If you’re a driver who parks your car around the neighborhood, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of film crews giving an alarmingly short warning to remove your car before they tow it away. Or maybe you’ve woken up in the middle of the night to noise and bright movie lights on your block.
According to the mayor’s office, film crews are required by law to inform the community of upcoming productions and post “No Parking” signs at least 48 hours ahead of time, giving New York City residents plenty of time to move their cars—and to plan ahead so they know how long trucks and cameras will be blocking the street.
But the trouble is that “informing the community” technically means the community board, city council, block and merchant associations—not the residents. Though the community board sends emails to residents who ask for them, not everyone gets those emails. And so most people rely on the signs that are often posted too late for them to move their cars in time—even though crews are also required to post “No Parking” signs a full two days before filming begins.
Should film crews be posting these signs as required by the City of New York? Yes, absolutely. Residents are tired and frustrated of having to deal with the noise, trash, and hassle of film crews coming in and tearing up their streets. Greenpoint’s own councilman, Steve Levin, is actually pushing for a bill that would require the city to provide its many communities with a detailed monthly report on film projects and who’s running them, so the community can be informed ahead of time.
So while Mr. Levin rallies the troops in an effort to make things better for Greenpointers, how can we improve conditions for ourselves? Here are some simple tips to make living in popular filming neighborhood a bit more manageable:
Sign up for community board updates. Greenpoint and Williamsburg are in Community Board 1. Meetings are listed on the homepage of the board website, so going to a meeting would give you a chance to voice your specific concerns and sign up for emails. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask that you become a part of the mailing list about film updates within the neighborhood. Then you’ll get the notification even if the sign goes up much later than it’s supposed to.
If it’s a night shoot and you face the street, ask for blackout materials. It’s required by the film crews to provide this—but they likely won’t offer.
Call the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to report any major issues. If film crews aren’t following the rules the mayor has laid out or you’re having major difficulty, call them—and have your neighbors give them a ring, too. During business hours: 212-489-6710, and after hours, the Supervisor of the NYPD Movie/TV Unit can be reached at 646-739-9900.
Spread the knowledge. If you see a sign go up, post a tweet and notify your neighbors. If you work in the neighborhood or own a business, designate a place in your business where Greenpointers can check on news and upcoming film shoots. Ask your customers to add to it so everyone’s informed.
Know the rules and help enforce them. Film crews are not allowed to tow your truck—though if you don’t move it in time, they are allowed to move it to another legal parking spot on the street. This document explicitly lists the rules for production companies, as mandated by the Mayor’s office.