City Issues Cease Fire On Movie Shoots In Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO

It’s a good thing NBC’s hit series “Smash” has wrapped its first season. The city has imposed a two-month moratorium on film shoots in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO—bringing a cease fire to movie-making in two of the borough’s most cinematic communities.

The Brooklyn Paper reports today that the clamp-down follows persistent complaints from neighbors about parking restrictions, lights, power cables and trailers.

“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,” city film spokeswoman Marybeth Ihle said in the Brooklyn Paper.

Production companies have filmed few movies, TV shows or commercials since April 1, when the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment pulled the plug.

Mayor Bloomberg said on Tuesday that the film & TV industry has spent $60 billion in the city over the past decade, including $7.1 billion in 2011, while employing 130,000 people. But small businesses claim they’re not spending their money on local venues.

Read the full piece in Brooklyn Paper here.

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  • liam

    one of the big problems is parking. they reserve many of these spaces for crew workers on the site! hey this is bkln hgts, the biggest subway hub in the city. let them take public transportation like the rest of us.

  • maria

    @liam Not only that, they are allowed to tow cars to different places. I saw them doing this once and I really felt sorry the people who owned those cars. I sold my car because the parking alone is brutal and when you add the movie making, its just impossible.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I would say the more frustrating issue is not being allowed to walk down the street you live on while they’re shooting at take.

  • Nabeguy

    I’d pay twice as much to see anything filmed by Karl Junkersfeld than the crap that these parking hogs shoot day after day. And Karl doesn’t even take up one full space!

  • Flashlight Worthy

    I’m not so sure they reserve the parking for staff vehicles. I think they mostly reserve it for trailers and equipment trucks.

    When you see a block full of cars, I think those cars are there so they can have continuity in outdoor shots. Think about it — if they’re shooting an outdoor scene that takes a few hours, what happens when someone who owns one of those cars wants their car? It’s one thing to tell a resident to please wait 3 minutes while they finish a take — it’s another to say “sorry, we don’t want your car disappearing from the background mid-conversation so we need you to leave it in place for the next 4 hours.”

    Where do they get those cars? I always assumed that they rented a fleet of generic cars from some production company… but maybe they do encourage their staff to drive, have them park in the reserved spots with the understanding that they can’t move their car for 8 hours — or even several days,

  • stuart

    These film companies should give back more to the communities they exploit and inconvenience. A $200 check to the BHA isn’t enough.
    I hope at some point citizens start to rebel. There is nothing like a little civil disobedience to make film companies think twice about filming in what they think of as “docile neighborhoods” such as Brooklyn Heights.

  • BH’er

    i agree that something needs to change but i dont think a moratorium is the right way to go

    filming is a direct incovenience to the neighborhood and residents and they should give back

    im short of ideas on how – probably somewhere between coffee and donuts for the neighbors to some sort of improvements after each shoot

    maybe they can fix the bent Montague St sign at Pierrepont Pl that was mentioned a little while back?

  • Hicks St Guy

    $7.1 billion last year alone. and you miss out on a parking spot or forced to go out of your way. sigh.

  • AmyinBH

    Film crews can ask you to not walk through a shot, but they have no legal rights to completely block you way. Many a young crew member has learned just that as I continue on my way ignoring their requests. I will not interfer with police, firefighters for EMTs doing their jobs blocking sidewalks. Film crews making another bad movie or tv show are fair game on the mean streets of NYC.

    I would also like to know where the $7.1 billion went. The local business owners don’t see a dime. Oh, wait….. $7.1 billion is the combined salaries of the overpaid actors.

  • chicagokath314

    They should give a walk-on role to any Dumbo resident or BH’er who wants one. Then, when the film is released, we’ll bring our friends to see it and say “There’s ME” which is way better than “There’s my house.” And I agree with Nabeguy– I’m probably not going to see any of these movies. (Although “Margin Call” was pretty good.) But if I’m IN one, I probably will. We get famous, they sell more tickets– win- win.

  • liam

    in response to flahlightworthy–i’ve seen it often enuf, private parking outside the room they need for the trailers etc. jersey and nyc plates and definately personal cars !

  • carol

    Rather than a moratorium, I would prefer a cap – no more than x number of shoots per month in a particular neighborhood. Once the moratorium is over, we’ll be back to business as usual with no limit on the number or frequency of shoots.
    @Flashlight – there are people who have inventories of cars from particular eras. I knew a guy who had about eight different cars from the late 60’s – early 70’s. He made money when the Summer of Sam was being filmed.

  • weegee

    Flashlight – Often, casting calls for extras will request people with cars for background purposes (you get a bump on your rate.)

    Look for my Impala and me outside of a police precinct on “Nurse Jackie” this season!

  • She’s Crafty

    Agreed some of the $$ should be funnelled directly back into the community to compensate for the inconvenience. But how? What about free $5 metrocards mailed to all residents who live within a 3 block radius of any shut down…everyone can use a mc at one time or another.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I like Carol’s idea.

  • stuart

    I don’t pay any attention to those idiots either. I continue walking. This is my neighborhood and the sidewalks are public thoroughfares.
    Maybe next time, I will stop by the food table and load up on fruit and cake. I encourage more of my neighbors to do the same. Brooklyn is a big place, why do they keep bothering the same citizens in the same places? Film in Crown Heights or Bedford Stuyvesant, those are beautiful brownstone neighborhoods, far larger than the Heights. Why doesn’t the Mayor’s Office do a better job of spreading the shoots around the Boro?

  • Hicks St Guy

    $7.1 billion.

  • AEB

    I’ve had near stand-offs with crews of movies en shoot, who ask I not return to my apartment building until a scene in its near environs has been filmed.

    One doesn’t want to be a bad sport, but who are THEY to tell me etc., etc….

  • Hicks St Guy

    @Stuart and AEB, they are trying to film a scene, but it’s always about you! very tiresome.

  • stuart

    Hicks Guy: you are the one who is a tiresome self-righteous jackass. And that is all I know about you!

  • MonroeOrange

    I have had my car towed, I parked on a Tuesday spot at night, no notices of a movie shoot, and had my car towed several days later. Apparently they put up the sign sometime during the week parking when parking was legal. To make matters worse, they don’t inform drivers that your legally parked car was moved for a movie shoot. Took hours to find out where it was towed. It was towed to under the BQE, where Brooklyn bridge park now is. This was about 7 years ago, when that area was deserted at night (lucky it wasn’t broken in to). Found my car with several others who were also towed. Where’s my piece of the 7 billion for pain and suffering! (thought car was stolen for several hours)

  • AEB

    Hicks St. Guy, so if I’m trying to get home after a day at work, and I’m told I have to wait to do so because someone wants to MAKE A MOVIE–that is, create a product for their own profit–I should accede unquestioningly to their demand?

    Why do you assume the movie maker has a greater right to do his/her thing than I do to be in my apartment when I want to be, unless there is some danger involved?

  • Hicks St Guy

    @MonroeOrange, I get your point, inexcusable. @AEB, the City profits. @stuart, very tiresome.

  • Nabeguy

    Hicks St. guy, how is $7.1 billion dollars a benefit to the city if it’s derived from something that make the city a horrible place to live? Your obsession on the money is obtuse.

  • Hicks St Guy

    @Nabe, “a horrible place to live”? obsessed no, aware of the City’s financial difficulties, yes. you and the other guy, let’s differ without the name-calling.

  • epc

    I think it was the seven different productions over the course of the first week of April that pushed a lot of DUMBO residents over the edge. The notion that there were no productions prior to April 1st is laughable, there was at least one production per week since the start of the year. But that first week of April there were several days where multiple productions overlapped, blocking all on street parking in much of the neighborhood for several days.

    A production a week sucks but I think people could tolerate it. The orgy of productions that happened was either stupid planning on the City’s part or on the production companies’ part, and now they get a nice moratorium in prime weather season as a result.

  • stuart

    It’s the Mayor’s office. all they care about is ca-ching. they couldn’t care less about residents. Could not care less about the “little people” who live out there in the Boros.
    How many TV shows and commercials were filmed on the Mayor’s block last year?

  • GHB

    I could tolerate it when the results are MOONSTRUCK or PRIZZI’S HONOR. THE WACKNESS? Not so much…

  • TeddyNYC


    Great idea, but I don’t think it will happen anytime soon, at least not until after Bloomberg leaves office. I wonder how many film shoots Staten Island gets.

  • Slide

    By the way the story has been revised. The moratorium does NOT apply to Brooklyn Heights, only DUMBO.