Bad ‘Girls’! Home Box Office shoot leaves litter on G’point poles

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The Home Box Office show “Girls” is a bad guest, say Greenpoint residents who want the hit program’s crew to clean up after itself.

Soggy signs notifying neighbors of a late-April “Girls” shoot are still hanging from poles and a neighbor’s repeated calls to Lena Dunham collaborator Judd Apatow’s production company about the detritus were not returned, he said. The aggrieved Greenpointer dialed up the mayor’s office but operators told him to tidy up the mess himself, he said.

“There is no system for complaints against film companies within the city,” said India Street resident Rolf Carle. “It passes you off to a system that is for clients of the city, not complainan­ts.”

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which regulates movie and television productions, said it refers residents back to production companies because it believes that is the quickest way to address the problem.

“It’s done for efficiency’s sake,” said department spokeswoman Marybeth Ihle. “Most questions that a resident will have can be answered immediately by the production.”

The city is supposed to step in if the production company does not clean up its mess, Ihle said.

In this case, she said the city asked the production company to go back to Greenpoint and remove the signs. But the company never did and the city never checked to see if producers had followed through.

Another annoyed local said the only way media bigwigs will reconsider littering is if it hits their pocketbooks, but that the city will never implement fines because doing so would cut into its bottom line.

“The city should be giving them tickets, but it never will,” said Michael Hoffman. “The city is getting money from them and that is all they care about.”

A local pol agrees that the city needs to get tougher on entertainment industry types who use the borough as a backdrop.

“Film shoots are guests in our community and as guests they need to show respect to their host,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint), who has introduced legislation that would publicize where shoots are happening and when.

Levin allowed that he likes the show about wealthy young women finding their way in Brooklyn, but said that doesn’t let its creators off the hook.

“I am a fan of ‘Girls’ and believe it has brought positive exposure to the Greenpoint community, but like everyone else they need to clean up after themselves.”

Carle runs a Facebook page that documents the delinquency of film crews that shoot in Greenpoint and the “Girls” garbage is only the latest indignity, he said.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

susan from park slope says:
I don't consider this littering. What a weird thing to go nuts over.
June 5, 2014, 1:59 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Yes, this reminds one of the fake complaints by get a life NIMBYs about food deliveries to the new Whole Foods.

If this is all people have to complain about in NYC these days, we have run out of problems, and the golden age has arrived.
June 5, 2014, 9:04 am
Laura from Greenpoint says:
The money that the city gets from the film companies should, in the very least, in part go back to the neighborhoods that it inconveniences.
June 5, 2014, 9:08 am
A from Greenpoint says:
Maybe Steven Levin should also introduce legislation to get more trash cans in Greenpoint. As it is now you need to walk half way across the neighborhood to find a can.
June 5, 2014, 9:35 am
Keeps from Greenpoint says:
I don't think people understand that the city doesn't get any serious money from productions in this city.

I work in productions, and in fact NYC is one of the easiest and cheapest places to have your production.

A $300 production fee (not per day or per episode, it's $300 total for your production) gets you NYPD-TCD at no cost, rights to clear the streets for parking, production or picture, tow trucks to move cars that need to be cleared, etc. Mayor's office gets to brag about "jobs" created, and maybe the "Made in NY" logo you see at the end of credits - which isn't even required. The funnest part is this fee was only enacted 2-3 years ago. Before that, getting a permit and all the benefits was free from the Mayor's office of film.
June 5, 2014, 10:27 am
Keeps from Greenpoint says:
Here is the link for Mayor's office permit and the cost and what you get for that.

"The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting issues permits to productions filming on location in the City of New York and provides free police assistance, free parking privileges and access to most exterior locations free of charge."
June 5, 2014, 10:37 am
BG from Downtown says:
We have a lot of movie and TV production at the Transit Museum. Just be sure to make a note of the SITE MANAGER'S PHONE NUMBER when signs go up; my experience is (1) they do answer the phone and (2) they act, if needed, to fix something.
June 5, 2014, 10:58 am
Rolf Carle from Greenpoint says:
As the "complainant" mentioned in this article my frustration began after calling 311 to file a complaint which passed me on to The Mayors Office of film, nine phone calls and exactly one month later and still nothing has been done. read more about it on the Facebook Group: Film Complaint 11222
June 5, 2014, 11:10 am
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
IMO this was a perfectly reasonable complaint. If local businesses left up signs like this they'd be subject to sanitation fines Why shouldn't film and TV production companies be held to the same standards as other businesses
June 5, 2014, 2:57 pm
ty from pps says:
The neighbors could maybe ask their neighbors who are being paid thousands and thousands of dollars to use their house for filming... i.e., the reason the film crew is on that block/street/neighborhood.
June 5, 2014, 10:38 pm
Rolf from Greenpoint says:
To TY from PP, I agree a good neighbor should realize the impact they are causing when they allow their house to be used for a shoot but ultimately its the city that permits street use for the production company and its the city that is responsible that the law is followed, the problem is the "rules" governing film shoots are never enforced. Also by bypassing the 311 system, there is no record as to what the real impact (how many complaints have been made for example) Councilman Levin's proposed legislation which seems dead in the water would be a good first step to making the impact of film shoots transparent to the public.
June 6, 2014, 6:51 am
Rolf from Greenpoint says:
To Susan and Phantom, I realize there are bigger problems to solve in this city than messy lamp posts but to solve any problem we need a system that approaches the problem programatically regardless of which Agency is ultimately responsible. I thought this was what 311 was designed for. If you or I were to report a polluter and was told to contact the polluter directly wouldn't this raise red flags? Well... last fall I reported a film shoot that dumped three truck loads of dirt on the street claiming it was a "street prop", they then hosed down the dirt into the storm drains which is a clear violation of Federal Law and the Clean Water Act when I reported it I was told to contact the film crew directly. Susan would this qualify some one to "go nuts over"?
June 6, 2014, 7:27 am
Rolf from Greenpoint says:
To Keeps, Its ironic that the Mayors office under both Bloomberg and de Blasio (unsubstantially) claims the film industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. All I was asking in this case was for the PA's to do their job. Yet when I first made my complaint I was told by the mayor's office that, "the PA responsible for this shoot was on vacation". Would a 311 operator say the same?
June 6, 2014, 7:43 am
SP from Brooklyn says:
Five years ago Councilman Levin proposed legislation that would suspend alternate side parking within a finite radius of a film shoot to ease community parking concerns. When the proposal was in City Council Committee, DOT testified that since a Production Company was considered a "subcontractor to the city" it could not, for legal reasons, be given the authority to implement the legislation if it became law. The proposal died in committee . Giving ANY industry carte blanche to our city is a recipe for disaster and typifies what De Blasio campaigned against: A Tale of Two Cities.
June 6, 2014, 8:02 am
David from Manhattan says:
As mentioned above, if you place "man with van" signs up on lam posts the dept of sanitation will find you and ticket you. Film crews should remove their signs when done.
June 6, 2014, 8:32 am
Ditto from UWS says:
I had a move scheduled on the same day as Joseph Gordon Levitt's bike messenger movie (forget the name) took over our block. I called the set manager's phone number and they couldn't be any nicer. They even reserved 24' of parking so we could put our moving truck there.
June 6, 2014, 9:21 am
Rolf from Greenpoint says:
Re: Ditto, no one has been unpleasant in fact I feel for the PA's they are put in an impossible situation sometimes and are the fall guys for those that are making the big bucks. This is not about
any ones attitude, it's about an inefficient system that always benefits the production companies over the people of nyc.
June 6, 2014, 12:59 pm
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
Lena Dunham is a amorphous mess of humanity. Disgusting.
June 10, 2014, 11:55 am

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