The Harlem African Burial Ground development project has been put on hold and as a consequence, the abandoned MTA bus depot that currently occupies the site remains shuttered. In the past, however, this site has also been the location for a film studio.
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio was located between 126/127th and 2nd Avenue and the Willis Avenue Bridge on part, but not all, of the bus depot’s block.
The photo (above) is a 1940’s tax photo of the property. Note the water tower and the large ceremonial towers that would have been dramatically visible to riders on the 2nd Avenue El (the train tracks you see at the top left of the photo).
While this location had advantages in terms of its proximity to transportation and downtown NYC, the ever present roar of the El just outside the front doors must have been a huge impediment to sound recording.
By the 1980’s the bus depot had replaced the studio with a low-slung, 2 story facility. The water tower and the El, both long gone.