Councilman Michael Nelson has strongly protested the decision of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to close streets and restrict parking in the Avenue M commercial district on the last shopping day before Yom Kippur- Monday September 24th from 9AM until 7PM. Nelson said that this decision imposes an unreasonable burden and shows disrespect for the entire community as they are busily involved in last minute shopping and other preparations for the major High Holyday on the Jewish calendar. This action will not only severely impact commercial activity but will also cause unprecedented gridlock and disruption of traffic as this neighborhood in recent years has become a magnet attracting shoppers from throughout the tri-state area especially at holiday time.
In addition to the lack of sensitivity in scheduling a major “film shoot” on this day Nelson stated that the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting has blatantly disregarded the Memo of Understanding which that was agreed upon. After the community became aware that the use of the former NBC Studio was to change; such that activity at the building would no longer be SELF CONTAINED and would need the surrounding perimeters to continue their business, which would seriously impact the surrounding areas. A Memorandum of Understanding was reached with the Mayor’s Office of Film and it was agreed upon that streets would not be closed and parking would only be restricted to the border immediately adjacent to the studio building. In violation of this understanding, the directive for September 24th provides for closing East 13th Street from Locust Street to Avenue M, East 14th Street from Avenue L to Locust Avenue and restricting parking on both sides of those blocks as well as on Locust Street from East 13th Street to East 14th Street and Chestnut Street from East 14th Street to East 17th Street.
Councilman Nelson insists that it is essential that the date for this filming be postponed, that a new date be chosen which is sensitive to the community and that there is full compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding with regard to all traffic and parking issues.