Entertainment is a dirty business. That is what a group of Greenpointers that has often railed against the presence of film crews in its neighborhood is saying after a crew shooting a pilot for an historical HBO series dumped tons of dirt on sleepy Milton Street, then washed it down storm drains. The whole thing felt like an act of war, according to one neighbor.
“It was like being occupied by a foreign nation,” said neighbor Bill Rohan, adding that the film crew violated his disabled parking permit by towing his car to a nearby block. “My blood pressure was definitely up that day.”
The Wednesday shoot took over three blocks, removed all the street signs, and brought more than 100 crew members and a stable of horses to the area, residents said. The parting hose-down left the block a muddy mess, according to residents.
“They left a river of mud and now it is a dustbowl,” said film-shoot accountability activist Rolf Carle. “There is dirt everywhere.”
City spokesman Marybeth Ihle claims that what Greenpointers describe could not have happened because the Home Box Office workers covered the storm drains as they always do, but she said that the city is working to address the complaints.
The production team did not return calls for comment, but network employees did return to the area on Friday to spray down the dirt with pressure washers once again. The cable channel is keeping details of the test production under wraps but some locals fear what might happen if it decides to make the show into a series.
They recently did another shoot at the end of Manhattan Ave. that transformed the street into a pile of mud. (First World problem alert: it ruined a pair of my shoes.)
Others are worried that the shoots will contaminate the city’s sewers:
“There was a rain scene which created a river of mud…and then there was the cleanup,” said resident Rolf Carle, claiming that cleanup crews in trucks with street sweepers and high-pressure hoses worsened the chaos and sent waste into the block’s catch basins.
And his neighbor Tom Naklicki said the whole cleanup had been “idiotic” because “the idea was to power wash the street but the water goes somewhere and that somewhere is the catch basins.”
“There’s a good chance it’s going to clog the city sewer,” Naklicki said of the water, “and if that happens next time we have a rain the water will flood into people’s basements.”