Notices about film shoots on 92nd street this week and next.
By Aviva Blume (a nom de plume…)
Let’s talk about the film shoots on 92nd street for a second. I don’t mean to exclude other blocks, but since 92nd is where I live and there is right now a large truck idling in front of my window, exhaling exhaust into my apartment and keeping me vigilantly crazy because of the continuous noise, the smell and the feeling of doomed helplessness that is building inside of me, I propose that we talk about the film shoots on 92nd street for a second.
Here is my story. I work from home, and I study from home, I sleep from home and try to relax at home. I live in the front, or street side, of a walkup on what one might think, or perhaps once was, a quiet upper west side block, 92nd between West End Avenue and Riverside. Oh, and I have a car.
In the past week, there have been two big film shoots on 92nd and that is just in the past week! (We’ve seen a steady increase in shoots on the UWS in the last year but for now, I want to stick to this week.) Friday night at 2 in the morning, well Saturday morning, I fell apart. The generator in front of my apartment was still generating, equipment was still banging, people from the film crew were still yelling and truck fumes were still coming into my apartment. I called 311 to report a noise violation but there was nothing they could do because the film shoot had a permit. Then I called the mayors office, again, but of course there was no one there at 2 am to speak with… So I left my second message of the day for a man called Dean (who is apparently in charge of location complaints in the Mayors Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting) but he has not yet called me back.
The specific reason for my call was to request a moratorium on film shoots and truck idling on the block. I was advised to do this by the location manager of a previous film shoot when I spoke with him because I was disturbed by the noise and truck exhaust from a similar situation. According to the locations manager, there is something called a ‘hot list’ of locations where people are not allowed to park trucks or set up film shoots. The idea is that if enough people call, the mayors office will ‘hot list’ the block – meaning they won’t issue permits to shoot here. Unfortunately however, I have made several calls over the past few weeks to the Mayors office, this is my third attempt to contact Dean, and still, I have not heard back from anyone.
There’s another shoot scheduled for next week too.
The situation is exhausting and infuriating for a number of reasons. The noise and air pollution are of course the most acute issues, however parking is also an added stress. It is difficult enough to find street parking on a normal day in the city, but when multiple blocks are roped off, ‘No Parking for a Film Shoot’, for several days, parking becomes really impossible. Also, the film shoots are not required to help neighbours with cars relocate and unfortunately, for many of us, the financial burden of paying for a garage spot is out of the question. However, with no one to talk to and taking into consideration the other stresses of living in a city, the most violent consequence of getting caught in the film shoot situation is that it makes you feel like you have been kicked out of your neighbourhood and your home – I am left feeling not only furious but helpless! But this is my home! Even writing this I am so angry.
Living in a city brings people into close contact with each other, this contact is wonderful at times and horrible at times… but I am sure, the only way it is possible to survive is to treat each other carefully. I would like to hear, what do other people think? How can we make it possible to live together in a better way? Also, I would like to request that 92nd street be put on a ‘hot list’ so I encourage as many people as possible to call the Mayors office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting at 212-489-6710 and request this.