"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enough With the Filming! Some Carroll Gardeners Sick Of Being Inconvenienced

Men In Black, Over/Under, Pan Am, Bored To Death, commercials... It seems as though, lately, every day, crews are filming in and around Carroll Gardens, and it's starting to get to local residents. Yes, of course it can be a thrill to see the lights, cameras, action and the occasional star, but some in the community have had enough of all the related street closings and the loss of parking.
Just yesterday, a local resident sent a letter to our elected officials on the subject, which she forwarded to me. She writes:
"Our neighborhood (and immediate surrounding neighborhoods) is currently being inundated with film shoots; emergency repairs; renovations and new construction; block parties; long term repairs (Verizon, Con Ed, Time Warner, National Grid) etc and it seems no one is overseeing the issuance of permits nor does the Bloomberg administration seem to care or take into account the impact all these projects are having upon the quality of life on those who live in these communities."
Another resident reached out to David Moy of the NYC Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to ask for better coordination and relief. He urged others to do the same. He writes:
"Hi Folks-Lately it has felt like we have had a film shoot on a weekly or monthly basis. I find the parking and traffic inconvenience of these shoot . I am all for the arts and for the city making money from shoots but I’d like them to spread the inconvenience around a little bit. I complained to the city office that issues the permits (see below). If you, too, are inconvenienced, I encourage you to contact David Moy of the Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting. The more of us they hear from, the more likely they are to limit the number of permits for CG more effectively."
David Moy responded to the email by promising to discuss the matter with his Director of Production. Moy explains:
"We do keep track the amount and frequency of film activity in the NYC neighborhoods and when that happens we do give these neighborhoods a break from filming. There has been 2 major movies shooting in your neighborhood this past Spring and now there is a TV pilot but generally the production usually do not go down as far as Huntington and stay mainly in the Carroll Street area. I will mention your concern about [Cobble Hill] to my Director of Production and ask if he thinks that these areas should get a break."
David Moy
Supervisor of Field Operations
Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting

What's your opinion? Is it getting to be too much? Should Carroll Gardens get a break?


Anonymous said...

Get over it. It isn't that bad. This is part of living in a historically beautiful, culturally creative community.
Next problem?

Nick Gorczynski said...

I can see how it could become a problem, but so far I haven't personally experienced an inconvenience. I think that it is a compliment to the neighborhood that productions choose to film here.

Perhaps others have noticed something to the contrary, but It seems like the films generally realize that this is a residential neighborhood, and those on the street who they are inconveniencing are people who live nearby. It's unlike the village where 90% of street traffic is from elsewhere.

As long as the productions continue to realize that, I think we can have a great symbiotic relationship, and in time see our home on the big screen.

Anonymous said...

Films and commercials being shot in our neighborhood mean more jobs for production staff (everything from craft service, production assistants, rental agencies, camera crews, etc) in NYC and more tax dollars for the city as well. I am happy to move my car for a few days if it means more jobs stay in NYC. Would you rather all these jobs go to Toronto, Vancouver, Philly, etc?

landlord said...

answer to anon 5:38: yes!

Anonymous said...

The only real inconvenience I can see is parking, and seriously, do you really need a car? Take the subway and stop complaining! I for one enjoy seeing our beautiful neighborhood in shows and films.

Anonymous said...

In response to Anon 7:59: What you are saying is that WE who live here and own a car are the problem?? Do you know everyone's situation to judge that we don't need a car?

Anonymous said...

So you have to move your car and just maybe you have to walk on the otherside of the street. You live in part of the Brownstone area of Brooklyn, NY. Why do you live here? Because its human scale feels good, well it looks good in movies. Be happy, that millions of other people would like to live in this area. You have arrived, this maybe what you have worked for. Ease up a little, there are more important thing to worry about than how many movies are made in Carroll Gardens.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you own a business on Court or Smith St.? I think you may have a completely different perspective on all of this. As a resident of this neighborhood I can accept a minor inconvenience brought by a film or commercial shot from time to time. When it effects the revenue and day to day operations of a business, I can not. I'm sure you all love seeing your coveted historic brownstones on the big screen, but think about how even a minor change in foot traffic on a weekend can negatively impact the sales of restaurants, bars, cafes and other businesses that make this neighborhood a great place to live.

Rob said...

I think the real problem with people complaining about parking is people who are annoyed they actually have to move their car more than just the alternate side days and can't let it sit in the same parking spot for 5 days. If the car is essential and you're driving it a lot then the loss of parking on a particular block wouldn't really be a problem since you'd be used to looking for parking.

Secondly, the first complaint in the original post lost me totally when they started complaining about infrastructure improvements.

As Anonymous 5:38 pointed out, this also brings in money to the neighborhood and with unemployment at 9% the money and work is definitely welcome.

Anonymous said...

I'm personally much more annoyed by the amount of cars (double parking, using bike lane as their lane, idling, honking, pollution...) than by the number of movies shot in the neighborhood. I know some people really need a car, but most people I know who owns one, don't. I've been 15 years in NY with no car, have little 2 kids and rent a car when I need one.
The filming is a big income for the city (and I should precise I do not work in film industry!).

concetta said...

totally agree with anon 11:00am, the people who don't care sound like renters w/o cars. they 'like' the idea of living here but don't contribute anything to this fabulous neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I, too, agree that this is ultimately good for our neighborhood and our city. Though one thing that irks me are the craft services brought into the locations. I think a great way to 'thank' the community in which they are filming is if they make it a point to utilize the grocery stores/restaurants within the neighborhood, instead of bringing food in from elsewhere. This could also help counteract any possible loss of revenue from said stores.

Anonymous said...

I feel lucky we have lots of production coming to our Nab. I dont have a car or own a shop on Court street but I do work in TV and I am glad there is work here in NYC. It may be annoying to some but its a pretty nice inconvenience as far as inconveniences go.

Just goes with the territory. Could this be one of those older folks vs younger folks divides here in this thread?

a lowly renter said...

Concetta are you saying only those who are wealthy enough to own their building/apartment here contribute to the neighborhood? I didn't realize as a renter I am a second class citizen with nothing to contribute to the community. Glad that's been cleared up.

Anonymous said...

I think it's somewhat silly to complain about film shoots. Yes, there have been several recently, but sometimes months and months go by with none. Sometimes we're slightly inconvenienced and sometimes we're not. I do feel for business owners, but on many shoots, they are compensated.

Anonymous said...

Simple answer- Make film crews hire staff from the zip code the production is shooting in. Also, I agree- Let them patronize local businesses- Get rid of the catering tables. This is a compromise for all parties involved.

Anonymous said...

Wow Concetta. I have been a renter in this neighborhood for 11 years and who knew i "didn't contribute"?! You sound like one of the "owners" who drive their kids the 6 blocks to school instead of walking.

concetta said...

to lowly renter: most renters stay for a short period of time--here today, gone tomorrow, capice. don't be so sensitive!

john said...

Concetta, I am a renter with out a car. I would wager I contribute much more to the neighborhood and its businesses than someone with a car. I don't drive off to Bay Ridge or NJ to find a cheaper grocery. I don't stock up on TP and paper towels at Cosco. I get the stuff I use everyday at the slightly inflated prices that our wonderful neighborhood stores offer. I dine out and visit bars in our neighborhood 90% of the time when I do go out. It's a great place to live. It's beautiful. It has character. People want to film here for these reasons.

As for the idea that the caterers and kraft service people don't source from area stores. That's just not true. Every shoot I've ever worked on, a good caterer will grab fresh items from nearby stores. Also, industry veterans get sick of the same old kraft tables and will often send a PA out to get something good from a local place.

Please try to not get in such a huff about things you don't quite grasp. Film shoots in the neighborhood are good for business and good for neighborhood morale.

Anonymous said...

A renter here for 11 years? Are you nuts? I'm just going to base your rent on being around $1,800 a month on average over 11 years since you obviously have a place big enough to have kids in- You've spent over 250K on rent in the last 11 years. Do you realize you could have probably owned a brownstone by now?

Anonymous said...

Question to Katia - do you get an inkling when you are posting a potential hot-button? 20 responses to this already!

Batman said...

Assuming that he/she lived under an overpass for 11 years, and put the rent money towards savings, sure that point works!

Some people prefer to rent. Not I, but some people.

Anonymous said...

The film companies are wasteful and dirty. Don't recycle. The ;ocation scouts and Mayors office have a map of SENSITIVE areas. It is up to individual crews to utilize and respect. If they KNOW when lunch is called, usually after 6 hours from the days start time, they can use a cafe or restaurant for catering OR it is called a Walk Away where crew just walks away and eats wherever they want. The tables of food you see are a UNION RULE. Food must be provided no matter where they soot. A crew person can't just leave and go buy a sandwhich. So, it is what it is. I hate it but I am a film person... so I know.

Rob said...

I guess Concetta doesn't realize renters contribute more than homeowners since they outnumber them. Sounds like it's time for them to pack it in and move to the suburbs.

Christina said...

I am SO sick of these film crews in here day in - day out. You think you have it bad in CG? I used on live on President & Clinton. Now I'm on Clinton up in the Heights. It is a disaster up here. I have had two commercials, two cable shows and two (maybe three) movies in the last two months. At one point I was literally barricaded inside my apartment. Right now PanAm has 7 blocks of parking!

I don't mind being "inconvenienced." I don't. But my whole daily rhythm has been completely turned upside down this summer. This is beyond inconvenience. And yes, I need my car. I'm a financial consultant with clients in New York Metro and New Jersey. Public transport is not a realistic option (you take a 3 hour subway, train and bus ride to a meeting in Edison if you think it is.)
I'm a bit on edge this summer because the DOB gave out five residential renovation permits on my block. I couldn't work with the saws on metal in my ears so I actually rented a desk in Manhattan to get away from the noise. So no...I can't afford a parking spot.

Just like the building permits, these film permits are for JOBS! Yeah, what about my freakin' job? Its tough out there. I'm a renter, the rental market is tight. The landlord raised the rent. I have to scrap to keep every client. I have to convince them to not save money by hiring a firm that hires temps.

The film industry needs to be subsidized? Really? I'm more willing to be "inconvenienced" for subway repair, road repair, or the new school that's being built on the next block. But the film industry? Please, go ahead and argue with a straight face that TV and movies are a public good. What next, is the city going to take all the tax money I pay quarterly and buy 2 million newspaper subscriptions so ya know...those people can have jobs too? If they don't want to pay the taxes and fees, then they shouldn't be filming here. If they want the "nice historic neighborhoods" let them pay. I don't see the film industry dropping like a stone in this recession.

Yeah, they're bringing jobs, but we're all paying for those jobs - a hell of lot more than anyone is paying for "subsidized parking." By the way, they're not supposed to tow your car. But they do. I'm $400 in for 2011 this year on tickets and tow fees. If you ask me, its all more corporate welfare at the expense of us working stiffs.

I say cut their tax benefits and get rid of them.

Christina said...

A renter here for 11 years? Are you nuts? I'm just going to base your rent on being around $1,800 a month on average over 11 years since you obviously have a place big enough to have kids in- You've spent over 250K on rent in the last 11 years. Do you realize you could have probably owned a brownstone by now?

By the way, I'm a renter here for 11 years too. Yeah I could probably own a brownstone that I couldn't sell unless I took a 250K loss. My landlord who bought the building about 15 years ago complained when I said I would probably leave at the end of the lease next year...she depends on my rent payment for her mortgage/tax/water payment. She wants 90 days notice. (HA! She'll get 30.) Too bad. Being a property owner is fun aint it?

The money I saved on all that garbage has gotten a MUCH better return than your condo. So maybe you and all those other people who paid half a million dollars for a run down death trap in "Stuyvesant Heights" are the ones that are nuts.

Anonymous said...

I am less irritated with the filming than I am with the blocked off blocks for "block parties." Traffic comes to a standstill so 5 kids can have 10 minutes in a bouncy castle.

Anonymous said...

David May is being disingenuous. I don't know if it is the same film crews or for the same work, but they have been on my block at least 9 times this summer.

No one in this neighborhood derives any benefit from the film crews here and I have no interest in seeing their unoriginal shots of brownstones and old timey places. What possesses a DP to go and shoot the exact same block when they must know 10 other DPs have already done it this year. It's lazy photography and they don't want to go to through the extra effort and expense to send a scout to find a new spot.

The only possible positive I can think of is when they do location shoots in local stores. But, most of the time, it's the same boring 3 streets.

if enough residents of the community decide that they don't want the film crews there, then they should get out. I will be contacting the city's office and filing a complaint.

if they want to contribute to a community, they should go and film in neighborhoods that need or want them.

Raised in Carroll Gardens said...

Having lived in Carroll Gardens for all of my 50 years I would have to say that AT FIRST it was fun having film & TV crews in our area, but like with many other things, the novelty has worn off.

Plus, times have changed: Now they use 6 or 7 trailers that are 1/2 block long, each! Then take a close look at where these trailers come from... New Jersey, Ct., etc. And the film crews don't eat or drink or shop in any of the local stores; especially when it's only a 3-4 day shoot.

Please Note the picture Katia uses for the lead of this blog - do you mean that while I was trying NOT to cry on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 that I had to worry about my car being towed, too? How about being a little sensative - our neighborhood lost scores of people that day.

Some say, "Hey just take the train." OK, but I already take the train to go to work every day, so why can't the members of the film crews do it, too.
75% of the parking spots allotted as DO NOT PARK for us locals are being used so that the film crews (from NJ, CT. & Long Island) can come to work & park thier personal cars- - - why can't THEY take the train to work?

Listen, I understand it's fun & exciting, but enough is enough. However, I don't blame the Production Companies - it's really up to the city to make certain that these things are spread-out. There's no need to have 4 projects going on within 3 months within the same neighborhood.

Final Note: Some Production Companies are better than others. There were 2 times in the past year when the signs for NO PARKING didn't go up until after 1:00 a/m in the morning for that very same day - NOT cool.