Big Apple, Small Mind: Or Why NYC Requires Permit and Insurance for Photographers Who Shoot in Public

Times Square photo

There are new rules being cooked up at the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting that would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.

And if there are five or more of you who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, you better ask the mayor’s office first, or the police will arrest you.

But the New York Civil Liberties Union is opposing the plan, warning the rules could pave the way for selective and discriminatory enforcement by police.

A lot of innocents could be affected by these rules – tourists and families on vacation in the capital of the world, casual photographers and YouTube wannabes. People can no longer just pop out their cameras and take pictures of Times Square, Empire State, Rockefeller Center or Ground Zero.

Now there’s a thought; maybe the mayor wants to thwart terrorists who do reconnaissance work? But the bad guys can do that surreptitiously with hidden cameras in under 10 minutes.

Maybe the mayor does not want Michael Moore to shoot in New York?


Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.