'Gossip Girl' Set Makes Fans Swoon, Paparazzi Swarm
UPPER WEST SIDE — Paparazzi and squealing fans descended on the Upper West Side Thursday to catch a glimpse — and snag a photo — of Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, and French actress Roxane Mesquida on the set of "Gossip Girl."
The fashion-forward, plot-twisting show was shooting scenes outside the American Museum of Natural History involving Meester, who plays fiery socialite Blair Waldorf, and Mesquida, who was recently cast as Blair's "meddling" future sister-in-law, according to TVLine.com.
Paparazzi aimed zoom lenses and breathless fans held point-and-shoots while Meester and Mesquida performed several takes in front of a hot dog vendor on the north side of West 77th Street near Central Park West.
Holli Isbell, 24, and Melanie Carmer, 27, visiting New York from Grand Rapids, Mich., set their alarms for 4:30 a.m. to make sure they would get to the set by 6 a.m. from their Harlem hotel.
"It's cool actually seeing the people," gushed Isbell, who took a photo of Meester waving at fans. "Leighton seems really nice. It's just awesome that I get to be in New York City and see this."
Seventeen-year-old Leandra Grinage squealed with delight when she spotted Meester behind a wall of lights and cameras.
"I just love her so much," Grinage said. "Whatever role she plays, she can bring part of herself into it. She's so versatile."
Katherine Farrell, 17, of Stony Brook, Long Island, was making her third visit to a "Gossip Girl" set. She and several friends said they regularly check the website On Location Vacations to see where the show is filming.
When it was time to move on to a new scene at the Fourth Universalist Society church on West 76th Street and Central Park West, dozens of fans rushed up to snap pictures of Meester as she made her way down the street.
Fans at the church said they spotted Penn Badgley, who plays Dan Humphrey, walking into the building.
Kelly and Tristan Bond, visiting from Adelaide, Australia, hopped off a tour bus when they realized that "Gossip Girl" was filming. The couple are such big fans of the show that they plan to take the "Gossip Girl" bus tour while they're in New York. They said they were "amazed" to see the show in action.
"Blair is my favorite," Tristan Bond said. "I just love her character. She's just such a bitch."
The fifth season of "Gossip Girl" is slated to premiere on the CW Network on Sept. 26.
"Gossip Girl" isn't the only set on the Upper West Side this week.
The Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock movie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is slated to shoot scenes on West 77th Street near Columbus Avenue on Friday, according to signs posted on the block.