If you haven’t seen the posted notice (see below), West 45th Street will be closed this Saturday and maybe Sunday, July 7th and 8th. The rigging company tells us they expect the lifting of the “AT&T Cabinet” to the roof of The Camelot (301 W. 45th St.) will take no more than 4-5 hours on Saturday morning. The closure notice extends to Sunday just in case they need the extra time. They tell us that any emergency vehicles will be able to get through.
Please be advised that on July 7-8, 2012, from 8 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, and from 9 AM to 6 PM on Sunday, West 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues will be closed to vehicular traffic due to a crane operation at 301 West 45th St. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
The mess at the Hirschfeld Theater continues. Many block residents responded to our last newsletter with comments on the impact of the nightly crowds at the Hirschfeld Theater (including video).See here for selected comments from block residents.And see here for stories from those waiting in line.
The video below was sent to us by a 45th Street resident forced to walk in the street around the crowds waiting for How to Succeed in Business star Nick Jonas to come out to sign autographs. This was at 6:30 PM, more then four hours before the show lets out. For anyone walking on the south side of 45th Street, they risk being hit by speeding vehicles. There are no police. The theater has not set aside a lane for pedestrians. There are no protections. We’ve been told of two occasions where block residents have been clipped by cars or taxis. And the situation is far worse after 10:30 PM when the crowds swell to many hundreds pushing and shoving fans.
For the last year the Broadway show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying has made life increasingly difficult for those who live on West 45th Street. While we’ve always had shows at the Al Hirschfeld (formerly Martin Beck) Theater, this production is different as the star power creates traffic jams, congestion and unrelenting noise by hoards of teenagers six nights a week. The owners of the theater — Jujamcyn — seem to be doing little, if anything, to control the crowds.
Residents are forced to put up with the noise until after midnight. Early in the morning the line sometimes stretches halfway down the block. Tourist hang off our trees, some of which have recently been replaced and are still delicate. They step into the tree pits damaging the soil.
Even when the police show up — which is not all the time — they seem determined to protect the speeding cars rather than pedestrians who are forced to walk in the street or cross the street to the north side of the road as the sidewalk is completely blocked. Even on the north side of the street, passers-by find it difficult to get by. There haven’t been serious accidents yet, but the luck may end. While the NYPD seems capable of controlling millions on New Years Eve, of thousands at political protests, they need to get serious about this situation.
Please send us your thoughts on this situation to firstname.lastname@example.org. How has this daily ritual affected your life on the block?
We continue to monitor Film Shoots on the block and their impact. Several recent film shoots occurred without the mandatory 48-hour notice being posted on lamp posts. Not only is the notice required by law, but it gives us an opportunity to contact the film company and ask them to follow our “good neighbor” practices. The Mayor’s Office of Film Theater and Television also has its own Code of Conduct for film companies.
As one example, there’s no need for the film trucks to wake up sleeping residents by running their noisy generators too early. In another case, the film company and police prevented UPS from delivering needed heart medicine to a block resident. While some shoots are well behaved, we’ve had our share of film companies that disrespect the block and its residents.
We’ve also looked at the number of shoots on 45th Street compared to other local blocks. While we can’t conclude definitively, we are seeing a pattern where our block is suffering more than its fair share of disruptive film shoots. Despite our requests, the Mayor’s Office of FTB is not being forthcoming with more accurate data.
While one shoot in itself may not be overbearing, the number of shoots are. In addition to the seeming disproportionate number of shoots on this block, the adverse impact must be seen in the context of all other problems we experience, such as the out-of-control crowds at the Al Hirschfeld Theater, the constant Broadway and double-decker buses, pedicabs, tourists blocking the sidewalks, people blocking sidewalks in front of restaurants with sidewalk cafes and on, and on, and on.
The impact is cumulative. Many of us on this block work in film or in the theater. We recognize the need for entertainment production in this city, but there’s too much of a good thing, and it’s not being effectively regulated.
Now, if you caught Law & Order SVU last week, you would have seen the detectives catch the bad guy in a chase across the rooftop of the Whitby (325). Click each photo for full-size view.
Down towards Ninth Avenue, in the Film Center, the space formerly occupied by Piece of Chicken is coming alive with workers preparing for its new occupant, Schmackary’s, which sells cookies. What remains to be seen is if they will have an inside selling counter or seating room. The problem with Piece of Chicken was the lack of any inside space, allowing crowds to loiter, blocking the sidewalk, leaving trash and litter (left).
At the Camelot (301 W 45) the Chicken Bar — formerly Ranch 1 Chicken — is undergoing renovations. Store management told us it won’t look like the old fast food place. Rather they are going for a more upscale look. Of course that might mean more touristy and more expensive. They did say they would not be putting out the wooden chicken and ATM machine that have blocked the sidewalk for years.