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.
You must be new here. Hollywood loves the UWS and until very recently this was an area where creatives lived. It is a nuisance and many locations are overused because New York City doesn’t really look like the Hollywood idea of NYC because of all of the new development.
I’ve been on the UWS for a few decades, and while there always have been film shoots up here, and agree that its getting a bit out of hand. I don’t own a car, but if I did I would be really pissed. It seems that streets around my apartment are always being reserved for film shoots, forcing car owners to move their car..
“call the Mayors office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting at 212-4…blah, blah, words”
Is this a joke?
This mayor is laughable at best and “couldn’t care less” at worst. He’s probably laughing at you, personally. #worstmayorin40yrs.
Let’s call you a waaahmbulance from the new Mt. Sainai North. Get over it, he’s the mayor. Welcome back to New York, duck mother*****r.
I used to live on your block. There’s an apartment on the first floor of 198 Riverside that gets rented out regularly. The Jennifer Aniston movie “The Switch” was filmed there and on the block; the gear was camped out for the better part of a month. I had a dog back then and would walk past the sets regularly.
Fun fact: if you don’t move your car in advance of a film shoot, the city tows your car on behalf of the production company and dumps it somewhere nearby, with a “DO NOT TOW” sign in the window. You call the local precinct and they tell you the block where your car got relocated. No charge. It’s not ideal for your car, but better than having to go to the pound.
I live on 91st between those avenues and was just remarking today about the very same thing. I don’t know how we got on the priority list for film and tv shoots but it seems it is definitely happening more and more. Often when we watch shows that take place in DC or other east coast cities, we actually recognize our streets.
I moved this summer to exactly this block from a bit further up and further east on the UWS – I actually think it’s pretty cool that they do filming so frequently on the Riverside part of the UWS. Granted I don’t have the fortune of owning a car in Manhattan, but I’ve rented one frequently since my move and actually find that in the evening after the trucks have left, there are tons of open spots on the filming blocks that people don’t realize are acceptable.
As for the other negative aspects of the film shoot such as fumes etc, I think there could be a happy medium – perhaps a rule limiting the frequency of filming on a given street over the course of a year. Or maybe an accommodation for residents of affected areas to be able to observe the filming itself from time to time, meet the actors, etc. I know I would have loved to see Keri Russell yesterday.
I live on the block. I was born on the block in the 1950’s and moved into my apartment in the 1980’s. My uncle has film credits on major films and my BIL works on lighting and set crews. I love my block, I love films. I am used to living on a sound stage with my bedroom as part of it.
With that said, THIS IS GETTING ABSURD.
THE POSTER IS SO RIGHT.
What’s a BIL?
I worked in the NYC movie/TV business from 1980 till 2010. You story is a very common one that I have heard since the ’80’s. However, the last 5 years that I worked in NYC. I know for a fact that no trucks parked on the street for moviemaking can have a noisy noxious generator grinding away. All trucks parked for crew and winnebagos had to be hard wired into a master generator parked ‘around the corner’. I am surprised that rule has fallen by the wayside – there should be somewhere to find out if this rule still stands. I’m sorry about the parking problem – I have no insight into that one.
I have sympathy for you (especially the constant droning noise and film crews who act like they own the sidewalks and can stop people from going home) but zero sympathy about your parking issue. You have no right to a free parking spot maintained and paid for by the city (read: all of us taxpayers) and they are well within their rights to amend availability of parking on city streets or eliminate it. Perhaps instead of garaging the car you could just get rid of it and spare all of us the fumes/pollution you create while driving through our neighborhood looking for a place to park it. Once you’ve gotten rid of it get a membership at ZipCar to use for short trips or do what most of the rest of us do – trek to an airport for a cheap rental or pay up for a rental within the neighborhood.
Really? Haven”t you heard, the UWS is now a suburb.
All those episodes of Law and Order they filmed around here over the years… I’m just glad the graffiti is lasting a lot longer these days, makes good background aesthetic for that “New York” look most companies filming seek out.
I’m assuming since you are on the UWS that you have a Block Association. Usually they can speak up and make the blocks concerns known, AND ask for a donation from the film company. Win-win.
Oh, and in regard to your CAR, get rid of it. You live in Manhattan.
Just a little intolerant?
Laura – get a life. Maybe she needs a car for her business, or takes her mom to the doctor. In any event, it’s none of your business why she has a car, and that’s not the major point of the article.
THANK YOU, NEIGHBOR! I live on the same block and when I saw the new signs up yesterday I thought, enough is enough…people have to live here. We’re not a playground. I don’t mind a film shoot now and then, that’s something to expect in New York, but three of them in less than three weeks is overkill. There are plenty of picturesque residential blocks around here – is there some reason they have to always use 92nd? Is somebody getting really rich renting out an apartment for film scenes?
I called the office number above and apparently I need an extension or mailbox number in order to leave a message. Any suggestions?
Hi this should be the number. Extension 235 Dean McCan or a woman called Liz Acosta
Oh, and I don’t even own a car, I’m just sick of these trucks and the crews all day and all night.
I am usually the first to pile on complaints from my fellow UWSers but I sincerely feel your pain. Our block also has had its share of film shoots. It has been a while but one in particular had an unmuffled generator on a craft services truck. Some online research revealed that even with permits there are ordinances that limit production noise after certain hours. Often those no parking signs have a contact number. Find the unit manager and let them know you will follow up with the city. Be relentless. They are shooting a movie or tv not curing cancer or saving baby seals. Know your rights and take no crap from a PA with a walkie talkie.
I have lived with this for the last twenty or so years. Tv, movies and commercials have come to our block, 85th, non stop. As someone who has tried to complain before the system for the last decade is ridiculous. If your complaint makes it far enough it ends up with the person responsible for promoting film production in New York. The person in the whole city most likely to ignore you.
This be something we might want to bring up at one of the community board meetings with Rosenthal and Stringer?
I live on W. 74th St., same block as the Ansonia (a favorite filming spot) and I own a car. I experience this stuff often. And carless people, don’t get all uppity about my car. You don’t know me or my situation. It is for business, but it is my out of pocket expense, so I have to park on the street. Just trying to make a living like everyone else.
My issue is that I don’t get notice about these shoots and sometimes can’t make preparation. The people in the Ansonia get a newsletter. They post signs on the street, but I work from home and sometimes I don’t go outside for days (unless I have to move my car). I wish they would post something in my building or send me a newsletter.
I get an email about alternate side of the street parking. It would be helpful if I could get an email about shoots in my neighborhood. I think I tried to look it up on the internet once, but found nothing.
Another thing that would be nice, would be if the film companies made available to neighborhood car owners discounted parking at lots on shoot days. And for non-car owners maybe they should be forced to plant a tree for the oxygen benefit. Taking, taking, taking and not giving anything in return is also anger provoking.
You know what I’d like to see? I would like to see a reality TV Show called The Real Housewives of the UWS. Now that would really be something.
Sean – Assuming that you are referring to the raised in Scarsdale/Soul Cycle/newish to NYC demographic….
Movie shoots, Con Ed street construction, jackhammers in backyards, drilling on building facades, street fairs, cranes, double parked commercial vans & trucks, DOS trucks blocking streets, over-entitled people racing around to secure parking spaces at 10:30AM and arguing with each other over whose space this or that is, etc. It’s sometimes annoying and requiring of Zen-like patience but it is the UWS in NYC and has always been like this, and those movie shoots or whatever they are, employ probably 60-80 people, so I have to imagine that this personal gripe, disguised as a community issue, is, in truth, a version of NIMBY. “Doomed helplessness”–really, you are definitely not a native New Yorker, meaning, get used to the chaos it’s a constant of life here. I agree that late night work on these things should be avoided completely. I also believe, though not absolutely sure, that filming around the city is seasonal, linked to the spring and fall TV seasons.
You’re full of prunes. 194 RSD has hosted shoots for twenty years. This year has seen more than ever. The noise, pollution and disruption has been incessant and as far as I know, no one but that building is benefitting from it.
J, you got that “full of prunes” observation right. Anyone who says” “it is the UWS in NYC and has always been like this” doesn’t have a long enough perspective.
Well said. But there is also something to be said for the City’s spreading the agony rather than licensing the same block, over and over and over.
Why should the City arrange it so that some people have the trucks and noise and nighttime disruption all of the time, while others get undisturbed peace and quiet?
I live on the same block and this is post is 100% spot on.
It’s almost EVERY WEEK that these people are disturbing the neighborhood. Total BS.
Calling the number now.
THANK YOU FOR GETTING THE WORD OUT!!
I live in the neighborhood and I am flattered that we have such a desirable location for shooting these shows. I work from home also, and the noise is minimal compared to living on other streets.
I do agree that a medium should be met by limiting the amount of time the industry can shoot in specific neighborhoods.. But with the amount of jobs the film industry provides the city and therefore state of NY with, it’s an uphill battle. Furthermore they pump 12 billion into the state economy annually, second only to Lotto. Hopefully the Mayor’s office can work something out…
I’ve been on W. 90Th St for 10 years. Same thing. Inundating the Mayor’s office with calls is a great idea, but remember that the City gets $$$$$$ from the film companies. If calls don’t work, I suggest street action such as a LARGE sit-in on the embattled street, lots of press coverage, make NOISE!!!
It’s all about $
My neighbor complained about a shoot last year non-stop, but after they offered her 14 months rent to shoot her front door and the use of her foyer she changed her tune instantly. We are all whores.
If you notice, many of the cars with film permits are not used to transport equipment but for commuting by the crew. They often sport out of state license plates. Why should they get permits for their personal cars? The mayor’s film office obviously has their heads in the sand!
Wonderful and very relevant post. And I thought my block had it bad: Riverside between 112th and 113th, and both side streets. I do have a suggestion: West Side Montessori School is on that block. Ask the administration and through them, the Parents Association to get involved. I can’t imagine they would want their children subjected to the fumes, let alone not being able to drop off 3 and 4 year old children right in front of the school.
In response to movie personnel who ask you to stop walking while filming is going on, I reply that the sidewalk is public, and I keep walking.
Don’t own a car. Unless you absolutely under no other circumstances have to have a car, just don’t. I think they should film more often in UWS/NYC, not less. I went to Columbia during the heyday of the original Law & Order’s run. It was great.
Since Hollywood pays the city for the use of city property, I feel they should also pay for parking the cars in neighborhood garages during the shootings.
I think you’re too uptight.. If that bothers you, get out of NYC. Go live in Yonkers. Very quite life up there.
Like they say, if you can’t stand the heat, get off the kitchen. This is NYC and you sign up for that when you decide to live in here.
It is out of control here between 89th to 92nd streets between WEA and RSD! There has to be a limit as to the amount of movie/tv shoots going on here! Another Deblasio mess, but he doesn’t care anyway.
The Mayor shoots films here? You seen that?
I can truly sympathize with you. I am in a different situation but another where people using the block have no sense of, and do not care, about the rights of the people living on the block. Do al these movie companies who are se arrogant and self serving, contribute as much $$$$to the city as the residents they are abusing? It speaks to an ongoing decline in civilization. = It would be helpful also if the people who make comments in these columns could express differing opinions without the need to insult and demean others. writers.
What a bunch of cry babies! This is a good thing! Do you have any idea how many film jobs are lost to Los Angeles? There are a lot of people here who work in entertainment and have a right to make a living. Considering how badly we’re getting beat by Canada and their tax incentives, we’re lucky to have any industry left here at all. Once upon a time, before the city was nothing but finance people and lawyers, New York was a creative city. Film shoots are part of what makes New York what it should be. Ever see a movie where they claim to be in NYC but are clearly on a fake set? That’s the worst. If you want peace and quiet, move to Connecticut.
This is why the UWS gets written off as a bunch of complainers! Frankly I’m happy to see something besides homeless shelters happening in our great neighborhood.
“Angry” “exhausting” “infuriating” “doomed””violent consequences”–hard to take this rant seriously. The over the top typical UWS seether, one who never saw a thing that did not require a wave of exaggerated complaining. And you have a car! Movie and TV shoots bring business to neighborhoods, to the City, to production companies and to the State of NY. Deal with it. I live on the corner of 92 & WEA and it is a minor inconvenience in the scheme of things. Perhaps the staid UK or the super-regulated Australia is better suited to the writer.
By the way, there are signs up for yet another film shoot happening next week – that makes four in four weeks. Enough!
At least the film shoots pay for parking on our streets.
I live in the area as well and it has become ridiculous. The no parking signs for the new film invasion go up before the ones for the last come down. I don’t live on 92nd Street, but I do live up the block. If I were in your shoes I would write to the board of the building on 92nd and Riverside where they do all the shots and ask them to be reasonable about the number of shoots they permit in their building. If they don’t respond, see if you can sue them. The film crews can’t film there without the permission of the Board. You might be in a position to sue them for creating a nuisance that prevents you from enjoying your apartment. Sadly, I can’t really sue them because I find the whole thing annoying.
I am all for it. It livens up a boring neighborhood and you can get free food.
The only problem is the parking.