By Matthew Taub
Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn Brief
Update: we received a response from the city indicating that private cars are not allowed to park in the film crews’ “no parking” zones. See below.
Rampant film production in Brooklyn Heights has caused mixed feelings among residents, while the neighborhood’s temporary loss of parking is only supplanted by a modest, voluntary donation, according to the Brooklyn Heights Association.
“One Remsen Street resident complained, but a Montague Terrace resident also contacted us to let us know how neighborly the crews have been,” said Judy Stanton, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association.
Most of the equipment Monday afternoon was for White Collar, a hit television show on the USA Network produced by TVM Productions and Silvercup Studios. Stanton also mentioned a small student film in production in the neighborhood, but their externalities were believed to be minimal.
New York State is now a magnet for film production, with the most generous tax breaks for the industry in the nation. A $420 million/year film incentive program, considered a boon to the local economy, has been extended through 2019. But local neighborhood associations and residents who have to contend with the loss of parking (and general nuisance of the production) see only a modest benefit, voluntarily offered by film crews on an inconsistent basis.
“Most crews don’t offer anything,” Stanton said, “but this crew generously offered $1,000. So we’ll send them a letter if we haven’t done so already, thanking them for the donation.”
Once a film permit is granted, the NYPD, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (and the relevant production company) create and place “no parking” notices throughout the designated area where film crews will be operating in advance of the production date.
But these notices create another cause for concern. Along with film trailers, several private vehicles were spotted parking in the “no parking” zones, leading one resident to question possible overreach of the permissions granted film crews.
“Are they abusing the ‘no parking’ zones for private vehicles, not officially part of their ‘film crew’ operation, that should have to independently find a parking spot?” one reader wrote in to ask.
We have reached out to the relevant film production company, the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to inquire as to what vehicles can park within the film crew “no parking” zones, the process that allows a temporary “no parking” zone permit related to film production to be granted, and for any other comments or clarifications they wish to add.
Update: we received the following response from the City’s Office of Media and Entertainment:
Thanks for your email. I handle press and communications for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and wanted to share the following info with you:
- The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment strictly limits the amount of parking productions are granted and sends field representatives to shoots to monitor production footprints. Parking privileges are given to essential production vehicles only, such as equipment trucks or trailers. Crew or personal cars are not covered by the permit.
- Any issues arising from temporary work on location can be resolved through the production manager on site. If the situation is not resolved, residents are encouraged to contact our office via 311 immediately so that action can be taken right away.
- Our office has also created Resident and Merchant Frequently Asked Questions, which detail what residents can expect when crews shoot on location and can be found online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/for_residents/faq.shtml.
Here also are some economic impact statistics about the film and television industry:
- The City’s entertainment industry employs over 130,000 New Yorkers.
- The industry contributes approximately $7.1 billion to the local economy annually.
- There are also 4,000 ancillary businesses that support production throughout the five boroughs.
Press Secretary and Communications Manager
NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment