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Thread: Security at JFK still doesn't get it.....

  1. #1
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    Security at JFK still doesn't get it.....

    Myself and Mark were enjoying a cold, yet beautiful morning atop of the T5 garage at JFK on Saturday. We had been on the garage for a little less than an hour and had gotten the birds we had gone up there to get. We had already seen security pass by us once and just drive off about 20 mins earlier. No biggie. We were standing beside Mark's vehicle talking and pointing out various things in the distance (i believe we were talking about locations off airport) when security made a second pass. The security vehicle passed us as were talking (cameras were in Mark's vehicle) and stopped and honked the horn (good 2-3 second honk) at us. We continued to talk since we wouldn't think for a second the security officer would be trying to get our attention in that fashion. As we continued to talk for about 15 more seconds, they backed up and rolled down their window.

    The guard was a female and she asked us, "you're not taking pictures, are you?" With no cameras in our hands me and Mark looked at each other and then at her and said "no, we're just up here talking and hanging out". She proceeded to say that taking photos was against policy and that the security has it in their contract with PA to look out for people taking photos. She then proceeded to tell us that we cannot be hanging out on the roof of the parking garage talking and "surveying the airport". She said that she observed one of us (pointing to Mark) pointing to various things around the property.

    She informed us that she could call PA and that it would turn into a problem. She never came out and said we had to leave however, since she more than likely knew that she was in the wrong and had no leg to stand on. Regardless, me and Mark had gotten what we wanted, and just decided instead of being hasseled again, to just head to Costco. Never did we get snotty or raise our voices to her, or let it get out of hand.

    Mark, maybe you can remember a few of the details better than I since you were doing most of the interaction with her.
    Steve Furst

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Oh yeah .... I was using my hands to point out things to Steve and that appeared to a concern of some sort for her. She kind of thought (an assumption on my part) that Steve and were surveying the field. She said that I couldn't do that with my hands (pointing). As which point I said "this is America" and for some reason I added I like to talk with my hands as well. I hope I get to see her again and ask to see the actual agreement (or policy) they have with the PANYNJ. Also maybe next time just to blow her mind if she inquires about taking pictures (and I am standing cameraless) I may no, but I got a photographic memory just to see her reaction! This is crazy......a few month from now some of us will be walking or running on the runway at JFK with cameras taking photos (go figure) which will be okay. I will be sure to be pointing that day as well (hoping that she sees me and I can give a couple of pointers!

    I am not discouraged and will be up there again.
    Mark
    Queens, NY

    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

  3. #3
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Just as an update, PANYNJ has a draft in their legal department now on their policy of photography being legal. Going slow but soon it will all be out there and we will have something to show people that we are good to go.
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    Just as an update, PANYNJ has a draft in their legal department now on their policy of photography being legal. Going slow but soon it will all be out there and we will have something to show people that we are good to go.
    That's great news Phil! It's great to see that what you've (and everyone) been working towards and putting in countless hours for is getting somewhere. Can't wait to see a copy of that policy.
    Steve Furst

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Aviation.High.Guy's Avatar
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    Here's a thought- I have not seen any "No Photos" signs up at T5, or any other parking lot at Kennedy for that matter. So, if photography is against the law, why isn't it posted? (Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I hope things come to this.) When swimming isn't allowed, there are "No Swimming" signs, hunting not allowed? "No Hunting" signs- and so on. So, if it is not within a citizen's rights to take a photograph, why are the rules not posted? Maybe because there is no such rule...?
    In Europe, where they've been living in a "post-911" kind of world long before us, such signs are indeed posted at many airports- I've seen them. Isn't a citizen entitled to be warned when an activity is not acceptable, especially when it's something that's thought to be widely acceptable- umm, like taking pictures? Just sayin'...
    Last edited by Aviation.High.Guy; 01-27-2013 at 11:48 AM.
    -Don B.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Steve, and Mark.. I AM ON YOUR SIDE... but let's take some things into consideration... I believe we should not outright lie about what we are doing. If you'd like to challenge, that's your right, but, when she asked you if you were taking pictures and you said no, that was not true and that could be really bad for you... meaning if they do see you taking pics later on, they could say you were lying and in front of a judge (if you are eventually arrested on suspicion of terrorist acts) you will have a really hard time telling him/her WHY you lied. I KNOW our intentions are good, BUT keep in mind, someone else does NOT know that.

    Again, keep in mind I am on YOUR SIDE, I want to do this as well :-) Take pictures of planes.

    Also, when she says you're not suposed to be canvassing and surveying the airport, again, I say let's try to be careful and not make it as if we are giving them reason to be suspicious. I am alo sick and tired of beign harrassed and would love a program that allows us to be up there (such as what IAH has where you call ahead and tell them you're there) but until that happens, life could just be made worse for you and the rest of us. Imagine if you are that security officer ... what would you do? How would you perform your job? How do they know you're NOT up to NO GOOD? They are supposed to be aware and point out anything wrong. We have got to do our part too.

    I agree she should have approached the situation differently, perhaps in a more polite manner. But ultimately we are at the mercy of the facility and the owner of such. Until we have more support from them, what do we do?

    I believe we should approach this location with caution and with care until we have a more cooperative atmosphere in which to carry out our hobby.

    Love you guys and simply want the best for us. I do not want to hear one of us got kicked out, harassed or worse, arrested on suspicion... that would certainly put a negative spin on things.

    What do you think? Let's talk about this more in person next time. I think we could strike a happy medium between the hobby and our rights (whatever they really are)
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  7. #7
    Member Dabbey's Avatar
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    Phil, even if the PA Has a policy re: photography, will privately-operated terminals or garages be able to continue to make their own rules re:photography? This has always been a source if confusion to me? I hate the murkiness of it all.

  8. #8
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    David, when you read the PANYNJ WebSite, the TERMINALS are owned and operated by the individual airlines. So goes for their parking garages (although the PAYMENT is through PANYNJ it seems) so I believe all this will do is allow us to say that the PHOTOGRAPHY is NOT illegal when they claim to us we aren't supposed to. Then they will likely stick to, no loitering or hanging out on the garages :( Just my feeling ... hope I am wrong :-)
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  9. #9
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    Manny, I agree with you 100%. In part, the statement of "no, we're not taking pictures", was in my part was primarily said to hopefully end the conversation quickly. Figuring she would just say "ok, you're just hanging out, no problem" and she'd be on her way. Never had a thought in my mind she would start hasseling us about hanging out up there.

    So, you are 100% correct, and next time I will take a more direct and hoenst approach and say, "yes, but I do not see anything that says I cannot". Granted, I know that cannot work if I run into that guard again, since I"m sure she would remember either myself or my truck with all the brightly colored racing numbers on the back window..

    The last thing I want is to get kicked out of T5 or get it ruined for everyone. So next time I think that (and we should have done it this time, especially being so cold) I will stay in my truck with the heat on and talk through the windows and stay out of the radar.
    Steve Furst

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzalu View Post
    David, when you read the PANYNJ WebSite, the TERMINALS are owned and operated by the individual airlines. So goes for their parking garages (although the PAYMENT is through PANYNJ it seems) so I believe all this will do is allow us to say that the PHOTOGRAPHY is NOT illegal when they claim to us we aren't supposed to. Then they will likely stick to, no loitering or hanging out on the garages :( Just my feeling ... hope I am wrong :-)

    The security officer specifically said that they have a contract with PANYNJ, so I'm guessign that eventhough the garage is owned by the airline (T5 being jetBlue), it seems as though PANYNJ has rule over them or at least gives security the rules to go by...
    Steve Furst

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  11. #11
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Steve remind me to tell you about 9-11-2011 at T5
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  12. #12
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve1840 View Post
    The security officer specifically said that they have a contract with PANYNJ, so I'm guessign that eventhough the garage is owned by the airline (T5 being jetBlue), it seems as though PANYNJ has rule over them or at least gives security the rules to go by...
    Good to know...
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  13. #13
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Thank you Manny .... As far as lying, I don't think Steve and I were lying. Yes we were taking pictures but at that moment in time when she asked us we were not! I know I am playing the devils advocate but trying to honest here as well. She could have approached us differently instead of the first words out of her mouth "you're not taking pictures, are you"? A hello would have been nice, and some sort of exchange informing us that photography isn't allowed because of yadda yadda yadda. People skills would go a long way as opposed to being threatening and hostile.

    Phil and others whom have worked tireless for the passion of aviation photography ...... Thank You!
    Mark
    Queens, NY

    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzalu View Post
    Steve remind me to tell you about 9-11-2011 at T5
    Oh boy! I can't wait to hear about this.....
    Steve Furst

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Bottom line .... Not serious happened and Steve and I had a great day with the others spotting.
    Mark
    Queens, NY

    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

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