According to production designer Kristi Zea, Ryan Murphy set out to make his latest Netflix endeavor, the seven-episode mystery mini-series “The Watcher,” “smack of ‘real estate porn.'” And the Hollywood mega-producer certainly delivered on that front! The show is a virtual smorgasbord of architectural delights!
Based on actual events, the chilling tale centers around Dean (Bobby Cannavale) and Nora Brannock (Naomi Watts), former Manhattanites who, upon relocating to Westfield, New Jersey and moving into their dream home, begin to receive menacing letters from someone calling themselves “The Watcher.” Dark and sinister at its core, the scenery is nonetheless delicious! Even the grocery store featured briefly in episode six, where the Brannocks set up a sting operation to entrap prime Watcher suspect Roger Caplan (Michael Nouri), is thoroughly aspirational with charming exposed brickwork, reclaimed wood accenting and plank flooring. (Those hoping to walk the same aisles as Nora and Dean should head to the DeCicco & Sons market in Larchmont, New York.) And while the shingled estate at the forefront of the story is a definitive showstopper, the spotlight is temporarily stolen by a glorious Tudor that cameos toward the end of the series.
In the penultimate episode, titled “The Gloaming,” private detective Theodora Birch (Noma Dumezweni) leads the Brannocks on a hunt to learn more about Caplan, a local high school English teacher, who grew up “on the other side of the tracks” and became fixated on the stately residences where his wealthier classmates lived. The hunt leads straight to the home of Carol Flannigan (Pamela Dunlap), the older sister of one of Roger’s childhood friends and owner of his primary obsession, a mammoth Tudor said to be located at 55 Oak Terrace.
In real life, the property is known as Alta Manor, and it can’t be found in Westfield, or New Jersey at all for that matter, but in Park Hill, an architecturally rich section of Yonkers, New York situated about 10 miles north of Manhattan. Every bit as stunning as it was shown to be onscreen, the massive residence sits perched atop a rolling bluff overlooking the Hudson River at 131 Alta Ave. While The New York Times describes Park Hill as teeming with distinctive “Queen Anne, Mediterranean and Shingle-style” abodes with “care taken to make each one stand apart,” Alta Manor truly stands out amongst the rest. (Please remember this is a private home. Do not trespass or bother the residents or the property in any way.)