor whose goodies were used to bring down a victim's temperature, the actor said, just another great lifesaving moment for the TV doctor.
OFF-SCREEN Reshma Shetty, who plays physician assistant Divya Katdare, says she loves the town. Even though meals are available on location, she stops for Italian ice at Bonanza's, a mainstay in Oyster Bay for more than 100 years.
"The people are so kind, and so open to us filming," she says.
SANDS POINT PRESERVE AND OLD WESTBURY GARDENS
ON-SCREEN Both Gold Coast estates are similar to the high-hedged mansions along Southampton's wealthiest enclaves.
Old Westbury Gardens was the location for the "Pins and Needles" episode, where Evan's debate for village council takes place, and Sands Point will always be remembered by Feuerstein for a scene where a valet impales himself on a fence and is saved by the quick thinking of Dr. Lawson.
OFF-SCREEN "It feels like Maria Von Trapp and her seven kids will come around the corner singing," D'Orsay says about the recent shoot at Old Westbury.
As for Sands Point, Feuerstein says it's all about the water view. "Sands Point is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen," he says. "That location will always be etched in my brain."
Other 'Royal Pains' sightings
There are other places that may look familiar to Long Islanders watching "Royal Pains." Here are a few, according to the show's location director, Michael Fucci:
1. CATALINA BEACH CLUB, EAST ATLANTIC BEACH A favorite place to shoot beach scenes, says Fucci, because it's private and easy to control crowds.
2. BIRCH HILL ROAD, LOCUST VALLEY Sweethearts Paige and Evan shot scenes here in June 2011 for a montage during their early courting days. Fucci says it was presented as a Main Street scene in Southampton.
3. BAYVILLE CRESCENT CLUB The "Life's a Beach" episode was shot on a cold day in June at the club, for scenes depicting a beach party in the Hamptons. Actors and extras were in shorts and bathing suits, while the crew layered on the goose down jackets and sweatshirts, says Fucci.
4. COLD SPRING HARBOR BEACH CLUB This was a location for "Chock Full of Nuts," an episode that had a scene with Hank at a spin class.
5. OCEAN PARKWAY The stretch of road near Jones Beach's West End is used quite a bit for road scenes, says Fucci, including some recent ones involving the story line of Officer Don and his daughter.
6. WEST NECK BEACH, LLOYD HARBOR On June 17, 2010, the cast and crew shot here depicting a private beach scene.