View Full Version : 5/3/2013 - JFK - T5 garage x2

Landing Lights
2013-05-06, 11:42 AM
After getting a bit frustrated by the 13/22 split that was being used yesterday, I decided to try photographing from the top of the T5 garage for the first time yesterday. When I arrived there was an individual in a PANYNJ SUV parked up there in the corner by T4 and that was where I parked to start. He didn't seem to pay any attention to me for the short while that I was there. After a few minutes I moved over to the T7 side of the garage and photographed 31L arrivals there for probably about an hour. As I heard a line of European arrivals headed to 22L, I moved back over to the T4 side to at least get some taxi shots.

After a few minutes shooting from there, I noticed that there was an FJC Security SUV that had stopped a short distance away. After several minutes he starts honking at me (and I will agree with others from previous incidents that this is a terribly unprofessional way of getting somebody's attention. An older Asian security guard gets out of the vehicle and approaches me. "Excuse me, we don't want you photographing up here. I don't want you photographing up here." I calmly but firmly responded with "I'm sorry, but who doesn't want me photographing up here" since he apparently couldn't get his story straight. "the Port Authority doesn't want you photographing up here. It's against the rules." I said, "I'm sorry, but the Port Authority has no rules against photography." The guard picked up his radio. "He says there is no rules against photography...." as he trailed off. Moments later he got back into his vehicle where he waited, and I went back to shooting, with the full knowledge that I was doing nothing wrong. The SUV stays parked in the same spot and while I am by no means blocked in, I did feel a bit uncomfortable at this point since I din't feel like I could move back and forth around the upper deck.

About 15 minutes later another FJC SUV arrived and the 2 chatted for about 5 minutes. Then the second one pulled up along the rear of my car and the male African-American gentleman called out very professionally with a "how ya doin?" He briefly chatted with me regarding how its not their rules its the Port Authority's rules, to which I once again asserted that the Port Authority actually has no rules for or against photography. Then came the biggest whopper: "well you're really supposed to contact the Port Authority before you come up here and get authorization." He mentioned that somebody from the Port Authority would be up to speak with me before pulling away to chat with the Asian guard briefly after which they both took off. The entire encounter took roughly 25 minutes and other than the times that I was speaking with them I kept doing my thing. I remained calm though perhaps slightly flustered the entire time, though I was definitely assertive of my rights.

40 minutes later I am back on the T7 side shooting the CX oneworld 777 when another FJC SUV pulls up very close behind me in the no parking area in the corner. This time it is a younger, female African American guard. "Escuse me, you can't be takin picshas up here" (misspelling intentional) I was flabbergasted! I wheeled around to speak to her. "It says right here that you aren't supposed to take pictures without authorization," as she pointed about three-quarters of the way down a handwritten page on a writing pad. Again, I asserted myself: "There are no rules against photography. I just finished dealing with this a little while ago." She picks up her radio and rolls up the window as I wheel back around to catch the CX 777 taxiing back towards the terminal. As I am shooting, I hear her back away a bit, before pausing for a short time and then pulling away. The whole confrontation from the time she showed up until the time she left took maybe 2 minutes, with the actual communication being maybe 30 seconds.

This was my first time encountering any form of security or law enforcement while I was out spotting, and I felt that I handled it well. I also felt that two out of the three guards that I dealt with lacked the basic level of professionalism that I would expect from a guard, while the third one (likely a supervisor) was very professional. To be honest, I half expected to have one encounter with security there when I went, though the second one surprised me. The overall feeling that I came away from this experience with was this: how many times do we need to go through these encounters before it is considered harassment, both as individuals and as a group.

(EDIT: Just for the record, this occurred on 5/5/13. I'm not exactly sure why I got it wrong in the title.)

2013-05-06, 11:55 AM
wow, it's a handwritten law? If only we had known that from the beginning of all this...:rolleyes:

2013-05-06, 12:56 PM
Touche Ben!!! Like I said one time "show me the policy". In my view you handled it extremely well, and stood your ground. I honestly believe they (security) don't have a dime to stand on. Yes, they have probably been instructed to deter photography, but that isn't the rule. The handwritten pad thingy.........gee, I have no comment. Maybe next time I'll bring my handwritten pad that states "photography is allowed at all locations at JFK that don't impede with PANYNJ operations, no permit is needed".

2013-05-06, 01:38 PM
I said, "I'm sorry, but the Port Authority has no rules against photography." The guard picked up his radio. "He says there is no rules against photography...."
Ahhh, the ol' Jedi mind trick :tongue:

2013-05-06, 04:04 PM
Ahhh, the ol' Jedi mind trick :tongue:

LOL, how did I not think that when I read it the first time haha

2013-05-06, 06:17 PM
Ben sorry to hear you got hassled T5. The only thing you did wrong was to expect professionalism from FJC. These are the same guys that "protect" college campuses, malls a and Modell's Sporting goods. When no other law enforcement agency will have you, you go to work for FJC. I would call them rent a cops, but I don't want to insult cops. :eek:

2013-05-06, 09:03 PM
I would have written on a piece of paper that photography IS allowed there, and shown it to her. And the Asian man sounds like the only person who wouldn't bother me.

2013-05-06, 09:16 PM
Not sure why race is being injected here. What does it matter what the security guards race is?

2013-05-07, 12:22 AM
I'm guessing he included race more for future reference if any of these characters hassles someone again? For what it's worth I got a bit of a chuckle out of it because I've encountered you're stereotypical southern accent cop once while spotting and I'd have typed up the report in a similar fashion with all sorts of misspellings and accents thrown in for laughs.

Sounds like a professional way of handling less than professional hassle by clueless security guards.

Landing Lights
2013-05-07, 10:21 AM
Thanks for all the support everybody, it means a lot. If anybody is interested, I wrote an article on my blog (http://landing-lights.com/my-blog/got-stopped) about the experience and what my reactions were to it.

Not sure why race is being injected here. What does it matter what the security guards race is?

The only reason that I included the race here is to be descriptive. I believe that we are all better off having some general idea of who we are dealing with as these incidents are becoming fairly common. It was not included with any intent to insinuate that how they were acting was somehow related to their race or sex. Had they been white or native american, I would have included that too. If any of them had had identifying features, those too would have been included. As for the phonetic spellings that I used, it was to illustrate what I felt was an unprofessional style of communicating in that particular instance. It was included just as I had included my comments on the first guard who couldn't seem to decide who exactly didn't want me up there.

Jared Blech
2013-05-07, 02:52 PM
Anybody want to have a little meet up on the garage this weekend weather permitting? Maybe saturday afternoon?
Sorry about your encounter ben, you handled it nicely

2013-05-07, 04:17 PM
Anybody want to have a little meet up on the garage this weekend weather permitting? Maybe saturday afternoon?
Sorry about your encounter ben, you handled it nicely

Bring your rain gear.....

2013-05-08, 12:07 AM
Bring your rain gear.....

Maybe a night shoot is in order then. Wet ground would be awesome.

2013-05-08, 02:58 AM
Maybe a night shoot is in order then. Wet ground would be awesome.


Jared Blech
2013-05-08, 03:18 PM
If you guys are having a bad day, here, have a laugh!
My favorite part is the last paragraph

To ensure the utmost professionalism and effectiveness, even during heightened threat levels, all FJC Aviation Services security personnel undergo rigorous training and refresher courses in our Aviation Services Training Centers

2013-05-08, 09:27 PM
Funny you mention that Jared.....I was on their website last night and saw that, and thought to myself, what bunch of hog wash!

Landing Lights
2013-05-09, 07:12 AM
If they are undergoing not only initial training but refresher training in professionalism, then they need to seriously reevaluate the training that they are giving! What a joke of an organization. Oh, and how can you say that you provide passenger screening services when the only 3 airports that you work at all have screening performed by the TSA?

Jared Blech
2013-05-09, 11:21 PM
They take "special aviation security classes", duhh. Come on Ben, they are the experts, let them do their professional and respectable job that they do by preventing us from blowing up planes with our canons and nikons.

Oh, and how can you say that you provide passenger screening services when the only 3 airports that you work at all have screening performed by the TSA?
Next time you are in a PANYNJ Airport, be careful and always listen for...

Landing Lights
2013-05-10, 10:17 AM

And that's exactly how they would say it!

2013-05-27, 04:44 PM
I had a lovely (sarcasm) run in with one of the FJC security patrols today. Actually two, sort of. I brought my lunch to the too of the T5 garage to have it while watching the traffic coming and going. One if their security details came by repeatedly in a fifteen minute period, including blocking me in while I was just enjoying my lunch while watching some planes. After lunch I went around to the other side of the garage and one level down to take some photos of arrivals touching down when an African American female with glasses (relevant only for identification purposes) honked and gave me the same routine about there being no photography permitted. I actually played dumb at first and walked closer to ask what she'd said. She repeated the same, whereupon I asked whether that's an actual policy. Of course she incorrectly stated it was. I asked to see a copy of it to which she responded "no you may not". I'm sorry? What? You're going to lie about the policy, and then simply say no you may not? I asked her again stating I'd be happy to leave if she'd either show me the policy or at least let me know where I could find the policy recorded for myself, as I've never seen such policy. She stated she would not, whipped out her little notebook of make believe incidents and scribbled something down quickly, too quickly to be my full plate number or anything. I informed her I've actually looked for a policy and haven't found one and had PAPD have chats with me only to let me know they were making sure I wasn't doing anything that created a security risk, and at no time have I ever seen or been informed of the existence of such a policy. That's when she gets on the radio and I'm pretty sure was calling in my plate number. Not wishing to exacerbate this, since I was planning on leaving soon anyway, I got in my car, waited for her to stop blocking me, and left the garage. She followed me in her vehicle all the way to the exit. I asked the clerk who I paid my parking fee to if she knew what her name was (as she refused to give it to me), and the clerk said she didn't know. When I'd told her the security officer had been harassing me, she didn't seem shocked, but said she didn't really know who to report it to other than if she wanted me to call PAPD to resolve it. Needless to say, I'll be sending some emails and letters describing the encounter on my letterhead later this week, insisting on her information being provided and to be notified what corrective and or retraining measures will be provided to their agent. I don't expect anything to come of it, but I'm displeased, and letterheads that include ESQ. tend to at least get a response, even if they're crappy responses.

2013-05-27, 06:54 PM
What about going to FJC website and filing a complaint and stating you were being harassed, etc. I have a feeling I know the individual you mention too! I had my run in with her too.

2013-05-27, 08:28 PM
I has those idiots harass me as well on the T5 garage. Same dog and pony show. I even whipped out my JetBlue ID and stated I could just as easily get ramp access. Eventually they left me alone. Just be polite and tell them to screw off very nicely.

2013-07-04, 08:55 AM
If you look at my spotting post of BOS 6/26 and 7/1 you will see BOS isnt much better with these wannabe rent a cops.

2013-07-04, 11:09 AM