TV and Film Production Ruining Greenpoint Lives?

One time a friend and I drank a bit of wine and decided we were going to dress up in 1930s attire and stroll onto the set of Boardwalk Empire. We could see the production lights from her kitchen window and thought it was totally awesome that such a successful HBO show was filming right downstairs in McGolrick Park. We also thought our plan was genius. We never actually went through with it, but that’s a story for another day.

According to local news outlets, some Greenpoint residents don’t share our same sense of excitement. CBS New York and Fox 5 News recently reported that many Greenpoint residents are fed up with the abundance of TV and film production in the neighborhood. The complaints stem from constant street closures that can last several days and leave car owners with nowhere to park. The situation worsens when the signs are posted and cars are parked elsewhere, but the promised shooting doesn’t even happen and streets are made empty for no apparent reason. It seems the most concerned area is on Monitor Street and surrounding blocks. In Fox’s report one upset Greenpoint resident said, “We’re hostages now on our own block.”

Maybe if there were more Michael Shannon sightings in Greenpoint, residents wouldn’t be so upset?

TV and film production complaints have long been an issue throughout the borough. Just last Friday Gothamist posted a photo of an angry note left by an agitated Fort Greene resident:

©Gothamist

According to the Fox 5 report, there are currently six television shows in production in Greenpoint alone right now. Included is new show Hostages and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. The film and TV industry employs more than 130,000 New Yorkers and contributes some $7.1 billion annually to the local economy. Local businesses benefit from this, too.

Fox 5 said the consistent filming is disrupting residents’ quality of life. What do you think, Greenpointers? Is the Greenpoint production of Boardwalk Empire ruining your life? Is it true that the “lights camera and action remains a distraction”? Let us know in the comment section.

46 Comments

  1. Calyer says:

    I mistakenly parked right on the seam of two different productions recently. My car was towed, and both productions swore that it was the other one that towed it. No one could tell me where to find my car. But it was really important that they moved it so they could keep their table of bagels out in front of my apartment building!

    I think it would be reasonable to, when a film crew moves in and takes up the parking, suspend alternate-side parking regulations on the adjacent streets to give the parking spaces back to the community.

    Reply
    • ayrm says:

      totally agree about suspending parking rules nearby (i think this should go for long-term construction projects, too!)

      “but the streets will get dirty” — then the shoots/sites can pay for additional dept of sanitation days.

      Reply
      • EagleSt says:

        I totally agree. That would be a great compromise.
        The problem with these closures is that they don’t only effect one block for a day or so, it’s generally multiple blocks for multiple days at a time, which can be extremely frustrating. Lately it seems like EVERY night I go to park my car between Freeman and Commercial there are at LEAST 3 closures over 6 square blocks, which is pretty ridiculous.

        Reply
  2. Caleb says:

    I like the filming. It’s fun.

    Reply
  3. Pops says:

    The money is welcome but the blocking of streets isn’t?

    God, these posts are so overly dramatic – your lives aren’t being “ruined”, they are being mildly inconvenienced.

    Reply
    • EagleSt says:

      Actually no, it’s more than inconvenience. See Vandalnyc’s comment below.
      It is also a matter of disrespect. I’ve been yelled at for walking with a friend into his apartment because they were filming in front of it. I’ve been yelled at for walking down my own street and had to cross to the other side. It’s not friendly.
      And they being their own catering, it’s not like we make any money off of them. They’re not improving our neighborhood. They’re paying the mayor’s office and then setting up camp being self important

      Reply
      • Mikey says:

        “its a matter of respect” – yeah maybe you should lay off acting like your life is an episode of the Sopranos and realize you are wasting 1000′s of dollars by being an arrogant dbag and deliberately walking through a live set.

        your own self-importance is what the problem is here. Pops is right, you are being MILDLY INCONVENIENCED and thats all that there is

        Reply
  4. vandalnyc says:

    i think the whole “bringing money into the neighborhood” argument is total bullshit because they always have their own catering. Also, they block parking the night BEFORE their permits take effect. Yes, they actually try to stop you from parking on your own block, walking on your own block, etc.

    i love “the movies” and i think they should make more of a contribution to the communities they are disrupting. paying the mayor’s office does not do the neighborhood any good.

    Reply
    • DavidNYC says:

      OMG well if you are really that dumb you think “money” = using local cafes for lunch, then I seriously don’t know what to tell you.

      Do some research, you will find that your being slightly inconvenienced is much more beneficial to the community at large.

      Why are you even owning cars in a hood with no garages is another question – move to Queens already if you are tired of parking your car, plenty of driveways there.

      Reply
      • Jen G says:

        now. now. play nice.

        Reply
      • Monitor Street says:

        To all those who believe the money that the city earns from the tv and movie filming comes back to the community think again. They bring in their own food trucks and vendors. When or if they buy from one of the community stores its not a lot of money being spent. McGoldrick park is a mess. The homeless sit and drink all day and night. They then use the park benches as bathrooms and as a bed. So where is the money to fix this park and where is the money to give us more police protection. As far as the comment of why do I own a car if I am living here in the city, well its my right as an american to have a car, just because you don’t drive don’t assume no one else should. Did you ever think the reason someone needs a car is because they are taking a loved one who has to go back and forth to a hospital. and I have lived on this block for 35 years. So Davidnyc show some consideration for people you know nothing about.

        Reply
    • FEDUPWITHUPPIES says:

      You should check your facts. The production companies pays $300 per shooting permit and that is once a year. So of the 22 episodic shows that film in NYC thats not that much money to the Mayor’s Office. The Mayors Office offers free police coverage also.

      I agree that it is an inconvenience and you should organize a neighbors association that accepts donations and be proactive instead of complaining. The money could be used to plant trees, flowers, fix neighborhood green spaces, etc. The production companies actually actively search these groups out and gladly give money to them because it smooths over the whole experience.

      You know what ruins neighborhoods? Yuppies. Who do you think you are and how on earth have you gotten so over privileged. YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY.

      And for the geniuses that think suspending alternate side parking to accommodate the displaced residents it just compounds the problem and displaces more people.

      KR your comment “It’s inconvenient for us, but mostly I survive…” is disgusting. Go to East New York or North Philadelphia and cry about your little problems. Are the movies stopping you from drinking your blueberry kale bullshit? Are the movie shoots disrupting your preternatural crying class? You should be ashamed of your self. Ask the local deli how much money they make from crews buying soda, water snacks, etc. It’s significant. Ask the local bartender, hardware store, supermarket, etc, etc. I’m sure “those people” are below you though.

      You are the ones ruining this city by pussiffying it. Stop complaining and start being proactive.

      Reply
  5. Andy says:

    It would be great if they amended the parking rules to accommodate since the neighborhood plays musical chairs with their cars 4 days a week.

    Reply
  6. KR says:

    I don’t see how they add to the community. It’s inconvenient for us, but mostly I survive. But they don’t bring anything more to the community except hassles. If they painted a building or cleaned the streets or fixed a fence, I’d say “welcome!” The movie sets rarely patronize the local businesses, but the TV regulars (think Good Wife and Blue Bloods) work regularly in GP and patronize GP shops. NYC Office of Film should require a donation or a community project for each permit.

    Reply
  7. Willis says:

    the issue is that basically no residents are compensated for the inconveniences. the city makes money, the film crew makes money, but residents that have their local public spaces, including their front sidewalk, hi-jacked get nothing from it. at the very least let me get some snacks from the catering table if your going to turn my block into a movie studio.

    Reply
  8. Mark says:

    I’d love to hear from actual business owners in the area about any increased traffic they see. All of these shoots are catered. I realize they are likely catered by NYC companies, but it seems the increased business that local coffee shops, restaurants, etc receive is overstated.

    Reply
  9. Maria says:

    The filming is not fun and a definitive inconvenience for all. The new bus line has taken out many parking spaces which makes it so much worse. All residents deserve a good nights sleep because most of them have jobs they need to go to the next day. If this happened once in a while I don’t think there would be that many complaints. This happens ALL THE TIME. It’s bound to break you after a while.

    Reply
    • Mark says:

      For all? Or for everyone with a car?

      Reply
    • CallumBK says:

      Just move if you don’t like it, NYC makes too much money and creates too many jobs to start caring what residents think. Its only for like 3 months of the year anyway. So many whiners in this thread…

      Reply
      • Monitor Street says:

        What you fail to understand is that the people of Greenpoint were not given a choice if they want filming or not. The mayors permit office isn’t looking at a map of Greenpoint and checking to see how many places are being effected on any given day or week. I have been told that it creates jobs but I have spoken to many people in Greenpoint and no one has got a job from the film industry. As for being a whiner that is my right as an american citizen. My family has served this country, we work and we pay taxes so I will whine all I want.
        Thank You

        Reply
  10. Chris says:

    The neighborhood needs clarity on how much filming is going on, and a portion of the proceeds should fund community desires. We pay taxes on our property for maintenance of the sidewalks and streets, and deserve to be able to use them as much as (or even more) than a film crew does.

    Reply
  11. Shadie says:

    Film shoots are too frequent. I don’t like being woken up at 5 am by crew members YELLING outside my window. I don’t like crews leaving bags of trash in front of my stoop days ahead of trash pickup. I don’t like flood lights streaming into my apartment until late at night. Film shoots are fun and cute every now and then. But too much is too much.

    Reply
  12. Mat says:

    They should really provide an alternate place to park – how about instead of one more condo, a public lot that is free during shoots?
    Is that too crazy to ask for?

    Reply
  13. Sandy says:

    Great point on suspending alternate side parking on neighboring blocks.
    Great point on homeowners paying for the maintenance of the sidewalks in front of there homes and their right to feel put out when they are (very often rudely) greeted by catering or a grip truck with their crap all over it.
    I have seen combi trucks rip through trees, drive on sidewalks. I have seen catering leave pieces of rye bread stuck to branches in the tree they set up under. So it isn’t that I want to move to Queens, DAVIDnyc, to park my car, I have lived here for 40+ years and do feel it is excessive, and you provide just that touch of arrogance, rudeness and entitlements that many residents feel from the crew. I know that there are productions that donate to the Greenpoint reformed church and I know that another production compensated a resident when the teamster told her to “F off” when he was asked to move his semi off her sidewalk. There are considerate productions, but there are too many. And there are ways that we can get along, but the entitlements from both sides makes it a lose / lose situation. Call the Mayors office of Film and Television with every complaint. That is the best way to bring attention to residents concerns. 212-489-6710

    Reply
  14. Jess says:

    I agree that it is complete bull shit when these ppl are screaming at you for walking on a specific side of the street esp if you live on that block but you all need to be grateful nobody is pulling a “Sleepers” or “The Siege” … they blocked parking for weeks and months at a time when they filmed here. As for the neighborhood not benefiting from any of these filmings, that varies. A lot of apts and buildings with large rooms around here are used for scenes or holding areas whose owners are compensated. Not to mention on occasion full on sets need to be looked after overnight if there is no filming taking place which allows locals the opportunity to make a little extra cash by making sure nobody steals or breaks into anything. If you have an issue, get names/numbers and call 311 until something changes… beyond that, good luck!

    Reply
  15. Rebecca says:

    These shows film outside my house all of the time, we couldn’t leave our car in the street b/c we couldn’t deal with all of the parking stuff. We now pay $200 for a garage spot and it’s less then the inevitable tickets that are unavoidable b/c of the shoots. The volume of sleep I’ve lost with the generators and lights blasting all night is beyond measure. Also, the other day, I realized the whole sidewalk smelled like piss and feces and saw the film crew literally just emptying out the toilet tanks on the sidewalk. It’s unacceptable. They treat the neighborhood like it’s one big set, made just for them. For people who say ‘just move’ or ‘why do you have a car?’ please remember life doesn’t work in that simplistic way.

    Reply
    • Laura Hofmann says:

      Dumping their urine & feces into the street from a container is illegal dumping and is a crime. Double trouble if it’s being dumped into the sewer. It should be reported. Call 311.

      Reply
  16. Anthony says:

    But of course the Caleb’s and Callum’s like it. Like, Yah! So New York!

    Reply
  17. Skeptical says:

    Get over it and your silly cars. As long as they’re not messing with the G train I’m cool with it.

    Reply
  18. Eljay says:

    Nothing will change until people in Greenpoint make it inconvenient for people to film here. The Brooklyn Heights community has done it and managed to see a reduction of requests for permits; they don’t need these “phantom” potential customers to eat lunch in their neighborhood (does anyone really believe that) and neither do we. Film crews are rude, selfish and this may come as a shock to the naive…..they don’t live here. I’m not talking about PAs or the shady people that they bring into our neighborhoods to hold spots. Grips, camera men, sound people etc, the majority of film people within unions wouldn’t be caught dead in Brooklyn. Our communities are nothing but disposable sets to them. Go buy yourself a bullhorn and flood light and create havoc from the safety of your homes during their stupid shoots. WE DON’T NEED THEM !!!!!!

    Reply
  19. John says:

    If I saw them filming Jurassic park id be like, ‘Yoooo nice dino’s!”

    Reply
  20. LIC Dude says:

    They do this all the time in the Hunters section of Long Island City.

    Won’t all these TV shows and movies start to look the same if they’re filming in the same neighborhoods, over and over?

    Reply
  21. DC says:

    It is more than a distraction. The parking and noise are issues, but it is NYC. The rudeness and arrogance of the film crews is what becomes unacceptable.

    Reply
  22. bryan says:

    oh no, bringing jobs to the area, the horror!

    I live in greenpoint, work in film and television. my livelihood depends on these productions. Without these productions providing my paycheck i cant go to all the local businesses to support them and i can’t frequent all the bars of greenpoint that i love so much. sorry, thats the truth. If parking is a big thing then why not petition the city to let people park in front of churches during productions or suspend parking rules, why not try and work something out instead of saying the entire industry isn’t welcome.

    Reply
  23. joe says:

    when the film industry yet again moves from NYC you guys will be the first to complain that revenue is down in your neighborhoods and people don’t have jobs. you all have iphones or blackberries. if you see a problem shoot it on your phone and report it or talk to their locations dept. don’t passive aggressively get on here and complain after the fact …

    btw, how many of you actually use those local stores or go to the bigger chains because you feel price gouged by the local bodega? most of the complainers are always finding the next thing to complain about and doing nothing about their actual complaint, except to get on the internet and moan.

    Reply
  24. Teresa says:

    There are a lot of hassles apart from the car parking issue.

    Crew members hang out in their cars and idle their engines for hours and hours to run the A/C or heat, and on a small residential block those fumes can really get to you in your home, after a surprisingly short time; the equipment diesel generators also spew clouds fumes for hours on end and crew members can be remarkably blase about proper use and behavior around them (they often smoke around working generators, carelessly flicking still-lit cigarettes into the street nearby); I’ve watched them cut down tree branches that were “in the way” of a shot; on my small street (not made for heavy vehicles) they have cracked the sidewalk curbs and street pavement — and while they should be fined/pay up for such damage to city infrastructure, they sure won’t be; the list does goes on.

    Film crews’ transgressions run from, yes, minor inconveniences to genuine environmental and public health risks. If you’ve only been inconvenienced, my congratulations to you. But please don’t jeer at people whose families’ health and physical comfort have been compromised time and time again by this industry. And they’re not necessarily asking for a stop, but for adherence to noise and air quality compliance laws. If we have to obey the law, so should the film industry.

    Reply
  25. Mary says:

    I’m fine with occasional filming but it’s getting to be too much. Williamsburg requested a moratorium and got one. Why can’t Greenpoint? I live over by McGolrick Park and they basically use it and the surrounding blocks as one big movie set. I work in production myself and understand how enticing the neighborhood is as a location– it’s a production manager’s dream. But that doesn’t mean that it should be used every week. Now they’re filming inside the park all of the time, whose primary use should be for the public. I’m trying not to become an old grump, but I think the best thing to do is to start complaining to the Mayor’s Office. Let other parts of the city bear some of the burden. Greenpoint– New York City’s film lot/trash depository.

    Reply
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