Levin – Stop Filming in Brooklyn Heights!

This dispatch just in from our man in the NYC Council, Steve Levin in response to the crazy amount of filming recently in Brooklyn Heights (we’re looking at you, Delivery Man):

Council Member Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights) called on the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting to place the entirety of Brooklyn Heights on the City’s “hot spot” list, which would result in a moratorium on filming in the neighborhood and provide much-needed respite for a community that has seen more than its fair share of on-street filming.

Brooklyn Heights has been overrun with movies, television shows and commercials in recent months. In October and November alone, the community played host to at least fourteen different productions, including at least three major motion pictures. Last Wednesday, two films, Delivery Man and Winter’s Tale, were granted filming permits on the same day and were allowed to hold up to eight blocks of parking and shut down arteries such as Henry Street to traffic in the small, residential neighborhood. Winter’s Tale is scheduled to film more scenes in Brooklyn Heights next week.

“I understand and respect the fact that the movie and television industry provides revenue for the city and employs a number of New Yorkers, but residents of a single neighborhood, especially one that is primarily residential, like Brooklyn Heights, should not have to bear the burden of on-street filming on an almost daily basis,” said Council Member Levin. “The people who live in this community should be able to freely walk down the sidewalk, park on the street, and bring their children to the local playground without constantly dodging film crews.”

Brooklyn Heights, which is known for its historic brownstones, tree-lined streets, and views of Manhattan, is a top choice for location scouts and is even used as a stand-in for Boston and other cities.

“The moment one film shoot wraps, the next production is already out scouting locations in Brooklyn Heights,” Council Member Levin continued. “The situation is so bad that films are literally competing for space—one production recently posted ‘no parking’ signs before they received their permits, only to find out another production was scheduled to film on those blocks on the same day. We need to find a reasonable balance between the needs of residents and the needs of the industry. Until we can come to a resolution, however, the City ought to prohibit filming in Brooklyn Heights.”

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  • http://about.me/pschaffer Perry Schaffer

    Could not have said it better myself. Thank you Councilmember Levin.

  • Boerum Bill

    NOOOO!! I love it when Hollywood comes to town! It gives the nabe serious sparkle cred!

  • Wiley E.

    Thanks, Mr. Levin. We need a break from film production. It is way too much.

  • Monroe Monty

    Question, do filming permits cost money? Do parking permits in Brooklyn Heights cost money? I’m under the impression that the film crews are paying for the parking spots and the cars are not…so, I would think more films and less cars are better for the city. I’ve only been in the Heights a month though (and had a film crew on my block) and I don’t drive so correct me if I’m wrong please.

    Oh and I was very much free to walk down the streets during the shoot.

  • Heightsman

    @Monroe Monty – welcome to the hood but stick around a bit. Your tune will change.

  • ABC

    Here what they need to do, at a minimum. They need to add a reasonable donation/fee to the neighbor impacted by the filming.

    I’m very aware of the importance of the film and tv industry to nyc and don’t really mind the shoots. But these last few weeks have been crazy – moving my car every other day at one point, stuck in traffic another time, held up on the sidewalks with my kid another cold day. These people have healthy budgets. There should be a set fee for the permit that goes to the neighborhood, plus a per diem.

    Also, there should be a review of how many cars are really needed. During the Delivery Man shoot, they took 3 spaces up so then the director arrived the car could easily park and then park there all day. Why couldnt he be dropped off and then call to pick him up, valet-style? I think we could reduce the foot print along with the time of these shoots (move your car! we might need this spot 36 hours from now!) with a little effort.

  • Martin L

    Last week Monroe Place was completely taken over by a film shoot taking place in the Court House. Both sides were occupied by trucks or cones. Forget about UPS, FedEx, the tradesmen, plumbers, electricians and the rest of the people we depend on for bringing in their stuff. I had a major delivery by truck which had I not made a vigorous protest would have been shooed off to unload somewhere else.
    Kudos to Levin for taking on these totally unnecessary, increasingly frequent, major disruptions to our lives.

  • The Earl of Clinton

    ABC, that’s not a bad idea! Kind of like Alaska gives oil income, NYC should give small filming “inconvenience incentives” to the residents of the addresses directly impacted by the filming…

    And as a Heights resident who does not own a car, I LOVE having the crews around (for both Boerum BIll’s and Monroe Monty’s reasons, as well as the chance for a bit of stargazing)! Who care about parking, liberate yourself! Bikes for all!

  • ABC

    Well, I was sort of thinking something to the local neighborhood association or whatever.

    When the coen brothers were here shooting Burn After Reading they gave 1k to the BHA and PS8 each. People loved it. It was a nice gesture because it was completely voluntary, but really, $2,000 seems like not that much to ask.

    Wish I could get to work by bike, but I can’t.

  • AmyinBH

    I do not appreciate having to cross the street while sidewalks are completely blocked at midnight when the temperature hovers around 30 degrees with the strong BH winds blowing. The catering trucks spewing fumes and foul food odors are not welcome either.

    Ban filming!

  • KG

    Brooklyn is a huge vast city within itself, and filming here in all districts of the borough has been historical. It would be a sin to have the movie/entertainment industry leave Brooklyn.
    Films were made in Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay,Bensonhurst, Sunset Park, Marine Park/Mill Basin, Brownsville/Bed-Sty(Crown Heights)/East New York, Williamsburg,Carroll Gardens/Red Hook, South Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Dumbo, etc, and are welcomed here.
    Yes, it can be an inconvenience to those whom have to deal with alternate side of the street parking, having to walk distances from their homes, worrying that their cars may be vandalized or stolen, then have to park elsewhere until the filming is completed, and having to be asked for identification to come onto the block being used to go to their residences.
    True Brooklynites, are usually caring, respectful, supportive and welcoming to all, and naturally “go with the flow!” Brooklynites are numb as I believe they’re born with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as they deal with everyday traumas, disasters,crime,filming and concerts, that it’s no big deal to be inconvenienced.
    Majority of filmmakers have trailers, their own facilities chosen to feed, house the staff and actors, and they have cleaned up and left areas in better shape and have given to those whom allowed them to use their facilities, homes and businesses. They’re a plus to most neighborhoods and its people.
    NYC Councilman Steve Levin needs to sit in restaurants with Brooklynites, go to concerts, hang out with Brooklyn Borough Marty Markowitz and truly meet and greet the native people of Brooklyn and get their opinions, not just the outsiders that have moved into Brooklyn, that aren’t appreciative ot the arts and entertainment that Brooklyn has been noted for.

  • beeeeetrend

    Get over it, whiners. And get rid of your cars, too. This is NYC.

  • Michael

    I applaud the council man. All this filming hurts our local businesses as there is no parking. In addition, the crews do not always clean up after the shoot. Many of the lamp posts in the neighborhood are covered in tape from the no parking signs that the crews put up.

  • Wiley E.

    Some production crews are very rude, leave trash, and some put-up fake street closure signs. Some are polite and respectful, but not all of them. There needs to be a limit for scheduling shoots. It has gotten out of hand. If you want to live in Hollywood, movie to Hollywood.

  • seth coen

    Get over it! You’re complaining about the pain of having to cross the street and omg endure those catering truck odors! You poor flower! A month ago and less than five miles from your home hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands were without electric or heat for weeks. But I guess if it wasn’t you…

  • David on Middagh

    Seth Coen, invoking a widespread disaster of historic proportions is not a valid way to enter a local discussion of a particular quality-of-life issue. Even if that discussion does contain rants.

  • bronxkid

    Agree with KG….Film crews are everywhere in the city. Let’s not ban them from Brooklyn Heights.

  • north heights res

    While a ban might be extreme, I’d welcome a more thoughtful approach. To have so much of the neighborhood taken over on the day before Thanksgiving, the biggest travel day of the year, seems a fairly major mistake. To not permit people to get to their homes or to walk down the street for extended periods of time is inconsiderate at best. And spreading out productions or limiting the number of streets affected seems reasonable.

    Who, I wonder, was paying the police officers to stand guard and forbid people to get down Henry St? I’m guessing it wasn’t the production company. Taxpayers, no?

    I’d love to give up my car, but my work responsibilities don’t permit it. I do consider it a privilege to be able to park on the street and I couldn’t disagree if paid parking permits were required, but as they are not, regularly requiring people to move their cars and taking up spaces for a profit-making business is tough to take.

    And yes, these are the troubles of the privileged. We all get that.

  • Fritz

    Totally disagree with stopping filming. Love the filming, love the buzz it gives the neighborhood.

    What’s the neighborhood impact, other than parking? People who complain are people with cars, who want to store their guzzlers for free on city streets. Probably same people who killed congestion pricing.

  • Hortense

    guess what – they film here because our neighborhood is pristine and beautiful.

    Manhattan is just a series of national chains and new luxury high rises and has stopped being quaint. Remember You’ve Got Mail – basically put the Upper West Side on the map for the 2000′s. Those days are over and it’s our turn.

    Also get over the parking thing – no one cares. Use a garage – I do and I pay as much as you do for registration. You are getting something for nothing – which is a free spot on us the tax payers and we have to hear you whine about Hollywood crews.

  • Cascascas

    Colin Farrell was riding up and down the street outside my appartment on a white horse last week. Now that’s not something you see every day! No real inconvenience to me and the crew even scrubbed clean some graffiti on the fence across the way…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    FYI
    Film crews DO NOT have the authority to stop you from walking anywhere, they can only request that you “cross the street” etc. They often pose their “request” in a stern manner so most people comply without question. So the next time some PA asks you to “cross the street” simply say “no thank you” or “F**k off”, depending on your mood, and keep walking.

  • Heighster

    When the Coen brothers filmed Burn After Reading, my kids came home from school at PS8 on day and said, “George Clooney and Brad Pitt bought us cookies!” The school allowed the crew to use the bathrooms so they bought cookies for the entire school.

    Everything in moderation. A good mantra. Some filming is good, too much, not so good. I appreciate Levin watching out for our quality of life.

  • Teddy

    @Heightster

    I agree. Some filming is alright, too much is definitely not good. Maybe a max. of 2 productions per month. Not 14 productions in 2 months. Let’s be reasonable here.

  • Knight

    Very nice posturing for your constituents, Councilman, but I’m sure it was delivered with a wink and a nod to the Mayor and the Council Speaker.

  • Knight

    @DoM: Nice call-out!

  • Boerum Bill

    You elitist chowderheads want to live in a gated community? Move to Jersey!

  • AmyinBH

    First, to the troll who thought I should get over having to cross the street: I am a delicate flower. Second, I didn’t make any comments directed at you so, return the favor or crawl back under your bridge. We got enough crzy on this blog. Third, you clearly ain’t from New York because you can’t recognize a joke.

    I do know the film crew can’t make me cross, but a huge amount of equipment, lights etc. totally blocking the sidewalk can.

    And, finally…. Brooklynites go with the flow? This is funny. That description has never fit any native new yorker.

  • Ytsaeb

    How about rather than push for a moratorium, you get something in return — like increased funding to finish development of Brooklyn Bridge Park? Seems to me that if the Heights is generating more than its proportion of revenue by inconveniencing residents, then perhaps we residents should merely get something in return for the hassles.

  • James

    Do any of the ranters above really think that the mayor or anyone else in authority actually reads this blog? Such comments need to be directed elsewhere. Get over yourselves.