New York is experiencing a new renaissance in film and TV production in the five boroughs, largely prompted by an influx of original scripted television series set and shot in the city.
Experts expect the growth to continue in 2016 and the coming years, fueled by a confluence of factors that have made the city an increasingly desirable location for productions big and small.
“The reason we see a real explosion in the growth in New York City is just all of the things that New York City has to offer a production,” said Luis Castro, the acting commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
In 2015, 336 movies were filmed in New York City, compared to 242 in 2014, with 46 episodic shows shot here compared to 29 in 2014, according to a report by The Boston Consulting Group that was released in October 2015. In 2014, the city took in a record $8.7 billion from the film and TV production industry, the report said.
The state offers a tax credit of up to $420 million per year for New York-based productions, extended in 2013. A report by Empire State Development found the production and post-production credits alone to be responsible for more than 60,000 total jobs, $3.3 billion in earnings and some $9.8 billion in spending throughout the state in the years 2013 and 2014.
The increasing prominence of scripted television, currently in the midst of what most experts consider a golden age, and the significant presence of relatively new forces in original programming such as Netflix (“Jessica Jones,” among others) and Amazon.com (“Mozart in the Jungle”), have greatly expanded the base of productions looking at the Big Apple.
“The fact that (the industry) has moved from film and entertainment to scripted television has in my mind worked in New York’s favor,” said Sushmita Banerjee, the principal of BCG and one of the authors of the report. “The desire of location is something that New York provides and that is a big differentiator.”
Lower Manhattan was one of the most filmed areas of New York City last year, according to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The courthouses of lower Manhattan remain filled thanks to a range of crime dramas, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Blue Bloods.”
Coney Island, Fort Totten, the Bronx County Courthouse and Snug Harbor were also among some of the most filmed locations in New York City last year.
“We get a lot of different looks and locals in New York, whether we’re shooting on the Upper East Side, or downtown or in Brooklyn. Or, if you go out to Far Rockaway or Staten Island, New York gives you a lot of variety,” said John Stephens, the executive producer of “Gotham.” “You get incredible production value here.”
Some everyday New Yorkers might not be as thrilled with the production boom as industry folks. A bill currently in the City Council would require monthly reports on film shoots while recent years have seen moratoriums issued in such popular filming areas as Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Long Island City.
But the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment expects production to continue at a rapid clip in 2016 and beyond.
“We’re really continuing to do what we’ve done and that’s to support and promote and be a resource for the industry,” Castro said. “Things are looking good. Things are definitely looking good for this year.”
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment compiled a list of the locations in New York City that hosted the most amount of TV and film productions in 2015. These are some of the programs shot in these nine spots.