View Full Version : Bayswater Park - Permit needed for photography

2005-11-20, 07:50 PM
I was at Bayswater park today, taking a few departure shots and talking with Larry - The maintenance supervisor we see riding the mower and so forth.

I had just shot the TAM A300 and Avianca 767 new colors. Up next were the Emirates A340 and the elusive TNT 757.

The day was turning out okay..not too cold, I had gotten up early specifically to shoot these aircraft and the sun was out behind my shoulders.

Unfortunately for me, Larry's boss arrived on the scene. After speaking with Larry for a bit, Mr. Ledwitz asked me what I was doing. A few seconds later I am of course asked why I take these pictures of aircraft and I let him know that it is a hobby but I sell a few here and there ... BZZZ... WRONG ANSWER.

Mr. Ledwitz informed me I must obtain a Permit for photography in New York State Parks. Said permit can be obtained by contacting Mr. Ledwitz through his contact information above.

I didn't inquire as to the inevitable fee for the "permit" to utilize what I really think we need to look at as the State's private property at this point. So I can't tell you how much it is.

Now you may think, reading this, that if you disavow any claim to legitimacy and sales and emphasize this is a personal hobby of yours, you may avoid the necessity to make payment arrangements with Mr. Ledwitz, but I doubt it. Mr. Ledwitz made sure Larry heard our conversation. I honestly can't see Larry or any other employee there canvassing a group of photographers and reporting back that "the guy in the blue sweater is a hobbyist, the one in the beige coat is not.." etc.

So, back to my situation today - did I get to shoot the other two aircraft?

I was never confrontational, and while I don't think Mr. Ledwitz necessarily has the enforcement authority to physically stop me, its obviously only a matter of a phone call to the State Park Police and his authority would super cede my own concerns here.

Mr. Ledwitz informed me "You Are Done".

Several things bother me about this.

First - I spent considerable time searching New York State Park information on-line the other day and found no mention of a requirement of a permit to engage in Photography at State Parks.

Second - There are no signs prohibiting photography in this park. - or referencing a need for a permit.

Third - This a fairly large park. Today - for the couple of hours I was there, I was the ONLY Citizen using this park. Of course I was outnumbered by New York State Park EMPLOYEES.. the margin being 2 to 1. Since Mr. Ledwitz made his rounds this morning he ensured this multi-acre park - hyped by our Governor as a great resource for the "community" (assuming he is not referring only to State Parks Dept employees exclusively here) - was utilized by exactly NO ONE.

Fourth - the lack of signs or as far as I can tell - public notice - requiring this fee, should afford me at least a same day "courtesy". Or a few minutes courtesy. I paid a toll, drove for over an hour and had a plan to spend a few hours of my time doing something I enjoy on my day off.

This "You are Done" attitude is sorely lacking in any respect for the tax paying citizens which state employees are supposed to be serving.

So, of course I will be following up on all aspects of this issue/incident.

In the meantime, be sure not to invite any visiting spotters to our city from Europe or Asia or out-of-state to come to New York State Bayswater Park from now on. Mr. Ledwitz might happen by and end their day.

2005-11-20, 08:09 PM
Sounds like bull**** to me. Not your story, but their answers to you. Found nothing on this looking at their web site.

Here is their website

Watching this one!!!! Sorry about your bad afternoon

2005-11-20, 11:24 PM
This has to be total BULL****. You are going to tell me that you need to obtain a permit to take pictures in a state park? If a bunch of people are there having a picnic or just relaxing and they want to take a few pictures they need a permit?

Come on, enough already. I can't believe this to be true.

2005-11-20, 11:51 PM
I'm sure you can whip out a camera at a picnic, Nick.. That would be truly bizarre if you could not.

But its not going to help us at all. I actually wondered to myself at one point if I had brought a fishing poll with me... :roll: you know..but of course I am not going to do that.

Point is, now the issue has to be resolved because I can't see Larry (who had no problem with us at all - ever) is going to play dumb next time a bunch of us are there, not knowing if his boss will decide to pay a surprise visit or not.

2005-11-21, 12:00 AM

Larry may be a great guy but he really isn't the issue here. The issue is do we need a permit to use a camera in a state park. Once we find this out, we will be able to move forward.

2005-11-21, 12:02 AM
Actually -

When I call Mr. Ledwitz tomorrow to send me the "permit" - and a copy of this "policy" - which I fully suspect will be specific as to "permit" for "commercial purposes" and then pursue the matter up the ladder with superiors and whoever is in charge of New York State Parks these days, we will establish just what can and cannot be done.

Of course, they have us coming and going at Bayswater. If someone calls the police we will have these ad hoc sermons about this being a bad hobby with the suggestion if there were somehow some 'more" to it - credentials, "purpose" etc, then things might be different. Then, when you show or indicate you might actually have some shred of credibility from outside a strange hobbyist fetish - this guy wants to be paid and make sure the ONE PERSON utilizing the Park in ANY WAY..is forced to leave.

Still, I did not misrepresent myself. I was clear that I was not employed as a professional photographer. Didn't matter to him of course. One day I am going to sell my car too, but that doesn't cause the state to think I am an auto dealership or require me to have commercial plates. The whole situation is ridiculous. This permit in our case smells like "tribute".

2005-11-21, 12:28 AM
Please let me know what happens when you call! I want to call right after and request the pass as well. I have never been there and really want to go and know this is bull****! I will be polite and professional on the phone, but here I can say it is a bunch of bull****.

2005-11-21, 09:57 PM
Well - Good News everyone.

The matter has been resolved. :D

Mr. Ledwitz now entirely understands what it is we do and there is not a neccesity for a "permit" to engage in these activities at Bayswater.

Same for Bird-watchers. etc.

The maintenance/care-taker staff that attends to Bayswater will be informed later in the week of this matter as it concerns myself.

While the agreement reached today applies specifically to me, and me alone, none of the rest of you/us is doing anything significantly different in terms of our hobby and I don't believe there will be any further issues for some time to come. -- Unless, as was discussed today over the phone, aviation photography becomes illegal.

Apart from extraordinary circumstances there is limited commercial potential from aviation photography at Bayswater. And this is what matters. You should consider yourselves - of course - in the clear to begin with (as I am sure you do) and not in need of anyone's permission obviously to engage in Aviation Photography at Bayswater.

Tip of the Day: When it comes to the State Park System, you have to know when to hold em and know when to fold em in terms of your business cards. We frequently use these, or examples of our work that might have been sold along the way, to deflect suspicions of "terrorism", but the State is zealously protective of its public park lands being used for commercial gain without permission.

Happy spotting,


2005-11-21, 10:02 PM
State's private property

A park is not private property especially a state park. Next time ask him what specific New York State code requires a permit. Another Jackass.

Eric Daniel Smith
2005-11-26, 08:21 PM
You paid for a permit already. It's called Taxes. That's what they're for.

2005-11-30, 02:17 PM
Well - Good News everyone.

The matter has been resolved. :D

While the agreement reached today applies specifically to me, and me alone, none of the rest of you/us is doing anything significantly different in terms of our hobby and I don't believe there will be any further issues for some time to come. -- Unless, as was discussed today over the phone, aviation photography becomes illegal.

Tom, how did this come about? (I mean, the positive resolution?)
Did you simply call him after the fact and go over it? Was this a planned conference call? Did he call you?

In other words, how did this go from YOU ARE DONE to hapy days are here again?


2005-12-01, 12:43 AM
Hi Mario.

I obtained the gentleman's information who precipitated the situation as I decided to obtain this during the initial incident - ostensibly for the purpose of applying for a "permit".

I followed up in an email re-stating the facts of what I was doing and how I was prevented from continuing. Also, asking more questions about different types of photography (ie: Nick's example of a family picnic), referencing the lack of any info on the Website Derf linked to above (I had actually checked out that site previous to going out that day - looking specifically for any photography info as we had a heads up about this situation), no rules on the posted bulletin board in the park, the fact no one was using the park, etc etc.

Requested contact information for superiors and Commissioners Office etc.

Received a prompt and friendly response which indicated to me I might be able to patch this up at the source, and decided to make the follow-up call. Even though I was upset with how things went down that morning, the goal of course is to secure our future rather than make enemies.

Just for the record, I should add that in my first posts here, I suggested the whole permit idea might be fed by a desire to collect "fees". Looking over the permit application which I also asked for and recieved, I can't recall any reference to a fee unless I just missed reading it, so I may have jumped to the wrong conclusion on that.

Still though, reading Nick's follow up post about Bayswater, it sure doesn't sound like Larry ever got the call that my situation had been reversed upon review. I'll try to call him this week and make sure we're on the same page.

2005-12-01, 10:23 AM
That's great Tom. Let us know. I plan to head back there since Larry is a god guy and seems to be with us. How much is this so called permit anyway?

2005-12-04, 11:20 PM
I'm sorry for your experience.

I know how valuable your free time is, and this is such a waste of it!

Keep us informed what else happens.


2005-12-05, 12:47 AM
Hi Mike..

Yes, you said it.. quite a waste of time. Its enough of an effort if you don't live nearby to be really discouraged to have to go through this nonsense.

I did happen to stop by Bayswater on Saturday, and it was so damned cold, I only stayed for no longer than 5 minutes.. And guess what was going out? The Emirates A340. Got a few "nice" shots, but its a low percentage location for me, 22 departures. Spent some time in the Customs parking lot watching the planes taxi by...enjoyed that, but left the camera in the bag. In fact, I think I'll stay away from JFK this winter as long as the 22s remain the norm.

On the way out though I did see Larry and asked if he "got the word". We exchanged a few laughs between the two of us and all is fine.

2005-12-05, 10:04 AM
It had to be brutal at Bayswater on Sat, the wind was too much. I won't go out in that. I like that customs spot too Tom!

2005-12-07, 10:55 PM
It had to be brutal at Bayswater on Sat, the wind was too much. I won't go out in that. I like that customs spot too Tom!

Hey Nick.. I hope to see you out there one of these frozen weekends. Customs is sometimes a good staging area to meet up.

2005-12-08, 11:36 AM
I like that spot, it's tough to shoot anything but they go right by you. Hey anytime untl I leave I would love to meet up. I am heading out now, they are using 4 so I am headed to Bayswater.

2005-12-08, 12:09 PM
I believe Customs was one of the worst spots at JFK in terms of security. I'm shocked you were in there without getting hauled away, Tom.

2005-12-09, 11:36 PM
I believe Customs was one of the worst spots at JFK in terms of security. I'm shocked you were in there without getting hauled away, Tom.

:D ..you're absolutely right Phil. But I was there for hours. Lots of security and cops driving by me. Meanwhile I kept repositioning the car to the views I wanted so I didn't have to crane my neck. I have to admit, if I was security or law enforecement, I probably would've been a little bit put off by that activity, but as it happens, no problems at all for me that day. Its just one big Shell Game I guess.

NYC spotter axiom: "If theres not a shot to be missed, you won't get bothered."

Tower Air
2005-12-10, 02:14 PM
Don't forget..
Thwy Will pull some random bulls**t To stop people form taking photographs