Welcome Film Crews

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Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley wants to meet with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss the problems that arise when film crews come to work in his district, which includes Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Maspeth.

Residents are upset that when the crews set up in the neighborhood, they take up parking spaces with their large trucks and do not buy locally. Conley noted that film permits have been requested for the community.

Although some film companies have offered to make donations to the affected communities, Conley said he would rather that film crews work with the community board to make the filming a good experience for everyone.

We remind Conley and the people he represents that it was not that long ago that the mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting went to Canada to persuade some of the largest production companies to return to the city.

To a large extent, the city succeeded. The film crews are back and with them came jobs, taxes and spending in New York-run businesses. Considering the hard times the nation is facing, CB 2 should be reluctant to chase away any business.

Astoria’s New Performance Space

We join City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. in celebrating the announcement that the diving pool in Astoria Park will be transformed into a performing arts space by 2013.

“This long-unused space will be transformed to bring music, theater and more to residents of Astoria and the borough of Queens,” said Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens commissioner for the city Parks Department.

“It’s really going to make Queens residents feel like they’re maybe back in ancient Rome or Greece,” Vallone said.

Maybe not, but it is bound to be a major improvement. The performance space will seat about 1,500 people and lights will be set up for evening shows and concerts.

The diving pool’s landmarked, three-level diving board will remain where it is. That sounds dangerous and a little dumb — but the board is landmarked, not the pool.

Go figure.

Posted 7:13 pm, December 14, 2011
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Reader feedback

Diane Hendry from LIC says:
Your comment about getting crews back from Canada has nothing to do with the fact that the film commission is working for the industry, not the public as is it's mandate. It is supposed to follow it's own rules which it rarely does. In addition they have no way of tracking their own records to determine if LIC is getting more than it's fair share. (which it is) If you had to move your car and be kept awake late into the evening on a weekly basis you would feel put out as we do. Most of our frustration is with the rude responses we get when we the community point out that they are holding spaces for the crew to come and park. Under the commissions rules they are only allowed equipment trucks and cars that are actually in a scenes. But having 30 extra spaces taken.....because a crew member can't take a subway...or pay for parking doesn't support that the industry is spending dollars locally. The filming is supposed to be spread throughout the city. But it is not. CB2 is only trying to get the commission to represent the public, and follow their own rules, and show us the data they say they have concerning equal filming distribution.
Dec. 21, 2011, 10:33 am
Kenny from LIC says:
Neither residents nor CB2 oppose filming in NYC. The problem is that rules such as posting 48 hours in advance have not been followed. There have been productions who have posted only a few hours in advance. Spaces have been reserved that are either not at all or not used for the production as required. Instead there have been countless incidents of crew commuting in by car and placing bogus paperwork on their dashboards meant to look like official permits. Or there have been empty blocks where residents were forced to move cars for no reason.

There have been streets, businesses, and sidewalks blocked which is again against the rules. Add to this the Film Commission has had no system in place to monitor the number of permits issued to various locales. And no apparent system exists to deny permits to consistent abusers.

This past summer Hunters Point had no less than 5 productions simultaneously filming within blocks of each other.

Residents and CB2 have simply requested adherence to the Film Commission rules, enforcement and oversight by the Commission, better communication, and a better means for fair distribution of the burden throughout the City.

We would hope that the Times Ledger would agrees that the right to peaceful use and enjoyment of our properties is an equally important part of the equation.
Jan. 2, 2012, 12:49 pm

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