Recognize This? Prime Video’s ‘Shelter,’ Based on Harlan Coben Novel, Was Filmed All Over NJ

The adaptation features locations like the Jersey Shore and the Great Falls of Paterson, plus Livingston High School, which Coben attended.

Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center
The Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center is one of the many New Jersey locations featured in the Prime Video series Shelter. Photo: Julia Martin

Bestselling Ridgewood author Harlan Coben’s new TV series, Shelter, has some extra thrills for New Jerseyans: It was filmed in several Garden State towns. 

Viewers can see the action begin in the halls and athletic fields of Livingston High School—which is Coben’s alma mater—and unfold at several iconic spots such as the Jersey Shore, the Water’s Soul sculpture on the Jersey City waterfront, the Hoboken train station and the Great Falls of Paterson

The show, set in the fictional New Jersey town of Kasselton, is about a teenager forced to move from Los Angeles to New Jersey after his father dies in a car crash. When his new girlfriend disappears, he and two friends go on a quest to find her, encountering stories of heartbreak and abuse as well as history and romance.

Even less-recognizable spots were filmed in Jersey—a tony Alpine mansion, Anthony David’s restaurant in Hoboken, Montclair’s First Congregational Church, CareWell Health Medical Center in East Orange and the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg. The exterior of the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center serves as the haunted home of the series’ character “Bat Lady.”

More filming took place in Bayonne, Hanover, Kinnelon, Little Falls, Middletown, Millburn, Morris Township, Morristown, Sea Bright, Totowa and Wayne.

Photo of author Harlan Coben

Author Harlan Coben was born in Newark, raised in Livingston and now lives in Ridgewood. Photo: Shutterstock/betto rodrigues

The Shelter series, now streaming on Prime Video, is based on Coben’s 2011 Young Adult mystery thriller of the same name—the first in his Mickey Bolitar trilogy. It’s a departure from his other books-turned-TV-shows, like Safe, The Five and Hold Tight, which were all filmed in Europe.

Steven Gorelick, executive director for the New Jersey Motion Picture and TV Commission, had a lot to do with Shelter’s Garden State spotlight: He set up a meeting with Coben and convinced him to shoot his next production not in Europe but in New Jersey, NJM reported last year.

Shelter is also the first book that Coben—who was born in Newark, grew up in Livingston and now lives in Ridgewood—adapted for the screen himself, alongside his daughter Charlotte Coben.

[RELATED: A Q&A with Author Harlan Coben]

Filming in Garden State locations has been booming since 2018, when Governor Phil Murphy reinstated generous tax incentives for local productions. According to the commission, Shelter spent about $50 million that qualifies for state tax credits.

Shelter’s season finale is available to stream starting Thursday, September 21, at 8 pm EST.

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