Call it Hollywood fatigue.
The organization, representing dozens of small businesses, plans on sending a letter to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to request a moratorium on filming in commercial areas like Bell Boulevard, according to the organization’s executive director, Lyle Sclair.
“Filming in Bayside is a balancing act, but too often it’s swayed away from us,” Sclair said. “There’s a much better way to work together.”
Citing a marked loss of business because of frequent filming activity in the area, Sclair said that small businesses need more representation in government.
The FX-produced show “The Americans” used Bayside to film several scenes in January. During filming, Harry Rutgers’ jewelry business was penned in on 41st Avenue and Bell Boulevard.
“We might as well be closed when the film crews are here,” said Rutgers, who is the owner of Bell Family Jewelers. “The whole business district shuts down and everybody suffers while one [group] benefits.”
Rutgers cited many of the same problems that Sclair will bring up to the city. The vehicles used to transport the film crews and equipment are big and bulky, and these vehicles take up all the parking spots on Bell Boulevard that would be used by potential customers.
Rutgers said that another problem is that the crews don’t spend any money in the area because they come with their own food and services.
“They don’t spend a nickel on Bell,” Rutgers said. “I never heard anyone say they benefited from the film crews.”
Rutgers suggested that the trucks and trailers used by the film industry should park away from Bell Boulevard so they don’t take up parking. He also said that if the crews spent money in the area, business owners would be more willing to tolerate the film industry.
Sclair plans on making all of these suggestions when he sends the letter to the Mayor’s office. He is also urging the City Council to pass oversight bills.
Councilman Paul Vallone is signing the letter, according to his spokesman.
“I firmly support the Bayside Village BID’s request for a moratorium on filming on Bell Boulevard and the surrounding avenues, as the area is rapidly becoming a filming hot spot,” he said. “Our residents and small business owners should not have to bear the burdens that come with excessive filming, especially in an area that already has very limited parking space availability. It’s unfair for our small businesses to suffer these consequences.”
Film crews park trailers and trucks in front of businesses and take up many parking spots, causing the merchants to lose money, according to Sclair. The large vehicles also cause people to think that businesses are closed.
Bayside is frequently used for movie and television shoots, reflecting the city’s initiative to make New York City a filming center.
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment but, according to the city-run “Made in NY” site, the city “looks to support film and television productions of all shapes and sizes, and we look to make each and every one of those projects a clear, seamless, and enjoyable production experience.”
In the city’s haste to make the five boroughs film-friendly, it’s alienated small businesses, Sclair said.
“It seems like the city is saying, ‘We’re choosing the film industry over mom-and-pop businesses,” he said.