Although it was never explicitly mentioned, Chinatown was a much a part of Flight of the Conchords as its music videos.
The HBO series depicted struggling New Zealander musicians Bret and Jermaine in their bid to conquer New York, or at least find a place for themselves. The pair frequently struggled with making ends meet, living in a decidedly unglamourous apartment where they shared a bedroom.
Pretty much all of the interior scenes in the series were shot in studios in Brooklyn, but the exterior shots of Bret and Jermaine’s apartment, featured briefly in the scene below, can be found at 28 Henry St, not far from the Manhattan Bridge.
Indeed, Henry Street seems to be a common location chioice when depicting struggling artists, as Bradley Cooper’s character in Limitless – a struggling author – also calls Henry Street home before his narcotic-induced transition.
The rather generic office building used as the exterior of the ‘New Zealand consulate’ where the band and their hapless manager held meetings is a few minutes away at 232 East Broadway.
I can also report that the owner of the store was particularly excited to have a fan of the show visiting his shop. When he saw me taking pictures of the exterior he loudly declared “Flight of the Conchords!” and invited me to come inside for a chat, even insisting that he take a picture of me in front of the store.
As opposed to many film and television productions which often change filming locations dramatically from scene to scene, Flight of the Conchords stayed remarkably faithful to the Chinatown/Lower East Side area. For example, nearby Columbus Park was used for this scene where Bret and Jermaine battle with a racist fruit vendor:
‘New Zealand town’, which was a central plot point towards the end of the second season, was also constructed at 200 Clinton St:
Many scenes were also shot just over the bridge in Williamsburg, but for the most part it’s hard to walk around Chinatown and not think of scenes like these: