Film Shoots Permitting for Public Space

New York City is a major hotspot for media and entertainment production.

For the last several years, mainstream film and television productions have expanded in the city.The number of movies filmed in the city has been growing steadily.

While the film industry plays an important role in the New York City economy, film and television productions can negatively impact New Yorkers’ quality of life.

Residents have complained of sound pollution from generator trucks, bright lights, and being prevented from walking on their streets during film shoots

While the film shoots may benefit small businesses, since film staff purchase food, drinks, and materials from local businesses, large film shoots can disrupt daily business operations.

Film Permits Issued

Permits Affecting Street Parking

9,004
2018

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Top Locations for Permits Affecting Street Parking, 2018

Manhattan
Manhattan
4,106 Permits

Brooklyn
Brooklyn
2,950 Permits

Queens
Queens
1,422 Permits

Bronx
The Bronx
398 Permits

StatlenIsland
Staten Island
128 Permits

Permits Affecting Street Parking Over Time

For the last several years, mainstream film and television productions have also expanded in the city.

For example, in 2012, 162 movies were filmed in New York City; in 2018, that number rose to over 330.

The number of episodic television series filmed in New York City has also continued to grow.

While the City is home to approximately 118 different production studios and stages, production studios and stage infrastructure have grown to accommodate the rise of film and television content.

By Year

2012, 2015, 2018


The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (“MOME”) serves as a liaison between the film industry and New York City (NYC) government. MOME encompasses the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (“MOFTB”) and NYC Media.

Under the current system, producers are required to seek a permit from MOFTB for a variety of reasons including: parking privileges, use of City property, stunts, use of prop weapons, use of prop vehicles, or if actors will appear in police uniform. Data presented here focuses on permits requesting parking privileges.

Such permits have a $300 application fee and an insurance requirement.

These permits may provide productions with free police assistance, free parking privileges and access to most exterior locations, including City parks, without charge, although some locations may require additional permission from controlling entities.

Hours of Permitted Filming

By Month, 2018

Note: Total number of hours allotted for permitted filming that affected parking per month in 2018.


Lack of Complaint Data

Generally speaking, it is difficult to obtain data regarding complaints about the film industry.

While residents affected by the expansion of the film industry have raised concerns both in online groups and to 311, the 311 data on the Open Data Portal has no distinct category for complaints related to the film industry.

Without a separate category of data, it is difficult to take a deeper look into the nature of 311 complaints related to the film industry, as there is no way to identify common issues across 311 complaints.

Additionally, the dataset regarding film permits on the Open Data Portal is missing records for film permits issued in 2016 or 2017.

The gaps in the data complicate the ability for interested parties, including good government groups, to conduct oversight on MOME.


Legislation

On September 26, 2019, the Committee on Technology, chaired by Council Member Robert Holden, and the Committee on Small Business, chaired by Council Member Mark Gjonaj, held a joint oversight hearing on the expansion and economic impact of the film and television industries on New York City and the following bills:

The legislative package includes bills that:

  • Updating the fees for permits to film on city property Read the Bill: Int 158
  • Requiring film companies to provide residents with at least 72 hours’ notice when film shoots will disrupt parking. Read the Bill: Int 937
  • Creating a local community and media bill of rights addressing the issues that communities face during film and television production. Read the Bill: Int 1495
  • Requiring a task force to review and consider impacts and benefits from the film and television production industry. Read the Bill: Int 1515
  • 14-day notification requirement for movie-making, telecasting and photography permit applications when special parking requests are required. Read the Bill: Int 1700
  • Requiring that certain applicants for film and television production permits pay a fee of $800 and providing that such permits expire 30 days after the date of issue. Read the Bill: Int 1722

 For feedback, comments, and questions please email Data@council.nyc.gov.

Created by the NYC Council Data Team.