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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finding the Station Agent in Newfoundland

One of my favorite New Jersey-based movies is The Station Agent, a quiet independent movie made eight or nine years ago. Some of the early scenes are in Hoboken, but the lion's share of the movie was shot and based in Newfoundland, Passaic County. Without giving up too much of the plot, the primary character inherits an old train depot in Newfoundland and relocates there. The place looks very remote, and the depot was obviously standing unused for many years, weatherbeaten and with peeling paint. A few aging train cars sit unused on a nearby siding.

This, of course, is just the kind of thing I look for, so a couple of years ago I took a drive to find the old depot and get a few snapshots.

Newfoundland had long had a special place in my mind, though I'd never actually been there. My Girl Scout troop used to make the long trip to Camp Lou Henry Hoover on Swartswood Lake, and enroute, we'd pass signs for Newfoundland. At the time I had no idea there was an actual community by that name in New Jersey, and I'd joke that we'd somehow reached the Canadian border. Poor joke, I know. I was that kind of kid.

七乐彩彩票app下载Station Agent depotMy adult trip to Newfoundland brought me up Route 23, through Wayne and Lincoln Park and northward. Eventually the commercial establishments on the road got fewer and farther between, and the Newark Reservoir came into view. Then I started seeing signs for Newfoundland, and the real search began.

Given how quiet and peaceful the depot's environs seemed in the film, I assumed I'd be wandering around backroads for a good hour or so, but I found the depot very quickly. It's actually just a few hundred yards in from the highway! 

It's also very nicely kept and well maintained with fresh paint and, when I was there, some of those nice house banners. Apparently someone either lives there or uses it as an office, but they keep up the railroad spirit by leaving the "NEWFOUNDLAND" sign on the building for the trains that once stopped there. When I watched the movie on DVD later on, I discovered that the producers had had to rough up the station's exterior a bit before shooting. For once, then, something looks better in real life than it does in the movies. 

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