Film Scout Parking Permits Rescinded

spiderman.jpgThe other night in the Financial District, the buildings of Trinity Place were lit-up all noir-like, and light illuminated the steam temporarily wafting skyward from an orange stack. The lighting set up a visual image of a comic book, larger-than-life metropolis that will appear in Spiderman III.  I enjoyed watching a take or two of traffic on the streets as the star flew through the air on some kind of hoist, and generally I am a fan of Hollywood filming here because besides creating jobs, it usually improves the city’s image, and encourages tourism, and reminds viewers around the world of the excitement that daily life here can include: New York remains the ultimate movie setting because it is the place where anything can happen. But the New York’s huge film industry has been leaning on a not-so-secret crutch that has now been eliminiated. (Hat tip to The Oil Drum.) An essay by Francis X. Clines in the Times brings to light some news:

The industry also has a small army of locale scouts empowered with platinum-level parking permits. And there’s the rub: Ordinary New Yorkers with no less a talent for divining authenticity have been complaining about the loss of parking spaces to scouts who have City Hall tags to park ticket-free, on the job or not, as diplomats.

And here’s the happy ending: With the industry booming, enjoying tax breaks and creating jobs, the city decided it was wise to kill the parking perks for film scouts as of July 1. Call it Gotham Strikes Back. The big equipment vans will still have the permits on filming days, and the city will clear the rights of way. But the scouts will have to pay to park like, well, authentic New Yorkers.

Peakguy, writing over at the Oil Drum, hopes that this is the beginning of a general policy of taking away special parking privileges.  Can anyone else think of groups with special parking privileges they’d like to see revoked?

  • Anything purely administrative workers in government would be a good start. Frankly if the car is only used to commute to and from work, that should not qualify as “official business” that requires the use of a parking permit.

    It would be a much better deal for everyone if government employees lived closer to work, experienced the same commutting experiences as the rest of us.

    How many permits are out there and what is their breakdown? Perhaps this would be a good FOIA request?

  • As a New Yorker, one of the most mind-blowing things I saw when I visited a couple of German cities, was municipal workers riding around all over the place on bicycles.

  • Apparently, China has reversed its position on bike lanes and biking for municipal workers:

    “The construction ministry announced on Thursday that any bike lanes that have been narrowed or destroyed to make way for cars in recent years must be returned to their original glory. This followed orders on Tuesday that all civil servants should cycle to work or take public transport to reduce the smog that chokes most city streets and urban lungs.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,,1798536,00.html

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