Today the Mayor's office released the new and updated guidelines for what kind of film and photography work requires permitting when shooting on public property in New York City. What is most important about this new set of guidelines is that it is a step in the right direction in establishing a balanced perspective on shooting in public everywhere. The guidelines not only specify what actions require a permit, but they also specify what kind of photography and film work do not require one. Almost anyone who has spent a significant amount of time shooting in public in New York has encountered either police officers or private citizens who treat photographers as threats to national security.
This set of rules is the second draft. The first set proposed by the Mayor's office two years ago, if read literally, would have placed restrictions on almost every aspect of picture making in public, right down to the tourists in Times Square. That would have been disastrous, given the paranoia already out there. This set, by specifying what does not require permitting, clarifies the legitimacy of public photography and takes a step back from the aura of danger that has been applied to it. You can read a synopsis of the new policies and download the entire document here.