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Movie, TV Filming In Bronx & Staten Island Is Paying Off

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The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) said efforts to bring more television and film crews to Staten Island and Bronx have paid off in a big way recently.

Bronx saw a 28% jump in productions between 2014 and 2015, according to Julie Menin, the office’s commissioner, who spoke to the City Council’s committee on technology Monday.

Committee chair James Vacca, who represents Bronx, said he hopes this expansion continues because the underappreciated boroughs deserve their crack at an industry that generates a $9 billion annual economic impact in New York City while employing over 130,000 New Yorkers.

“In a city with a richly diverse population, we would like the film industry to reach out more,” Vacca said.

Menin pointed to a few factors to account for the increase in interest.

— Investments in infrastructure for the industry outside the core filming areas in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens — especially the new Silvercup Studios North complex in South Bronx. Other studios are looking to set up shop in the outer boroughs including Broadway Stages, which is working out a plan to set up a new facility in the Charleston section of Staten Island.

— The fact that Bronx and Staten Island have neighborhoods that offer a suburban feel that can double for, say, the Washington, DC of “The Americans” (Bronx) and “The Blacklist” (Staten Island).

— The “Made in New York” digital location library, which provides filmmakers with free access photos, videos and information on New York locations. “A lot of times when you’re location scouting you’re not actually flying in and this helps the filmmakers,” she said.

There’s a consequence, of course, to all this activity: Interruptions in the day-to-day lives of local residents. Menin said the agency has redoubled efforts to alert community boards about filming in their areas, and the street closures that come with it, and they are adding more field representatives to sets to inspect parking and safety conditions.

There were 1,053,311 complaints related to filming last year, which was 176 fewer than in 2015, according to MOME.

Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli noted that restaurants and businesses have gladly donated their shops to shoots and residents have been excited to see their homes featured prominently on the big screen.

“I can’t walk through any corner of my street without tripping over the cast of ‘The Americans,’” he joked.

 

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Thomas Lockhart

was born June 8, 1953. Mr. Lockhart is a former Bronx resident from the Marble Hill section, and attended The Bronx High School of Science and Manhattan College. A former All-American basketball player at both institutions, he left for Europe in 1976 to pursue a professional career after a brief encounter with the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA. Continuing his education he actively plunged into corporate marketing communications with international companies like Philips, Alstom, Qiagen Instruments, KPMG, European Space Administration, ABN-Amro Bank and the Port of Rotterdam, while continuing to play ball and coach. Teaching English and advertising in Holland led to the setup of Ideas Unlimited, his own International Business Communications firm. Mr. Lockhart has lived and worked in various countries for the past 33 years, speaks German, French, Dutch and is currently learning Italian. Now residing near Zurich Switzerland, he has three children, Jarrett, 31 Chief of Staff with the Bronx City Council, 14th District, Maraya, 21 and Malik, 11. Tom is currently serving as Communications Manager and Asst. Operations Coordinator of the Marble Hill Reunion and Development Project.