Tax Breaks to Bring More Filming to Dumbo

Dumbo has changed so much since its Scent of a Woman (1992) filming when it was (more or less) free to block out several streets for the Ferrari scene. Dumbo has always been an attractive location for filming due to its Manhattan views, dramatic structures, and former industrial buildings. There are a number of factors that bring more movies and TV show filmings to Dumbo (and NYC in general) recently. Marketing and tax incentives are two of the biggest reasons for more film and TV crews to NYC. NY State tripled its tax incentive — to 30% to compete against incentives by other states and cities such as L.A., Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Toronto. Production companies that make movies in NYC will benefit from a combined state and city tax incentive of 35%. Any movie filmed in NY State receives a 30% tax break. On top of that, if you shoot in the city, there’s an extra 5% on any ‘below the line costs’, which include any production costs, except for the talent. 75% of the film or the TV show must be produced in NYC to ensure the production work is done in NYC’s soundstages. Before, movies based in NYC may have done production work on soundstages in Toronto or California, after filming for one or two days in NYC, which caused traffic and business interruptions without added benefit to the economy of NYC. These tax incentives have been very successful and while it is great for publicity, is not always great for local residents who may not see any benefit.

In Dumbo, the Dumbo Neighborhood Association‘s film liaison ‘intervenes with commercial film producers to minimize the disruption of neighborhood lifestyle and traffic.’

We checked in with the DNA who noted:

The DNA’s film liaison recently spoke to Dean McCann of the mayor’s office (MOFTB). She was informed that the city has changed the tax incentive structure for filming here. So, apparently a lot of production will be moving here from LA and that Brooklyn in particular would be hardest hit, especially DUMBO. McCann said the intensity would last five years.

One action the DNA will be taking is requesting that the Department of Transportation (DOT) increase street parking for neighborhood residents. The DNA is actively looking for neighbors interested in working as film liaisons with crews that set up in Dumbo, as well as people who want to work on the issue of helping get more street parking from DOT. (If you’re interested and concerned, please email Marcia at

Looking back at Scent of a Woman video clip above, I can’t imagine this type of filming occurring now, as Dumbo isn’t as desolate (no cars, people, retail businesses), but we will have more film crews, and while we more than welcome more celebrities to the area and filming is good for Dumbo publicity, we can work as a community to work better with crews to coexist.

{Lights, Camera, Tax Credit, 05Jun2008, NY Times}
{Fatter tax break, weaker dollar stir flurry of flicks in New York City, 18May2008, Daily News}
{With an Eye on Connecticut, Filmmakers Get a Tax Break in New York, 11Apr2008, NY Times}
{Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting,}

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