Not only have thousands of films and TV episodes been filmed in NYC, but the city has set itself up to get as many producers as possible to film here by offering them lots of tax breaks. So of course they choose this very crowded, busy city to film in over other, quieter locales for lots of reasons. Not the least of which is that NYC has acres of cobbled streets, glorious parks and historic buildings to die for. Though there’s only one dirty, creepy small lane so it gets filmed A LOT when a bit of a ‘noir’ atmosphere is called for.
But all those beautiful locations are absolutely jammed packed with people and cars so how does it all manage to happen? There’s sometimes up to 30 prime time TV episodes a week being filmed and 28+ films per year not counting commercials of which there are dozens. That’s a logistical nightmare in itself. Fortunately there’s The a Mayors Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting and all support activity for filming in NYC is centralized there. They issue the permits needed to film, allocate times for filming in city owned parks and properties and oversee the whole process.
Once a studio has the appropriate permit and they’re clear on all the insurance reqauiremtns etc, it’s their responsibility to contact residents, businesses and any community bodies affected by the filming. The most visible sign that filming is about to happen are brightly colored notices pasted on lightpoles giving dates and times for filming and laying out parking restrictions while filming is on.
Since the special Mayor’s Office was set up during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure this whole process for supporting filming in NYC has become streamlined and very efficient. That doesn’t mean however that everyone is happy. Certain parts of NYC get used much more than other parts and residents can very antsy indeed when they can’t park their cars or get into their apartment buildings no matter which glamorous star is being filmed. So a system has been worked out to limit the number of films shot in the City’s hot spots, those places that are most often chosen as a filiming location.
New York natives, while not averse to doing a bit of watching as some drama gets filmed in front of them, are remarkably laid back and cycnical about the whole process. As most people who have ever been involved in a film of some sort, it’s 90% preparation and 10% action and the whole thing is sometimes like waiting for paint to dry.
However NYC does very well out of it’s open arms policy to film makers of all kinds. Sure they get excused some taxes but they also pay a lot. Then there’s the impact on the economy of having all those people coming in to do a film. Overall the film industry contributes $7.1 billion a year to the NYC economy and then there’s the 130,000 New Yorkers employed on sets or in businesses which support filming in some way.
So yes it’s disruptive, but boy is it worth it. And then of course there’s the tourists who spend hours trecking around NYC seeing ‘Where Harry Met Sally’, ‘Ghostbusters’ ‘Fame and ‘the Seven Year Itch’ got filmed. Altogether NYC and films are a match made in heaven