It has long been believed, by many filmmakers and photographers, that shooting in the iconic New York City subway system is against the law and a great way to get the unwanted attention of transit cops. In a post 9/11 city, this belief is generally accepted as untested fact. Why should you expect to be allowed to freely capture images in such a potentially sensitive environment?
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has tried at least twice in the past few years to institute a ban on photography and filming for safety reason. But public outcry has so far succeeded in stopping them in their tracks.
And so, buried in the Restricted areas and activities section of the MTA’s the rules of conduct is Section 1050.9 C.
Why not print out a copy and take it along on your next low-budget, hand-held, unlit shoot?
“Section 1050.9 C
Photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted except that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. Members of the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department are hereby authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment. All photographic activity must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Part.”
And for anyone interested in making a big budget Hollywood movie in the New York Subway – heres a great how-to article from the MTA:
Meanwhile London’s metro system, considered by many to be almost as scenic as New York’s, requires permits for all filming and photography: