Making Hollywood history in the heart of Queens

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the latest details on the Queens studio.

This is the story about a guy from Astoria who went to work pulling weeds on the grounds of a local movie studio and ended up running the place. In this one man's career can be found a mirror of one neighborhood's comeback.

Pete Romano is proud to call himself a studio kid.

"Because it is different every day and it's exciting," he said.

He grew up a block away from Kaufman Astoria Studios, came to work here as a teenager and still lives nearby.

"I got to watch this neighborhood change, and I got to watch the people that I work for, who are great people, help make this neighborhood change. As it got older and better, I got older and better," Romano said.

The studio was built in 1920 in an era when movies were silent. It was an army base used to make training films for 30 years, and then used by Hollywood again for films like 'The Wiz'. Great directors like Woody Allen have used these facilities.

"I'm part of an ongoing history in a facility that has so many memories," Romano said.

But not every movie made here is a masterpiece.

A painting of Reggie Jackson in Pete's office was used in the movie "Arthur." His crew got Eli Manning to sign a football when Eli made a commercial here.

"If these walls could talk, wow they'd make a great book," Romano said.

His domain includes a costume collection, a theater and much of what happens on the surrounding blocks.

"This is an industry that's building itself in this city and in this state. And, it's very important to you know make things happen for these productions because we need them here."

Here is where Pete and his dog named Blue still have plenty of work to do!

Kaufman Astoria Studios is also home to a recording studio where Tony Bennett recorded his album with Lady Gaga. The superstar's manager asked Romano not to show his famous client the studio's costume collection fearing Gaga would get in there, begin trying stuff on, and get too distracted.

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entertainmentsandy kenyonkaufman astoria studiosmoviemoviesAstoriaNew York City
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