Having Hollywood film their movies and TV shows in the neighborhood is a good thing, right? We are told that it is a complement. It is good for the city, good for the economy, just plain good news all around.
Until they arrive. Then comes the invasion of our streets and the strains on daily life when they take away parking spaces, block traffic, throw their garbage around, shine their lights until well after a normal bedtime and run their generators through the night.
When noted in the Herald last week that Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” was going to be taping at Davide Restaurant on Commercial St., most residents envisioned a small crew filming over a weekend. Instead, an entire 4-block area has been blanketed with massive tractor-trailers, tents and equipment on North Street, Clark Street and Commercial Street for an entire week (so far). They also are taking up much of a private parking lot which regularly fills up.
According to Ryan Kenny, Chair of the neighborhood council’s Parking Committee, “Several residents have brought to my attention the fact that “Kitchen Nightmares” has been filming in the neighborhood since December 3rd. As a result there are a significant number of fewer parking spots available to residents particularly on Commercial Street, North Street, and Clark Street. I am curious as to why the filming crew for Kitchen Nightmares didn’t have to present this project to NEWNC or NEWRA and/or offer to compensate North End residents for the parking spots that have been taking up since December 3rd.”
Unlike “The Town” and “What’s Your Number?” (no picnics either) this TV production offers no local jobs, negligible economic benefit and provided no mitigation to the community. The financial benefits flow directly to Fox-TV and one restaurant owner.
Kitchen Nightmares took away about 15 parking spaces. In addition, there were several incidents of blocked driveways and sidewalks causing significant disruption.
The crew is using water from a Commercial St. fire hydrant which is leaking all over the place. In this weather, the sidewalk turned to ice with several reports of slip and falls. (After a complaint, they finally threw some salt on it.) The situation seems to have caused some permanent damage to the well-used pathway.
With food boxes spewed out over Clark and Commercial Streets, trash is blowing everywhere in the wind. In the morning, there is debris that has “traveled” across Commercial Street into the gutters.
Despite past promises from the City’s Office of Special Events, this production did not even bother notifying the neighborhood groups. This is the office that gives the permit and is supposed to regulate these activities. As we have seen, they tend to side with the producers more than the residents.
At this point, it’s too late. They are here. We live with it. We hope they leave soon.
The lead actor in the “The Town” apologized for the disruption and provided significant mitigation (though many think not enough) to the community. “What’s Your Number?” donated to several local charities and adjusted their plan to minimize disruption. Both appeared before the neighborhood with their plan before filming.
What did Kitchen Nightmares do? As you can see below, the notice offers nothing and was posted just four days before production (and many residents say they never received it).
They will be gone soon. That’s all you can say. All will be forgotten until the next Hollywood invasion.