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NLovis
02-21-2011, 12:36 AM
I had a brainstorm last night. What if we had ID badges like JFK, LGA etc etc have? We have become pretty well known and this would identifty us as spotters and save possible bad encounters with law enforcement. They would be yearly renewals and if it would be implemented we could bring them to the precints and show them what were up to. Then if somebody decides to report us when they see the badge they would know who we are and what our intentions are. This also maby (a long shot) would allow us to set something up with PANYNJ to have ramp access for a day or something where we could tour JFK, LGA or EWR. Your thoughts and oppinions?

jerslice
02-21-2011, 02:30 AM
I like the idea on its face but there are liability issues with this that would likely prevent this from becoming a reality; I mean look at the legal disclaimers at the bottom of the front page. If we gave out badges it'd be that times a bazillion. What happens if someone who obtains an NYC badge goes off the deep end? What qualifies someone to receive them, who issues them, what sort of checks does one do for them? If it were merely an identification badge - on par with a Subway sandwhich club member card - then maybe but I think that's the limit. Not even the site staff have badges.
There are airports that have watch programs in which folks can get ID'd...I think they're popular in Canada and a few have picked them up around here in the states. Maybe something like that could be implemented with NYCAviation support in the NYC area but I have a vague sense that we've gone down that rabbit hole before to no avail.

NLovis
02-21-2011, 02:43 AM
Well the fine tuning can always be worked out. This was just my brainstorm. Its something to consider in this day and age. But yea if enough of the mods like it then we can always go into the how to obtain one and what to do bit. Right now I am just putting this out there to see what happens. It would really be up to Phil, Matt and the others to figure out the fine lettering. Im just a member here :smile:

Zee71
02-21-2011, 07:38 AM
I wish the Port Authority would establish a spotters/watch program similar to what Canada has. I would be even willing to pay for memebership, etc. They could perform security checks, etc., and if you're being a bad spotter then I would even go as far as saying that they can issue you a ticket for violating spotting rules and impose a fee. This to me is an untapped resource for budget woes. Until something like this happens (if ever), I'll be roaming around like everyone else and hitting the spotting locations identified on this website.

PhilDernerJr
02-21-2011, 09:17 AM
Spotter ID cards are not a new idea and it comes up on the forums about every 6 months or so. Unfortunately liability and cost become major issues. the issue has to do with making them actually mean anything to those who would be looking at them (police, etc.), and the liability to NYCA should any of the spotters actually do something wrong (likely and has happened before).

The best thing would be for a program like Canada, as mentioned, but considering what I'm able to discuss, I think it's fair to say that PANYNJ has no interest in this at all. Keep in mind that the airport is run by a massive organization that runs 4 airports and other forms of transit hubs and properties....the red tape alone is ridiculous.

But the initial idea, is not new. Do a search and you'll see all the past discussions and debates. :(

But, don't worry, we're working on a few things for spotters, not just here in NYC, which will hopefully allow us to....well.....you'll see.

gonzalu
02-21-2011, 09:47 AM
..and in Paris, you have to have a spotting ID/Permit otherwise you are not allowed to spot as one of our French colleagues told us a few months ago when he visited.

So, I think if we were to be organized like a News Media Outlet would be (not NYCA but as a whole industry) we could get regulated and managed by the NYPD which handles Media Credentials in NYC. I believe there is large enough groups of spotters to qualify from a size perspective. However, there is this little missing gap of real business vs. just a hobby. We as a group tend to be more hobbyists than working pros and that is usually the ruler used to decide what's warranted or not.

If we tackle this from a media/journalism point of view, I think that's already way in the works for NYCA and well deserved and paying off. Phil's idea of a digital magazine is brilliant. However it does not speak to spotting as whole in general and the sorts of benefits we would enjoy and would love to have as far as access to better spotting/photo locations the likes of Amsterdam and England and large parts of Europe, South America, The Caribbean, etc.

For those who ever wondered why there is that obscure new law in NYC against photography on bridges, it has nothing to do with the photography of the bridge itself. But it does have to do with the security retrofits ALL NYC bridges have undergone in the last 10 years. The protection is for those little security fixes to be kept a secret and I agree. I just hope once the construction is finished they lift the ban.

The same can be true about the tight restrictions on airport property and that is the fear of photography of sensitive areas, not that someone will walk up to a rooftop and take some terrorist action. I think there is plenty of opportunity to do so outside the perimeter. But given plenty of close up access, wrongdoers can take time to closely study what to do and how to do it. As much as I hate not having good access, I totally understand why it is best to just shut it down. To do it properly now in this world of distrust we live in now, would require lots of dedication and money by the agencies and perhaps not a sound financial decision right now.

It is quite interesting that while we as a country either model ourselves after other great cities/countries and the reverse being also true, that there is such a large gap in policy between our individual cities, states, airports and the global scene. As spotting is concerned, some of our closest allies are far more tolerant and welcoming of spotting with vast observation areas or decks and parks ...

But I am always the optimist for the future... who knows what lies ahead! Here is hoping for better controlled and secure access to yet to come official spotting areas at our city's airports. As mentioned in a book I recently read (thanks Mark) the success of the observation deck at La Guardia was so important, that designers of the original International Arrivals Terminal at JFK decided it was an integral part of the airport so interested citizens can come and enjoy the novelties of air travel.

Sorry I ranted on so long. I am but an amateur spotter and wish for the return of days gone. My interests (as is likely the interest of 99% of us) is for the good of the industry and would fight to protect it in any way. The actions and [potential] actions of a very few, as usual, impede the enjoyment of the vast majority :frown:

jerslice
02-21-2011, 12:03 PM
So, I think if we were to be organized like a News Media Outlet would be (not NYCA but as a whole industry) we could get regulated and managed by the NYPD which handles Media Credentials in NYC. I believe there is large enough groups of spotters to qualify from a size perspective. However, there is this little missing gap of real business vs. just a hobby. We as a group tend to be more hobbyists than working pros and that is usually the ruler used to decide what's warranted or not.

That's true Manny but then we would have to limit folks having badges specifically to those working as regular correspondents for the site. I represent NYC at press things all the time and I don't have a badge. We're already in a place in which it would be very useful for a handful of regulars, myself included. But there is not any way we could then roll it out to all spotters. The red tape on both sides would be way too much.
But as Phil, others, and myself have pointed out the key in ever making something like this fly for any/all spotters is sticking the liability to someone/thing other than NYC. If this were to ever work we cannot afford to have the buck stop here.

NLovis
02-22-2011, 02:26 PM
Well one day we will be able to do something. Till that time comes. :cool:

flyingwithfish
03-13-2011, 04:04 PM
NYPD will not issue press credentials for those who cover airports, as airports are not NYPD they are Port Authority. I had an NYPD Working Press credential from around 1992 to 2003, then the process became a huge pain in the ass and I was no longer covering spot news in NYC on a regular basis.

As I began covering aviation security issues I went round and round with the NYPD because while I had client letters (required for freelancers) stating I was doing the work, the actual images used for "proof" were nearly all on Port Authority Property .

Many journalists in NYC have year old, expired, credentials at the moment as the NYPD is seriously behind in renewing credentials.

emshighway
03-13-2011, 04:12 PM
NYPD will not issue press credentials for those who cover airports, as airports are not NYPD they are Port Authority. I had an NYPD Working Press credential from around 1992 to 2003, then the process became a huge pain in the ass and I was no longer covering spot news in NYC on a regular basis.

As I began covering aviation security issues I went round and round with the NYPD because while I had client letters (required for freelancers) stating I was doing the work, the actual images used for "proof" were nearly all on Port Authority Property .

Many journalists in NYC have year old, expired, credentials at the moment as the NYPD is seriously behind in renewing credentials.

NYPD is real tight on the Press Card right now. To get a card you have to show you are a working, published member of the press. I know someone from a TV station who got their application bounced back because one of her pieces at the airport was not considered spot news.

flyingwithfish
03-13-2011, 05:39 PM
The NYPD's answer to me, since they have "Press" and "Working Press" (two IDs is idiotic as you know) is that its Port Authority and thus does not require any credential from the NYPD. DCPI actually told me to get a NJ/NY PA credential ... which we all know does not exist.

I know a few full time shooters, on staff and contract at major papers, with credentials expired by a few months or more, as they await renewal. On my last renewal I was bounced because of the six photos I submitted, one included the MTA PD's ESU, I was required to submit an additional photo showing NYPD/FDNY. It was absurd.

megatop412
03-13-2011, 09:22 PM
sounds like it might be easier to obtain a carry permit than a press pass

jerslice
03-13-2011, 09:24 PM
Press passes for spotting isn't going to happen through NYC.

NIKV69
03-15-2011, 02:03 PM
sounds like it might be easier to obtain a carry permit than a press pass

Press passes for spotting isn't going to happen through NYC.


Especially when the people trying to get them are not press and are just trying to get on the ramp.

As for Nick's original idea liability kills it since nobody can be expected to behave in any way Phil has control of. I also don't understand what it accomplishes other than also using to try to gain access. Nassau county and NYPD will still have to check ID and run down any calls they receive and I don't feel the need to go to a police station or pick up the phone when I go to do something legal.

cancidas
03-15-2011, 03:20 PM
sounds like it might be easier to obtain a carry permit than a press pass

haven't tried getting a press pass but can tell you carry permits aren't easy to come by at all.

mattdueck
03-15-2011, 04:11 PM
Well I have alot to add to this as I am a member of a airport watch group up here in Canada. So before I go on explaining what goes on, please feel free to PM or ask questions here if you want further explanation on what I am about to share.

So Airport Watch is what is knowing in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and a others. It originated in Toronto and has spread over the country. Our Calgary group began 4 years ago. Its not easy. It takes many hours of dedication for the chair and co chair of the group. I do carry a official airport watch badge which is obtained from the pass office in the airport authority offices. It does require a federal background check which leads to all who are also involved. We have a member of the airport security office, a representative from the airport police precent, and a representative from the federal branch of the RCMP. He is the overseer of all the watch groups and has been the lead in getting background checks completed. Since we have been going for a while, I also have a airport watch jacket, a log to track my hours of spotting. That way we give our hours into the board at the end of the month and shows the RCMP that the program is working. I still do get stopped by perimeter airport security when I have my ladder close to the fence but just move it back a couple meters and they are happy with that. They know who we are at the airport. Unfornately because of the expanding projects taking place, alot of our great photo spots are being destroyed by developement. Oh well. I enjoy being part of it, its nice to have a community of people who have like hobbies and its great when a group of us are out at the airport and have time to catch up on our lives outside of photography. I hope that gives some insite into the program we have north of the border and could be a encouragement for you guys in NYC to try and look to start something. I must add, the main reason we track hours is because we are considered a second set of eyes and ears for airport security outside the perimeter as we know all the spots that people could possibly hide and commit crimes like drugs and such. Anyways, my two cents into a subject that I have a good idea of.

Matt

PhilDernerJr
03-15-2011, 05:32 PM
Matt, I've discussed your program with members of it and it's already been explored here, and is not applicable at this time for unfortunate reasons previously mentioned. We are working on a few things to allow it to be applied here in the future. Glad you guys up north were able to set up such a great program.