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Did a Film Company Post Fake 'No Parking' Signs in Astoria?

One of the realities of living in a city the size of New York is that you are bound to encounter a television or film crew shooting scenes on a public street sooner or later. Sometimes this can prove to be a real thrill and provide a much-appreciated look at life behind-the-scenes. Other times it can prove to be a real nightmare, tying up traffic and temporarily eliminating entire blocks of valuable parking spots.

Interestingly, just such a scenario played out earlier this month along a congested span of 31st Street in Astoria, where a crew was set to film scenes for "Orange is the New Black," a comedy series produced by Lionsgate and Netflix.

Here, however, the issue wasn't that the crew was tying up parking spots, but rather whether they hung fake "no parking" signs along the block where they would be filming.

According to reports, the crew secured a city permit to film on a designated block of 31st Street from 10 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3 to 12 p.m. the next day. However, on the morning before the shoot, signs announcing that the area was closed for road repair from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and declaring it a "Tow Away Zone" were posted.

This sudden appearance of the signs coupled with the complete absence of any actual roadwork led some, including City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), to theorize that the production company was behind the bogus signs.

"There's no doubt in my mind that the signs belong to them," said Vallone, whose office is located on the 31st Street. "We have never seen these signs in the area and one day before filming this happens?"

For their part, the production company is claiming that they had nothing to do with the signs and the traffic backups they caused.

"Those are not our signs," said an employee of the production office. "We made sure to get the traffic flow going in and out all day and we are not filming long. I don't see why a Council member would be that aggressive about something that is helping the community. We're putting people to work."

While the mystery of the fake parking signs may never be solved, Astoria motorists are certainly glad to see the curtains closed on this entire affair.

Stay tuned for updates our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation or speeding ticket, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York City's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The New York Daily News, "Flap over bogus 'no parking' signs in Astoria," Henrick Karoliszyn, Oct. 3, 2012