Are you or someone you know interested in photography or videography? Before they or yourself break out that still or video camera for your exploration of the city, you both should know about some camera restrictions in New York.
In general, photography is unlikely to pose any legal dilemmas but the utmost care should be taken before photographing individuals (with or without celebrity status) or public and private property (ie. New York’s famous landmarks) where permission has not been given to you due to the United States Video Voyeurism Prevention Act and New York’s privacy laws.
Since your camera may may be a professional one and play an important part in to your career, you do not want to have your equipments seized when you may require it for an upcoming project (such as a wedding or party) and be sued by your client(s) as you could not perform as you stated in your contract. Keep in mind that the venue that you are attending may capture still or moving images of your visit as it may be mandatory by the State of New York due to passed laws.
This guide is created to protect patrons from getting turned away from a venue, have their equipments seized by Security and Employees or stolen from vehicles with out-of-the-area license plates by thieves who knows that the venues do not allow cameras and the driver would have these tucked away in the trunk.
Type of Restrictions in New York.
01. No Cameras – No camera (photo or video) of any kind are permitted.
02. No Camera Devices– Devices (Camera Phones) with internal cameras that broadcast, records still and/or moving images are not allowed.
03. No Flash – The use of flash is restricted.
04. No Lens – The use of telephoto or zoom lenses are restricted.
05. No Lights – The use of external or internal lights are restricted.
06. No Tripods – The use of a tripod is restricted.
07. No Video – The use of cameras that records video are restricted
08. No Audio – The use of cameras that records sound are restricted.
09. No Broadcasting – The use of cameras that transmit images and/or audio to another location or to a recording or viewing device or is restricted.
10. No Extenders – The use of extend devices is restricted.
11. Trademark Identification – The uses of audio or video capture equipment are allowed but media must be identified as belonging to the property owner(s).
Landmarks in New York.
American Museum of Natural History
While visiting the AMNH, please be aware that photography is not allowed in the Space Theater, the LeFrak IMAX Theater, or in certain special exhibitions, as posted. In permitted areas, photography for personal use is allowed with handheld cameras (except where noted) and with available light or electronic flash attachments. While using your equipment, tripods and lights may not be used. After capturing your material, you may not create reproductions or provide for sale the photographed material without permission of the AMNH. During inclement weather, you can check your umbrella, raincoat and protective camera gear for US$2.00 per person in their coat check area.
Astor Place Theatre
The Astor Place Theater does not allow any recording devices inside the theatre. This includes devices that capture still, video and audio.
At The Beacon Theatre, Video cameras/recorders are strictly prohibited and this policy will be strictly enforced. For family events, 35mm and digital cameras will be permitted, however, you must refrain from taking pictures during the performance as it is distracting not only to the performers, but your fellow guest as well.
The Booth Theater does not allow any recording devices inside the theatre. This includes devices that capture still, video and audio.
Non-commercial photography for personal use is allowed at the The Bronx Zoo but the use of tripods are restricted in several exhibits and at the discretion of zoo staff. Commercial photography and filming requests must go through the Communications Department. Please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, during your visit, you may be photographed by a WCS employee or authorized guest. Your admission at the Bronx Zoo serves as permission for use of your image by these parties.
At Central Park, a permit is required if you are planning on taking photos in the Conservatory Garden or other locations for a wedding. Pleae keep in mind that tripods are restricted in certain areas (East Green, Great Lawn Area, Hernshead, North Meadow, North Woods Area, The Ramble, Sheep Meadow and Strawberry Fields) of Central Park so it maybe a good idea to leave your tripod at home, your hotel or locker storage to avoid problems with the staff and central Park law enforcement by accidentally using it those restricted areas.
At Citi Field/Mets Stadium, small still film or still digital cameras are permitted but commercial grade audio, video and photographic equipment is not permitted due to security considerations.
At a New York courthouse, the use of a still or video cameras and camera devices such as a camera phone are not permitted. Those with any of these recording devices may be required to leave them with court security for the time of their stay.
The Electric Zoo does not allow any professional cameras (including GoPro’s, SLR/DSLR or featuring detachable lenses), focused-light & recording devices (those that capture still, video and audio) along with tripods and these banned items will be confiscated by Security.
The National Park Society permits the use of still and video camera at Ellis Island, however, certain size backpacks, suitcases and carry-on luggage that you may try to use to protect your camera equipment will not be allowed. To be accepted, the item should fit inside a milk crate. Also, the use of a tri-pod may be used if hand held photography is not possible or practical and may not be that of the rolling type, nor exceed three (3) feet at its widest point. When using the tri-pods, please note that they are not permitted to be used inside the Ellis Island Museum, or anywhere its use could impact public safety. If you are considering using a tripod, please be aware that you will be required to fill out a Filming Permit and depending upon the nature and use of filming, a non-refundable Film Permit Fee of US$25.00 may be applied in the processing.
The Gershwin Theatre does not allow any recording devices inside the theatre. This includes devices that capture still, video and audio.
The Gramercy Theatre permits the use of personal cameras that does not include flash, video capture and removable lens. Flash photography from personal and professional cameras, video recording and personal and professional cameras featuring removable lens are not permitted without Gramercy Theater’s approval.
The Hammerstein Ballroom does not allow (still or video) cameras or any (audio or video) recording equipment. If you are discovered by security, you will be “asked to leave” but will not have an option to comply or refuse since they a polietly ordering you leave the premises.
The Holland Tunnel has “camera use prohibited” signs posted at the exterior leading to the tunnel. Although the signs are there, drivers will still capture images when they use the tunnel.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, all visitors are allowed to use their hand-held still camera and flash to take pictures for personal use only. Visitors are not allowed the use of video cameras or professional photographic equipment tripods, lights and other such equipment without prior written approval from Intrepid Museum Foundation. Those who are interested in using such equipment should contact the Public Affairs department of the Museum for approval.
John T. Mather Memorial Hospital
At the John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, the use of any camera, audio or video recording is prohibited as with most hospitals in the United States. This protects the privacy of the patients in the hospital and also prevents a recording of any alleged malpractice.
The National Park Society permits the use of still and video camera at Liberty Island, however, certain size backpacks, suitcases and carry-on luggage that you may try to use to protect your camera equipment will not be allowed. To be accepted, the item should fit inside a milk crate. Also, the use of a tri-pod may be used if hand held photography is not possible or practical and may not be that of the rolling type, nor exceed three (3) feet at its widest point. When using the tri-pods, please note that they are not permitted to be used inside the Statue of Liberty, in any pedestal or monument area, or anywhere its use could impact public safety. If you are considering using a tripod, please be aware that you will be required to fill out a Filming Permit and depending upon the nature and use of filming, a non-refundable Film Permit Fee of US$25.00 may be applied in the processing.
Madame Tussauds encourages and permits cameras use in all public areas of Madame Tussauds except for SCREAM. If you are a film crew or member of the press and need access to Madame Tussauds, you should contact their press office for further information.
Madison Square Garden
At Madison Square Garden (MSG), video cameras, monopods, tripods, audio recording devices and cameras with telephoto or zoom lenses are not permitted inside Madison Square Garden at any time. This policy will be strictly enforced. You may bring in a disposable or 35mm camera (with no zoom or telephoto lens), however, for some events, cameras of any type and/or flash photography may be prohibited so be sure to contact MSG ahead of time.
The Majestic Theatre does not allow (audio or video) recording devices in the theatre along with still cameras.
The Marquis Theater does not allow any recording devices inside the theatre. This includes devices that capture still, video and audio.
The MetLife building is considered a “sensitive building” so if you are trying to take photos, you may be approached by security and asked not to do so.
MetLife Stadium (New Jersey)
The Metlife Stadium (aka The New Meadowlands Stadium) does not permit the use of cameras that capture video or the use of cameras that capture still or video which features a 200mm or greater zoom lens.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Still cameras are allowed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art but movie/video cameras are prohibited. The use of flash on still cameras are not permitted and you are prohibited from taking photos of private collections on your visit. Why no flash? Some paintings can be slowly destroyed by constant flash photography. Flash from a camera is similar to leaving the artwork out in the sun. Also, it is hard to appreciate the art in any kind of serenity with constant flashing every few seconds. To use an tripod on your visit, you should request a permit in the Great Hall from the Information Desk for use on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
While in New York utilizing the transportation system, please note that photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted(under MTA’s Rule of Conduct 1050.9 (c)) except that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. If you are a member of the press and is holding a valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department, you are authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment.
At MySportsClub, the use of cell phones in the cardiovascular and strength training areas, the group exercise studios, and the locker rooms is strictly prohibited. (Cameras and other image capturing devices are strictly prohibited in all areas of the facility.) However, you are welcome to use cell phones in their entrance and lobby areas.
Are you able you take pictures at the Nokia Theatre? Well, this depends on the artist(s) that are appearing. It’s best to contact (via e-mail) guest services on the day of the show for further information. Since all your bags must be checked in one of their three (3) coat rooms (for US$3.00 or more) upon entering, you need to know before your arrival to avoid the storage fees and waiting in line when the performance is over.
NY Kidz Fitness Club
At NY Kidz, the use of cell phones in the cardiovascular and strength training areas, the group exercise studios, and the locker rooms is strictly prohibited. (Cameras and other image capturing devices are strictly prohibited in all areas of the facility.) However, you are welcome to use cell phones in their entrance and lobby areas.
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library requires a “Letter of Intent” for all filming and photography and these requests must be submitted in writing at least two (2) to three (3) weeks prior to filming. Other restrictions are in place such as permits, contracts and insurance.
Port Authority Bus Terminal
At the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT), there are over three dozen bus companies and they (ie. Greyhound) will prohibit photography, video or audio recording of personnel, equipment (such as their buses) or procedures. While inside these vehicles, your audio, video and camera equipment should be stored with other carry-ons when not in use for your safety and the safety of the other passengers as required in their policies.
Radio City Music Hall
At Radio City Music Hall, Video cameras/recorders are strictly prohibited and this policy will be strictly enforced. For the Christmas Spectacular and other family events, 35mm and digital cameras will be permitted, however, you must refrain from taking pictures during the performance as it is distracting not only to the performers, but your fellow guest as well.
The use of tripods are not permitted at Rockefeller Center and Rockefeller Center possesses trademark rights with respect to certain images commonly associated with Rockefeller Center (e.g., the Christmas Tree, Atlas, Prometheus) and these images may not be used without the express consent of either RCPI Landmark Properties, L.L.C., or Tishman Speyer Properties, and must also be properly identified as trademarked property.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center
The Shea’s Performing Arts Center does not allow any recording devices inside the theatre. This includes devices that capture still, video and audio. Keep this in mind as there is limited parking available for your vehicle which will keep your devices while you are inside.
St James Theater
The St James Theater does not allow any recording devices inside the theatre. This includes devices that capture still, video and audio.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral does not allow the use of flashes on still cameras or any tripods on the interior of the cathedral. While there, you may feel the presence of the cathedral’s security watching you to make sure that you follow the rulws. Also, the use of mobile telephones for texting, use of social media, to photograph peers or to record any part of a Mass, are forbidden.
The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
As the name implies, the Javits is a Convention Center, therefore, still and video cameras plus the use of ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods, will depend on the rules of the events. The NY International Auto Show allows both still and video cameras for the show.
The Schwartz Center
At the Schwartz Center, the use of cameras and/or all recording devices (including camera phones) is strictly prohibited by Actor’s Equity Association and the Section 31:01 of the New York State Arts and Cultural Affairs Law. If discovered with unauthorized recording devices, it will be confiscated by the management and you will face ejection from the venue.
At Terminal 5, you may or may not be able to bring your non-professional camera as it is usually determined on the day of show as the photo policy of the artists who appears at Terminal 5 varies. It is best to call 1-212-582-6600 on the day of the show to find out if you may bring it.
The Dakota has been showed on still and motion picture but the building does not allow filming on the interior of the building but allows it on the exterior. Be aware that access to the Dakota is restricted and a doorman will prevent anyone from going inside The Dakota without a previous appointment.
The Empire State Building
Cameras that capture still, moving images and audio are allowed at The Empire State Building but the use of all pods/stands (mono-pods, bi-pods and tri-pods) are restricted. Please keep this in mind when planning you visit to The Empire State Building.
The Filmore New York
At the Filmore New York, located at Irving Plaza, point and shoot digital cameras are allowed when approved by the artist performing. Any cameras with removable lenses and/or professional cameras (including digital SLR) must be checked at coat check unless you are issued a photo pass. Please note that the photo passes are not issued by The Fillmore NY located at Irving Plaza but rather through the band/label/management so they should be contacted well in advance before the performance.
United Nations Headquarters
When visiting the United Nations Headquarters, no camera equipment is permitted in the Delegates North Lounge and all camera crews accessing the premises with equipment must use the Visitors Entrance between 08:00 (8:00AM) and 19:00 (7:00PM) hours daily.
All other times, they may enter through the 42nd Street Entrance. TV camera crews must remain on the upper level of the stakeout area at all times when the Security Council is in session, unless escorted by MALU.
The lower level is reserved for UNTV, print/broadcast media and still photographers. However, media will have unescorted access to the extended area of the Security Council stakeout, on the North side of the North steps. [This is to be implemented provisionally on a trial basis and its sustainability reviewed by the Standing Committee.]
Photo ops are limited to one minute maximum and if there is a large presence of visual media present, they will be taken in two batches: first, the photographers, to be followed by the TV camera crew, or vice versa. MALU personnel will always be present at the photo ops. No questions are permitted during these photo ops.
While you are at Yankee Stadium watching a game and grabbing a hotdog, you should know that single-frame flash photography is permitted, however, tripods, extended length zoom lenses, other professional camera equipment, movie cameras and any other video or audio recording equipment are not permitted in Yankee Stadium. Also, you are not permitted to transmit or aid in transmitting any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information about any games.
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