Chairman Community Board 9 Manhattan
New York City Council
Committee on Governmental Operations
Oversight - The Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit’s
Issuance of Street Activity Permits
September 18, 2007
Mr. Chairman, Committee Members, Ladies and Gentlemen
My name is Jordi Reyes-Montblanc and I am the Chairman of Manhattan Community Board No. 9 of WestSide Harlem serving historic neighborhoods of Morningside Heights, Manhattanville and Hamilton Heights.
Our over all concerned focuses on the issuance of permits to film movies and TV shows within our District.
There are several issues that we strongly believe should be addressed and corrected in the process of granting such permits and the lack of meaningful consultation with Community Boards in particular our own, CB9M.
We have suffered the results of this lack of coordination and consultation repeatedly through the last few years.
To make it short I will outline the problems and suggest some solutions.
Permits are regularly issued to the production companies who then are expected to provide a copy to the pertinent Community Board. Production companies seldom if ever do so in a prompt manner and most do not even bother.
CAU did institute a process by which an alert is given to the CBs either by flash fax, e-mail or phone call, two or three days before the actual date and seldom make sure that the local NYPD Precinct is aware so the system doesn’t always work. The solution is for CAU to e-mail or fax such permits as they are issued.
Permit include the right to take a number of parking spots in the community, forcing locals to either park farther away or to go through the expense of parking garages. Thus the community ends up paying for the convenience of the production companies.
Then the production companies take over excessive parking spots over the absolutely necessary for their equipment further compounding insult to injury.
It was customary for these production companies to make some compensation to the community for the inconvenience but now that seldom if ever happens.
We recommend that donations to the local Public Libraries, Friends of Parks organizations and Community Centers should received some form of stipend from the production companies in compensation for their use of our community and the inconveniences caused.
We all realize the importance of the film industry to our City but let’s not lose perspective and forget that these are money-making endeavors and in most instances our communities are not depicted very flattering which in fact impacts in our communities ability to gain advantage of the tourist trade as most tourist map end at 110th Street making our Upper Manhattan districts basically non-existent to the tourist dollar.
I would require that any production that in fact reflects our communities in a negative light should be required to make stipend contributions twice as large as those productions that reflect our neighborhood and people in a positive light.
These are long standing problems and we ask this Committee, the Council and the Mayor, consider our concerns by taking adequate steps to correct them.
Community Board No. 9