Excellent advice Scott.
Plus…cant they harass you for a permit if you are wielding a tripod? ? ?
There's a rule about tripods in New York - I forget exactly where it's posted but google it and you'll find it. The gist of it is that no permit is needed if it is just you and your tripod. If you are doing a commercial shoot that requires a crew (I think the minimum is three, but double-check), then you will need one. The permits are easy to obtain - I think you download a form from the city website, fill it out and fax it back to the proper office, and they'll send you back a permit (usually within 24 hours of them getting your request). I'd be surprised if there was no exception clause that would allow policemen to request you to move if you're set up somewhere that would block pedestrian traffic and/or create a hazardous situation if you don't have a permit. I know the permit question has been discussed here before and also on Large Format Info, so search both sites for the specifics.