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

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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 or by calling (718) 260-2547.

Updated 2:22 pm, May 10, 2012: Updated to fix an error — the film ban does not include Brooklyn Heights.
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Reader Feedback

Bk from Bk says:
Is this even true? April 1?

There have been plenty of film shoots in the area since then.
May 10, 2012, 7:57 am
Tony from Park Slope says:
I live in an area of Park Slope that has an excessive annual stream of productions invade the neighborhood. Sure, people complain about parking and being told they can't walk down there own street to go home. I think they ought to be banned from the neighborhood, because it is always done at the expense of the neighborhood.

The mayor has consistently talked about how much money these productions bring into the city. Where does it go?

The productions spend noting in the neighborhoods. They bring in their own caterers and spend NOTHING in the neighborhood. The argument that "extras" bring surges in business is false. Only huge block-buster movies cast scenes that require crowds of extras. It is simply a lie to say that these productions bring in customers for local businesses. Not only don't they bring in customers, but, in my residential neighborhood, the city "permits" are nothing more than the city paving the way from private landlords to reap the benefits. I can't recall the last time our neighborhood had a benefit directly attributed to film production.
May 10, 2012, 8:04 am
Carol from Brooklyn says:
Eighth Avenue in Park Slope, near the Montalk club, is regularly closed off to residential parking for blocks all around. It's a hardship for those who already spend 30-45 minutes cruising for a parking space, and it goes on for days. Does Park Slope get anything in return?
May 10, 2012, 9:11 am
WW from Bay Ridge says:
"Filmmakers hope the ban is lifted quickly — because there’s really no alternative to DUMBO’s views"

Welcome to Toronto!

Most of the world can't tell the difference, so all those hotel rooms, supplies and movie actor saleries are not going to NY. (as well as the taxes of the lower level troops.)

Did you know that if a Califorinia resident movie star makes $10,000. per day in NYC on a movie set, it is taxed as income in NY State, even if the payroll company is in Calif.?
May 10, 2012, 9:18 am
Ian from Williamsburg says:
What do you expect when rich people call up billionaire Bloomberg and complain? They get results.
May 10, 2012, 9:22 am
jay from pslope says:
I live in park slope and we have film shoots going on all the time, many times its for some commercial and not a movie.
It is really really annoying that when I come home from work or I am leaving for work I have some 22 year old in a crappy black t-shirt sporting a half goatee and ear piece running up and getting in my face telling me I can't walk down the street to get into where I live or get to work.
How about I go to their neighborhood and park a truck in their driveway and shine lights in their windows and tell them they cant walk on the street, and then run idling trucks all day long?
I pay money to live there, and I pay taxes and I have a 22 year old film nazi telling me where I can walk? REALLY?
I am not even talking about the noise they make or lights at night, one shoot even had a rain making machine that spewed water for over an entire block and soaked me while I was walking on an adjoining street. Its retarded.
These film shoots don't do crap for the hoods they shoot in except screw them up, and on top of that we give them huge tax breaks to be here.
Screw them, let them go to Toronto like they always threaten to do.
And NO, I don't get a kick out of seeing my hood in a stupid chase commercial or a movie. If I want to see my street in film I can take my own picture with a lot less headache, or I can go on Google street view and see it. Its not a big deal, film is not some new gee whiz new fangled invention.
Emperor Bloomberg talks a lot about how much the film industry spends here, but says not a word about how much they cost us.
Go poop out your art somewhere else that is not at the city's expense film industry. You guys suck.
May 10, 2012, 9:30 am
WW from Bay Ridge says:

Next time tell the kid that he has a permit, not a license.

He can ask, but he can't demand. Tell him you want to see his "Schedule 'A'" and to see the first AD (Assistant director) Tell him that as you continue on your way. If he touches you, make a lot of noise.

Uncontroled noise on a set costs them money.
May 10, 2012, 9:43 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Here's a solution: everyone on the block with a window facing the street should hang a large (even huge), obnoxious flag out their window(s): Nazi, Confederate, USSR, etc. That will dissuade the location director or film crew from filming exterior shots on that street and go away.
May 10, 2012, 10:07 am
jay from pslope says:
WW thanks for the tax info, but so what, your figure does not say anything about how much it costs everybody else, and it DOES.
Why in the world should we be subsiding a rich movie star's income with tax credits?
As for asking to see the first AD, why do I have to ask to see somebody to walk down my street? Film people are not the police. Your suggestion is like asking to see a Representative of the King in Saudi Arabia, pure bolderdash.
The arrogance and entitlement of these people is just insane.
If he touches me? REALLY? Make noise? What planet are you living on? I am not going to make a lot of noise, I will break his face in self defense, as the law permits, and then I will sue everyone.
May 10, 2012, 10:11 am
jay from pslope says:
Mike I loooove your idea!!! How about everybody hang out their windows and bang pots and pans too!!
May 10, 2012, 10:13 am
Ben from DUMBO says:
As a Main St. Dumbo resident I agree with the ban.
They've been filming at Gleasons and other locations since April 1. The trucks take up blocks. The parking spots disappear - both the free alternate parking and the meter parking. This disrupts local businesses, visitors, and contractors... if I have a contractor working in my apt then he has no place to park. Its difficult for family to visit because they have no place to park.
The large loud trucks and trailers take up the street, generating noise, and makes everyone uncomfortable in their own neighborhood. Dumbo does not need this.
May 10, 2012, 10:41 am
Ben from DUMBO says:
As a Main St. Dumbo resident I agree with the ban.
They've been filming at Gleasons and other locations since April 1. The trucks take up blocks. The parking spots disappear - both the free alternate parking and the meter parking. This disrupts local businesses, visitors, and contractors... if I have a contractor working in my apt then he has no place to park. Its difficult for family to visit because they have no place to park.
The large loud trucks and trailers take up the street, generating noise, and makes everyone uncomfortable in their own neighborhood. Dumbo does not need this.
May 10, 2012, 10:41 am
Jessica from Brooklyn Heights says:
Why don't you all not move to a neighborhood, and try to change everything about it. I want quietude, so I live in Brooklyn Heights. DUMBO is historically an artist community. There's always been lots of filming down there. If you don't like that way of life, move somewhere else. You sound like the people who move above a music venue, then complain about the noise and loitering on the street.
May 10, 2012, 11:58 am
jay from pslope says:
Jessica, I have lived where I live for a really really long time. Film crews were afraid to go to where I live not that long ago, it was not "always like this".
Moreover we are not just talking about DUMBO, and there are broader issues here, like the fact that production crews have almost no minorities, that they leave trucks idling all day long creating air pollution or that the city is using my tax dollars to pay for this non-sense.
If you want to talk about what people sound like, you sound like someone who moved here from Ohio.
And no, DUMBO is NOT historically an artistic community, that is a recent thing, but if you had been here more that five minutes you would know that.
May 10, 2012, 12:10 pm
John from Greenpoint says:
I've lived in Greenpoint for 15 years. These TV and movie shoots have become a blight on the neighborhood.

Sometimes when a shoot disrupts parking in the neighborhood, I am forced to ride around in my car blasting reggaeton with the windows while I search for a spot. I can't move very quickly as I pass the actual shoot. I don't want to miss the chance to see a real live movie star!

Another thing that happens is I find an urge to practice the bugle in my front room--again with the windows open--it's refreshing. Somehow I never get better. Oh well, practice practice.

May 10, 2012, 12:34 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Artists in a neighborhood and mass film crews with trucks and cables and lighting and lots of noise are not the same thing.

I agree with the above posters, we need to make some noise and cost them money. There should be a neighborhood tax for filming that went to the neighborhood board or something. Film companies can afford it if they can afford to pay their big name actors millions.

And I agree, if one of those lackies stops you on the street and physically stops or touches you, put your hand through his face.
May 10, 2012, 12:53 pm
Jessica from Brooklyn Heights says:
Jay, I lived in DUMBO from 1997-2003, I left because as I got older, it was too much for me. That is why I moved to Brooklyn Heights. FYI, I am 6th generation native New Yorker. Family moved to the LES in the 1800s from Poland. That said, I do agree that production assistants sometimes take their jobs too seriously, and have no right to tell anyone where to go, and where not to go.
May 10, 2012, 1:53 pm
AG says:
This is part of the reason why NYC's economy fell off the cliff for a long time. It's just very difficult for businesses to operated. So if they are willing to - it must be a valid reason. None of us around here were alive when the film industry was actually started here in NY. It left for Hollywood because of the open space and low cost. Now California is expensive and crowded too... so the rationale has changed.
I laugh at some of these comments... Of course it's an annoyance... but this is NYC... if you are not used to it you really should live somewhere else. If you really seriously think this does not help the economy - then I don't know what to tell you.
Yes some things are valid - like bad attitudes and trucks idling... but move to the suburbs if you don't like crowds and lack of parking.
May 10, 2012, 2:09 pm
WW from Bay Ridge says:

Asking to see the first AD holds up the works. See all those people standing around? They are on the clock.

Asking to see the first AD costs them money. Costing them money will get that kid to learn manners on the set.

These people are guests. And they need to be reminded that they are making a movie - they are not curing cancer. It's all pretend.
May 10, 2012, 4:21 pm
Lalli from Dumbo says:
Like most of the other residents, I have been complaining about movie and commercial shooting in our neighbor.

The filming crews invade our streets, take our parking spaces and are in general a pain in the b**t. Does the neighbor get anything in return (and I don't mean the excitement to see my street in a movie; that train left looooooooong ago)?.

If the city really want us to welcome the film industry representatives (film crews), it should organize:

• day parking pass for residents that loose their parking spot
• put some of the filming permits money back in the neighborhood. Every little bit would help, i.e. extra trash bins in the streets, to accommodate the large number of tourists and visitors, emptied more than once a day. The creation of an area where the limousines for the wedding photo shoots can park and help to enforce such a parking arrangment, etc.
• make available a fix (acceptable) number of shooting
per year.

As it is, I resent not being able to park in front of my apartment to unload weekly groceries because they are filming a commercial, being forced to jump and tripping over cables while taking a stroll with my infant baby or have only the alternative to walk in the street and waking up in the middle of the night because they are shooting again and again a night scene that involve police car with sirens and lights flashing.

Is it really so surprising that people living in the neighbors
like Dumbo are complaining and saying stop?!?
May 11, 2012, 10:13 am
yee from greenpoint says:

You're not going to get the AD, you're going to get the location manager who will have a TCD officer on set who will deal with anyone who makes a stink.

Plain an simple, the Mayor's office of NYC gives out permits and allows productions to happen. They have a right to be there, that is what a permit is for.

Just think about this, it wasn't until last year that this permit even cost anything. Incentives for productions in this city has been you get a lot of options with a FREE permit. It's $300 now for it, that's it, and it comes will all the benefits of the city for that cost.

If a production has a permit to close a street (they are hard to get) they have every right to have TCD tell you to get out of the way.

Now it's quite difficult to get a permit from the Mayor's office of film, but if a production gets one, then you only have the Mayor's office to blame. It's like saying you deserve to drive through or disrupt a block party on the weekend. You don't get to and the cops will side with the people/production with the permit. Plain and simple.
May 15, 2012, 12:34 pm
Paula from Windsor Terrace says:
Just researching this problem. The film production industry has now moved to Windsor Terrace. It is a nightmare. They have notices to shut down blocks and blocks. Also in the last few months we really have become a car dependent neighborhood, having to drive to get groceries. Great I need a bunch of bananas or go to the pharmacy, move my car and what? It is shutting our neighborhood down for 4 days. Amazing.
Never have so many been inconvenienced for the luxury of so few. Might just leave my clunker parked on the street and see what happens.
love the suggestions for the flags and the noise.
Oct. 28, 2012, 9:41 am

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