Record increase in TV series filming in NYC


panam (Credit: Office of the Mayor)

When television producers want to recreate 1960s Berlin, Prohibition-era Atlantic City or current day Chicago, it’s the Big Apple that’s become the desired studio back lot.

A record 23 prime-time TV series are being filmed in New York for the fall season, up from just nine in 2006, city officials said Monday. Although production crews can disrupt neighborhoods, sparking complaints about lost parking, noise and blocked sidewalks, the economic benefits and allure of big-name stars can be worth the aggravation, some New Yorkers say.

“Everyone has shopping and tourists, but what makes New York great is being able to spot a movie in the making or seeing a celebrity,” said Lucia Alfonso, 20, of midtown.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the industry supports about 100,000 jobs and brings in $5 billion to the local economy.

“We expect the industry to keep growing and have made investments to make sure it will,” he said at a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Steiner Studios, where the new ABC airline drama, “Pan Am,” is shooting.

Steiner Studios, also home to HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and the “Men in Black III” movie, is in the midst of a major expansion in its effort to become the largest TV and film studio in the city.

Officials touted the state’s 30% tax credit for producers, first introduced in 2008, as a key incentive for luring the industry here.

However, filming outdoors can take its toll on locals. In May, a 53-foot trailer for “Men in Black” star Will Smith was ousted from a SoHo street after an outcry from neighbors.

Last year, an Upper West Side resident was arrested for head-butting a production assistant on the set of the upcoming Joseph Gordon-Levitt flick, “Premium Rush,” after he was reportedly told to wait before crossing the street.

A review of 311 data show 614 movie crew complaints in the first seven months of 2011, up from 513 in the same period in 2010.

Susan Stetzer, district manager for Community Board 3 in the Lower East Side/Chinatown, said there’s little she can do about residents’ biggest complaint: a loss of parking.

“If [the crew has] a permit to be there, all we can do is contact the mayor’s office,” she said.

The city creates temporary no-filming zones in neighborhoods that are significantly impacted by production, said a spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.

(With Sheila Anne Feeney)


The city is home to 23 prime-time TV series being filmed for the fall. They include:

•Pan Am, ABC
•30 Rock, NBC
•Boardwalk Empire, HBO
•The Good Wife, CBS
•Gossip Girl, The CW
•Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC
•Rescue Me, FX
•White Collar, USA

Tags: News , Mayor's Office of Film , Pan Am , Bloomberg

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