Here's Where the Props From Gossip Girl, The Undoing, Mare of Easttown, Halston, and Sex and the City Come From

·3 min read
Photo credit: Cherish Hale
Photo credit: Cherish Hale

Although you may not know Newel Props by name, chances are, you've seen its furnishings. The company has provided countless pieces of decor for productions including Halston, Saturday Night Live, Law and Order, The Undoing, Mare of Easttown, Gossip Girl, Knives Out, Succession, The Hunger Games, Sex and the City, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Wolf of Wall Street, Ocean’s 8, The Godfather, and Goodfellas...not to mention photo shoots for brands like Ralph Lauren and Versace and music videos for Billie Eilish.

Based in Long Island City, the prop house was founded in 1939 by Meyer Newman, the great-grandfather of the company’s current CEO, Jake Baer. When Newel Props was born, it was known as Newel Art Galleries, and it served as a prop house for Broadway productions. “Over the years, these props became valuable antiques,” Baer tells House Beautiful—and Newel became a go-to source for designers shopping vintage and antique furniture. In 2016, Baer’s father, Lewis, appointed him CEO of the Newel Company. His first move was to create Newel Props, which marked the official separation of the rental business from the antique sales.

"Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated by the entertainment industry," says Baer. "The idea of being able to assist set designers in helping them bring a production to air has always been a passion of mine. Newel Props's main goal was to make it easier for us to market to set decorators and for them to have a better shopping experience. To this day, the Newel Props team and I still feel excited whenever I see our pieces on the big screen. We know we are a part of movie and TV history.”

Photo credit: Cherish Hale
Photo credit: Cherish Hale

Newel's offerings range from contemporary to period-specific French and Italian antiques, including items from the Renaissance era. “This eclecticism is a key advantage for Newel Props,” says Baer, “as the more diverse we are, the more options we have for our rental clients." The prop house has so much inventory that it recently acquired 10,000 square feet of space to make even more room for furnishings in its nearly 100,000 square warehouse.

When it comes to sourcing, Baer prefers estate sales, though he does sometimes buy at auction to secure needed pieces. Of course, no two productions are alike in the kind of decor they request—or the amount of furnishings, for that matter. For Knives Out, Baer sayswe didn’t know much about the production except they kept sending trucks for more props. It was really amazing how they layered every type of prop we had in the sets. It was a thrill to watch the movie and pick out our rentals—even our accountant was in on the fun.”

Photo credit: Cherish Hale
Photo credit: Cherish Hale

For shows like Succession, Newel Props provided more than just typical furniture and decor—as part of season 2’s “Boar On The Floor” episode, which was shot at Oheka Castle, set decorator George DeTitta Jr. enlisted a “fabulous collection of taxidermy, to help sell the hunting lodge theme," Baer says.

In addition to major films and television series, Newel Props also works with Saturday Night Live, which is one of its most frequent collaborators. Keith Raywood, SNL’s production designer, is a frequent Newel visitor. “Keith and his team set up shop at our Long Island City showroom during show weeks so he can shop in person,” reveals Baer. “We really get to see how he puts together a set. We also have an opportunity to point out new pieces because we are always getting new-to-Newel inventory.”

Photo credit: Peter Kramer/HBO
Photo credit: Peter Kramer/HBO

Such a wide-ranging inventory, says Baer, “is essential because you never know what set we need to help create. Evidently, many of us have been watching Newel Props work its magic behind the scenes for decades, without even realizing it. And although some of the prop house’s current clients are still in production and cannot be disclosed, we can guarantee that you will be seeing their furnishings on screen in even more shows and movies very soon.

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