Eyes on the Street: NBC’s Blacklist Gives Green Lane Riders the Blues

The Black List blocked off  Photo: Ben Fried
“The Blacklist” took over a block of Lower Manhattan’s only crosstown protected bike lane yesterday. Photo: Ben Fried

People bicycling east on Grand Street hit this bike lane blockage yesterday afternoon, the first spring-like day of the year, thanks to television drama “The Blacklist.” The crew used the green lane as a staging area for its film shoot, compelling cyclists to detour into the car lane and moving traffic.

“Typically we keep bike lanes clear,” said a locations department employee at Woodridge Productions, which managed the one-day shoot. “I know that bike lanes are a touchy thing for the city.” (Messages for the location manager listed at yesterday’s shoot have not been returned.)

Film shoots get permits from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “Locations departments and Parking PAs should be sensitive to neighborhood needs,” the agency tells production companies on its website. “Do not park production vehicles in bike lanes, bus stops, driveways, at fire hydrants, loading docks or in front of active theater marquees.”

Asked about the permit for “The Blacklist,” the office indicated that it may have given the film crew permission to set up camp in the crosstown bike route. “Generally, film permits prohibit productions from blocking access to pedestrian [zones], green spaces and bike lanes,” the office said in a statement. Yesterday’s shoot, however, was permitted for Grand Street between Mulberry and Broome Streets, using the traffic lane and a curb lane. In this case, the curb lane is the bike lane; the general traffic lane was unobstructed when Streetsblog’s Ben Fried walked by the shoot at about 4 p.m.

“In addition to two officers from NYPD film unit, four traffic agents and one traffic supervisor were on site to oversee intermittent interruptions of traffic flow and redirect vehicular and bike traffic as necessary in the interest of public safety,” said spokesperson Amanda Nguyen. “Our office did not receive any complaints regarding the shoot.”

Complaints about film shoots can be addressed directly with the shoot’s production manager or registered with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment using 311.

  • Jeff

    If the parking/loading lane was maintained as-is on the left-hand-side, then yes, this is ridiculous. General traffic should have been routed along the left-hand curb with the bike lane detoured (with separation, with cones or whatever, maintained) around the filming equipment.

    Otherwise, if the entire width of the street was occupied by a single moving lane (no parking/loading lane) and the filming equipment, I’d just shrug this one off.

  • BBnet3000

    Not sure if this instance in particular is a big problem, though I certainly hope they used the car parking spots on both sides before taking the bike lane. It is symptomatic of how un-seriously NYC takes bike infrastructure though, and par for the course in a city where you have to share the lane with cars on high traffic roads to get almost anywhere. We’ve slowed down building protected bike lanes big time and I’d say it would be miraculous if we hit half of Mayor De Blasio’s 6% “goal” by the end of his second term.

    We’ve given up despite strong citywide support for protected bike lanes, and we haven’t even used bicycle boulevards in neighborhood slow zones despite the obvious Vision Zero imperative. Instead we put speed humps IN THE BIKE LANES, which no planner in their right mind should do.

  • New Yorker

    “I know that bike lanes are a touchy thing for the city.”

    No. No they’re not. They’re a touchy thing for the New York Post. They ceased being a touchy thing a long time ago.

  • Andrew

    ”Our office did not receive any complaints regarding the shoot.”

    Make that one complaint, it seems.

  • Alan

    There was some dumb shoot trying to stop me and block the Lafayette Ave just north of Bleecker protected lane several months back. I biked through and told off the PA. I wanted to complain but was unsure how to.

  • red_greenlight1

    You can call the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment as well as the community relationship person but they don’t care. In fact the city looks the other way as they as film companies do whatever they want.

  • red_greenlight1

    In terms of major problems for cyclists it’s a problem but sadly we’re more or less used to it by now seeing how regularly trucks, cars and the NYPD park in bike lanes.

  • Mike

    Movie and tv shoots need to be moved back to soundstages and/or Los Angeles. They disrupt not just bike lanes, but sidewalks, streets, and neighborhoods. My street is not a backdrop to a fictional show, it’s where real people actually live.

  • Alan

    So, basically just continue to say unkind things to PAs attempting to do illegal shit.

  • red_greenlight1

    More or less.

  • ohnonononono

    If it’s all about money I’d have no problem with film shoots in my neighborhood if they paid me. As it stands I don’t see a dime for the disruption.

  • Tyson White

    They came to block and removed all the cars for a day. They’re not all bad…

  • Mike

    They are if they at any point stopped somebody from walking down a sidewalk because they were filming.

  • Tyson White

    Oh I take those as just suggestions. Besides, I say to them, I’m offering to be an extra in your film at no charge!

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