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Lights, Camera, Action!

by Steve Mona on Mon, Apr 16 2012 1:04 PM

According to widely varying estimates the Television and Film Industry pumps a gazillion dollars into the New York City economy. You really have to take the numbers at faith because I haven't heard anyone in city hall that has ever offered to show any sort of proof that was at all reliable. But that's really not the issue for some of us. Does the industry put dollars in the city's coffers? Of course it does. In addition many of the back scenes people, some lucky enough to have an on-screen credit; some not, are local folks who work, play and spend money and pay taxes here. Also, you have to admit there is a lot of prestige attached to being a film and television favorite locale.

The argument however, for those of us that live in areas like Dumbo in Brooklyn becomes, how much is too much and how can the neighborhood benefit more in terms of capital for inconvenience.

First off, for those of you that subscribe to my blog but don't know what "Dumbo" is, a quick education. Roughly bordered by the Brooklyn Bridge to the south and Bridge Street to the north Dumbo, an acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass" is a former industrial area along the Brooklyn waterfront that features late 1890's commercial buildings, cobblestone streets complete with old freight car tracks and stunning views of Manhattan. It's also the place I call home. Home for many of us are old loft apartments in buildings that once housed such industries as coffee, soap, shoes and cardboard boxes. It's a dynamic and interesting area that was not exactly the nicest place to be when I first joined the NYPD. Because of its old school appearance we get a lot more movie and television projects than other areas although the city does claim it's not any more than most. (Last week 7 separate projects were filming on the same day so I find the city's comment a bit dubious)

Back though to the argument of how much is too much and how can we, the individual nabes, benefit financially. We can't, plain and simple. The city is not going to work out any formula that carves up the pie with any equity. Why? Two reasons, first off they'd have to really come up with a legitimate formula for how much is actually being contributed and secondly there would be a hue and cry from the areas that almost never have any filming, least of all the big budget projects.

So if what I'm saying is true, what to do? That's easy; simply ask that the studios and other industry entities act like good neighbors. Sort of like Steiner Studios. Steiner is the studio for HBO'S mega hit "Boardwalk Empire" who, along with all the companies involved in the production, really know how to do it right. Partly because Steiner is housed in the adjacent former Brooklyn Navy Yard and mostly because the streets of Dumbo fit right in to the show's 30's time period, filming for the show in Dumbo occurs often and yet causes very little disruption. Why you might ask? Because the people involved are good neighbors. They never take more parking than they need; if they realize they need less they release spots. Actors and other staff are vanned to the locations requiring even less parking. They are quiet when they can be and meticulously clean. (I even noticed a can this morning placed in front of the warehouse they often use marked "butts" for discarding cigarettes.) When they leave you'd be hard pressed to see any indication they were here, which is often. They are personable and accommodating and don't at all act like they "own the place." If every film project had their acumen people might complain less.

Who am I kidding? This is New York City. Complaining here is an art form.

That's a wrap...


To learn more about Dumbo visit dumbonyc.com

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Steve (NK Slider) Mona

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