B’Paper: Magpies Whine Over Clooney, Pitt Shoot

IMG_1658.JPGThis week’s Heights Lowdown column in the Brooklyn Paper doesn’t help Brooklyn Heights shake its reputation as the “neighborhood that fun forgot” one bit.
Juliana Bunim wastes no time in joining the chorus of negatrons (zombie-like negative thinkers) who are whining over being inconvenienced by the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading shoot in the neighborhood:

George Clooney and Brad Pitt have invaded the neighborhood to film their latest flick, the Coen Brothers’ “Burn After Reading,” and I, for one, can’t wait for the Hollywood heartthrobs to hit the road.

Hit the road? Scram? As in “you crazy kids get off my lawn”? Even Dennis the Menace’s neighbor Mr. Wilson wasn’t that uptight.

Today’s shoot which will culminate with a crash scene has Bunim reaching for a rolling pin to shake at Clooney and Pitt from her stoop:

It’s going to get even more congested. If you’re walking to the Hillside dog park this Tuesday, there will be flaming pyrotechnics and bloody (well, fake-bloody) bodies on Middagh Street, according to a flyer from the film’s production company, Gramercy Productions.

“An aftermath of a T-bone crash,” will be shot on the street, between Hicks and Willow streets, the flyer said. Of course filming requires an entourage of support vehicles, which means the west side of Hicks between Orange and Poplar Streets will be blocked off as well.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous and over-the-top,” said local Neil Thayler. “They’ve held spots on Hicks Street for two weeks already. It’s really taking advantage of the residents.”

And all this angst is pent up why? Because of parking?

“The whole neighborhood has been calling about parking,” said Irene Janner, the office manager at the BHA… “We already have such an issue with government employees who park with placards in places where regular tax-paying people could park,” said [BHA Executive Director Judy] Stanton. “So much parking is now blocked off, but there is very little I can do to appease residents.”

She adds that homeowners who allow film crews into their homes are oblivious to the havoc they wreak. After all, don’t they understand what that does to the neighborhood? “The homeowners might be getting a nice location fee, but they should think about what it means to everyone else who is not getting paid off,” she tells the paper.

So many Heights residents live in a reality where parking is more important than the excitement of a major motion picture filming in their neighborhood. For others, the thrill of seeing our neighborhood captured for eternity in classics like Moonstruck is well worth the “inconvenience”.  Yeah, on second thought, finding a spot for that Escalade is much more important.

In the words of the great poet, Robert Plant, “does anyone remember laughter?”

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  • Andrew

    The problem with Burn After Reading shooting in the Heights is not the parking, but the fact that the Heights is actually playing Georgetown! If the movie was set in Brooklyn, that’d be cool, but to be to Washington as Toronto is to New York is lame.

  • steve

    Andrew, I thought the same thing, but then I realized that if the film becomes a major critical and popular success and wins all sorts of awards, we will be able to say, with thinly veiled condescension, “Well, you know a number of the location shots were actually filmed in Brooklyn Heights, and I was there to see it.”

  • cranberry

    maybe the problem is that too many people have cars in a city where you don’t need one….

  • http://www.petebrush.com pbdotc

    i’m fascinated cranberry. what do you know the automotive needs of individual new yorkers?

  • Edsel

    pbdotc, the words “new yorkers” cancel the words “automotive needs.” worst come to worst, get a rental or car service.

    if you keep a car on the street b/c it’s “convenient,” be prepared for when it’s not. free street parking is a massive subsidy to drivers. Yeah, the Coen bros. woke us up at 6:00, but whatever. Clooney!

  • http://mom-101.blogspot.com Liz

    Possible voice of not-so-cynical reason here? Good lord people, find something else to complain about. I’m a car owner, and I live by the shoot locations, and it was an exciting, fun, cool week of A-list goodness. The very things that we love about New York are often the things that make it inconvenient. Take them all away and what you’ve got are the suburbs.

  • lulu

    A lot of the end of your post is actually the opinion of Judy Stanton. I agree, Clooney is a nice bonus, but it was Stanton saying people should think about not letting crews in their homes, not the BP.

  • Homer Fink

    Lulu – you are correct, but the entire premise of the piece was negative.

  • e h

    the streets are meant for the people who live here, they are not a subsidy. for many of us, we have cars because we have lives that do extend outside of our immediate 5-block radius. we’ll start laughing and lightening up when the last of he pig-swilling catering trucks vacates the neighborhood.

  • Hannah

    I live in BH too, and it appears that the posters spouting indignation need to chill out. I agree with Liz: while not the most convenient thing, the movie shoot has still been a fun week of star-filled goodness. You people are too cranky for your own good.

  • Mark

    I own a business on Middagh street, drive to work every day and hunt for parking. Yes, it is inconenient to hunt for parking, and the filming doesn’t help that. I, however, thoroughly enjoyed the filming on Middagh street today — the cast and crew were great professionals and a good time was had by all. Tomorrow it will all be gone and we will be back to our routine lives, still hunting for parking. No one died from the inconvenience – – put you car in the garage and Relax.

  • hoppy

    The kicker may be that these BH scenes take up all of ninety seconds in the finished film.

  • nabeguy

    The thing to do is to actually let them tow your car. Then they put a sticker in your window notifying the police that your car was relocated and should not be ticketed. The only inconvenience is that you have to track your car down, but they keep a record on the set of the location of every car they move, and it’s usually within a few blocks. Beats alternate side rules any day!

  • GHB

    I think that most people who were “inconvenienced” by the shoot are OK with it. Every time I see Moonstruck or Prizzi’s Honor, I can say with pride “I couldn’t find a parking space, but I live there!”

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    Magpies don’t whine, they squawk.

  • http://www.petebrush.com pbdotc

    > street parking is a massive subsidy to drivers

    this is the single most idiotic thing i’ve ever read

  • punko

    Most people I know will applaud most loudly when the filmheads leave. And those who made big bucks by making their homes available should really throw a huge block party, complete with food and booze, for all of us who had to live with mayhem while they fatten their bank accounts. Judy Stanton is absolutely on the mark. Celebrity-worship is actually pathetic.

  • hick-up

    Take it back to Burbank baby, that’s what the back lot was built for.Or, if media wants to take over the street, then pay to park the cars somewhere else. It’s a pittance given the overall production cost (think catering cost) and the “cost of doing business” i.e. a business deduction, to boot. Don’t worry – you’ll still get to drool little starlicker.

  • mona

    Here are some highlights of the film shoot on Hicks: trucks with generators running all day filling the block and spewing their nasty exhaust into the air; catering trucks dispensing food so that trash and food are spilled on the sidewalks (great for dog owners!); mobs of people standing on the sidewalks all day blocking the way for those of us who actually live here; loud workers yelling at starting at 6 am; traffic jams as the oh-so-important crew people block the road. It’s fun!

    And you have the joy of knowing that one of your neighbors is making scads of cash! So I guess the inconvenience is worth it for all of us!

    And if the thought that Clooney or Pitt is lurking amongst you floats your boat you probably need to get a life. They’re just people, only with a bigger paycheck than yours.

  • rata

    I lived in BH for 10 years, and there was always film shootings there. Always. “No reservations” with Catherine Zeta Jones was shot for two weeks in the brownstone next door to my building and on my street, and I had a car which I parked on the street back then. I don’t know why people complain. That’s what you get when you live in a beautiful neighborhood. I moved to Tribeca early this year and it is the same thing or even more. I frankly feel proud and love the fact filmakers love my city and the very neighborhoods I choose to live in.

  • rata

    And by the way, filmmaking in the Heights has been going on for longer than a lot of us have lived here. The building I own a coop in, right on the promenade, was featured in the 1977’s horror film “The Sentinel”, starring Ava Gardner and Christopher Walken. Some of my neighbors lived in the building when the movie was shot and have tons of fun stories to tell about it. So please cut the smuggery.

  • mona

    Rata, what exactly is “smuggery?” And since you don’t currently live here, you really shouldn’t lecture on how current residents should respond to this film shoot. I have lived here for almost twenty years and have never experienced as disruptive a film shoot as this one.

  • Truth Williams

    Mona, a trip to Heights Vision is in order as Rata states they still live here.

  • Teddy

    I once saw a film truck take a tree down so sometimes they do leave their negative mark on the neighborhood. Narrow streets where space is at a premium, film crews who spend two weeks here & people who pay a lot to live in this neighborhood don’t make a great combination. In other words, film crews can come here as long as they minimize the length of time they spend here, not more than 2-4 days. If that’s not possible, then they should consider another area to film.

  • rata

    Thanks Truth. Just to clarify, my move to Tribeca was temporary, but I never ceased being a resident of the Heights. My mortgage, my taxes and my permanent access to my property entitle me to state my opinion in this blog and lecture people like Mona. So Mona, if you’d like to know what I mean by smuggery just read the original post again, it reads “Juliana Bunim wastes no time in joining the chorus of negatrons (zombie-like negative thinkers) who are whining over being inconvenienced by the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading shoot in the neighborhood” and “Even Dennis the Menace’s neighbor Mr. Wilson wasn’t that uptight”

  • simon

    One man’s smuggy is another man’s funny.

  • kh

    Mona sounds as if she is ready for the suburbs. It was nice to have something other than the ordinary going on for a change. By the way, they get the big pay checks because they are not the average person.