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  1. #1
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    New York City permit?

    Is a permit needed in NYC to set up a tripod? I know we have discussed the metro etc may be soon off limits to photos....I would like to plan a session or two down town with the big boys....maybe the professor has an update on this, I know he often shoots 4 x 5.

    Thanks
    Dave in Vegas

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Yes, it is required, but I haven't ever requested one, because I tend not to shoot in very busy public spots where I'm likely to be hassled. At one time they required proof of liability insurance, if I remember correctly, but it looks like they've simplified it, so now you just need to sign a waiver of liability.

    I believe the city has recently changed the law in general so that building owners are now responsible for the sidewalks in front of their buildings, and the change in the permit may be related to this general change in liability in the city. It used to be that the city was liable if someone injured themselves on a crack in the pavement that had been reported to the city, and as a friendly service, liability firms paid people minimum wage to compile a thick book annually, detailing every pavement fault in the city. Of course the city could never fix everything at once, so they could always claim that the fault was reported and the city did nothing about it.

    Now that they've simplified the procedure, I'll probably be more likely to request a permit. Here's a link to the page with instructions--

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/pe...prcedure.shtml

    "The Professor"
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  3. #3
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    I hadn't realised this. I am on my way to NYC tomorrow and was going to bring a tripod. Will I get hassled if I use one without a permit? Thanks for your advice.

  4. #4
    bmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Caulfield
    I hadn't realised this. I am on my way to NYC tomorrow and was going to bring a tripod. Will I get hassled if I use one without a permit? Thanks for your advice.
    Kevin, in my experience, as long as you aren't causing problems you should be fine. If approached, play dumb and ask how to get one.

    Through work. we actually did quite a bit of filming in NYC last year and didn't have one permit. This was in and aroun Central Park, and Times Square. The only one who gave us any trouble was a grounds keeper in Central park.

    Brian
    hi!

  5. #5
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Depends. If you try to shoot in midtown or the financial district in the middle of the day, or in the parks along the water from about the South Street Seaport down to Battery Park and up the West Side of Manhattan to about Chelsea or maybe midtown, you are likely to be confronted by the tripod police. If you try to set up a tripod on a busy sidewalk, you'll probably be asked to close it an move along--though you may be able to get that shot if you do it early in the morning, when the light is probably better anyway (depending on which way you need to be facing). If you're in one of the parks along the river, usually they will ask you if you are photographing for any commercial purpose, and as long as you're not, they'll usually leave you alone.

    If you're in Central Park or the outer boroughs or upper Manhattan or less public spots, the police usually have other things to worry about.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  6. #6
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    Thanks for your advice, Brian and David.

  7. #7
    jovo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    Yes, it is required, "The Professor"
    Hmmmmm....this seems to be more directed to commercial usage especially related to motion picture work, although from what I've seen of large scale fashion shoots, it would probably be required there too as van parking and sidewalk blocking equipment would certainly require making prior, and official arrangements. My sense is that this is similar to what the national parks require as well....their concern is with commercial photography. Nothing I read on the link mentioned tripods at all and, if taken too literally, would proscribe even handheld photography by tourists which is as common in NYC as gum on the sidewalk.

    That said, all of Prof. Goldfarb's suggestions are spot on. Stay out of the way and you'll probably have no problem at all.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  8. #8
    jd callow's Avatar
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    When I was last in NYC (this past fall), I was stopped by no less than 3 patrol cars on suspicion of photographing a bridge and or a subway station. They were probably holding the permit back incase there wasn't a bridge or subway station within camera shot.

    Meanwhile, I have been told by people in Swansea Wales, Detroit MI, Toronto Canada, Portland Or and a few other locations that slip my mind that I need a permit to shoot here, people or whatever my camera is pointed at. I generally ignored, ducked, or in what ever manner possible, avoided these individuals thinking they were nuts and that you don't need a permit.

    After telling this tale to The Professor he recommended I print myself up an international photo permit.

    *

  9. #9
    jovo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    After telling this tale to The Professor he recommended I print myself up an international photo permit.
    It would take some major cajones to do, but printing up an official looking document signed by G-D and telling whomever, with calm assurance and authority, that you belong there would probably get you past everyone except the lunatic fringe element in homeland security. I, for one, have cajones of very modest size and will NEVER test this theory ;-)
    John Voss

    My Blog

  10. #10
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    Meanwhile, I have been told by people in Swansea Wales, Detroit MI, Toronto Canada, Portland Or and a few other locations that slip my mind that I need a permit to shoot here...
    What a sad, paranoid society we are living in
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

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