|The Barone house from "Everybody Loves Raymond".|
It turns out that we were really close to two very popular settings during our recent trip to Fire Island, one for a beloved family TV sitcom and the other for a terrifying horror film. Since we were in the train we did not get to visit them, but we were just within a couple of miles away. I now wish we had been in a car. Oh well.
So one of the stops on the Long Island Rail Road is Amityville. When I saw the sign I did a double-take. Amityville?? Yes, that Amityville. The location of the terrible murder in November 1974 and alleged subsequent haunting that would produce many books and the 1979 film "The Amityville Horror". The house is still there at 108 Ocean Drive, although it has been modified. I watched this film as young teen, while babysitting my two younger sisters. It terrified me so much that it left an indelible impression on me. To have been within a mile of the house was a bit unnerving.
The other location we were near is for a much happier setting-- the homes of Ray Barone and his parents, Marie and Frank, for the show "Everybody Loves Raymond" (1996-2005). The houses really are across the street from one another on Margaret Blvd in Merrick, NY. The show is set in Lynbrook, Long Island but the actual houses are in Merrick, which is just to the east. Again, it was bittersweet to be so close to homes that we had watched for years.
Of course, now that we are living in Toronto there are many locations used for stand-ins for New York and Chicago. For some reason, the 3 blocks south of my office building are enormously popular for TV shows, and I have seen about 10 shoots nearby since we arrived.