NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s lights, camera, and a whole lot of anger in one Queens neighborhood, and a local lawmaker has proposed changes that could challenge big budget film and television productions in the Big Apple.
People in Middle Village say they’re fed up with the city for issuing permits to production crews filming so frequently.
“To have this in the middle of the day, it’s just making us miserable,” Nancy DeMino said. “We can’t function.”
The set plaguing DeMino’s neighborhood spans several blocks near Metropolitan Avenue and 78th Street. Business owners say they’re suffering, despite the usually busy holiday season hitting high gear.
“We look forward to this time, but we’re stuck,” Mario’s Meats & Deli owner Joe DiGangi said. “Deliveries can’t come, people can’t come in, we’re losing business. More and more business every day.”
DiGangi says his business is down thousands of dollars since only Sunday. Meantime, the production industry is booming in New York. With streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime demanding more content, New Yorkers are seeing more film sets than ever before.
The city says the industry brings hundreds of thousands of jobs, and billions of dollars of revenue in each year. Councilman Robert Holden (R-30th) says the shoots need to be better regulated.
“It’s out of control,” he said. “Whose bright idea was to do this right before Christmas. I mean, the city should not permit that.”
Holden’s proposed a bill to raise the permit fee from the current $300 to $5,000, so only necessary shoots block streets. He’s also asking that community members get two weeks’ notice instead of a few days and a chance to give input before a shoot is approved.
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment says big trucks are a necessary part of filming, but that the city closely monitors production levels and how they affect a neighborhood. Also, the office says if a specific street has had too many recent disturbances, the city can put the production on hiatus for a little.
Currently, 800 blocks are restricted. Holden says he plans to officially propose the bill by the end of the year.