It’s a wrap! City limits movie shoots in DUMBO

Cut! Besieged DUMBO cries out for film permit ban


The city is limiting film shoots in DUMBO — restricting movie-making in the borough’s most cinematic community due to complaints from neighbors.

“It is part of our office’s continuing efforts to weigh the needs and concerns of the community while supporting the jobs that come from film and television production in the city,” said city film spokeswoman Marybeth Ihle.

The city is only allowing a limited number of movies to shoot in a wide swath of the borough bounded by Gold, Front, Plymouth, and Main streets.

Production companies did not film any movies, television shows, or commercials in large parts of the historic neighborhood before April 1 because of infrastructure work, according to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

Some neighbors cheered the intermission for easing parking and congestion, but others claim any moratorium — even a limited one — will hurt the city’s film industry and neighborhood businesses.

“Most residents do not understand that filming in NYC has a strong positive economic impact on the community,” said DUMBO resident Mark Winkel, who stages events and runs a production studio. “The shops, cafes, and galleries all gain substantially from any type of extra foot traffic — it’s hard times right now, and businesses need any push they can get.”

The city has benefited greatly from Hollywood’s generosity. Mayor Bloomberg announced on Tuesday that the film and television industry has spent $60 billion in the city over the past decade, including $7.1-billion in 2011, while employing 130,000 people.

But some small businesses say the movie crews don’t boost their bottom line.

“It certainly doesn’t help because they’re not buying from us — they have their own catering,” said La Bagel Delight clerk Steven Ortiz. “Sometimes they’ll block off parking and won’t get there to use the space until six the next day.”

Residents of the photogenic neighborhood have long complained about being besieged by film crews, which set up lights, power cables, and trailers on their streets. Last year, DUMBO dwellers pushed the city to ban filming in the neighborhood, but in the months since, several television productions including “Person of Interest” have shot in the community.

DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance’s Doreen Gallo acknowledges criticism of the shoots, but hopes the film industry will return.

“People complain while it’s happening but they love it after it’s happened,” she said. “Everyone loves to see their neighborhood in film and in print. But while it’s happening, not so much.”

Filmmakers hope they’ll be able to film in the heart of DUMBO soon — because there’s really no alternative to the neighborhood’s views.

“A lot of what they’re shooting is the bridge, the buildings, and those streets,” said Kevin Balktick, an event production manager. “You’re not taking a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge in the background in the Bronx.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described the city’s film restriction as taking place in Brooklyn Heights. The movie slowdown is only in DUMBO. To clarify, only a few productions are getting permits to shoot in an area bounded by Gold, Front, Plymouth, and Main streets. We regret the error.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.