Filming on MTA property

The subways have been on film since the early 1900s. We've worked with modern TV and film crews for decades, meeting every kind of demanding, technical, logistical, and scheduling requirement, from transforming a subway car into a Middle Earth fantasy world with Gollum statues to providing a distinctive runway for designer Yeohlee Tang's 2005 Fashion Underground fashion show.

General information

Locations

Our selected station interiors, exteriors and other choice settings let your
production company film in an environment without disruptions.

Examples of what’s been filmed in the past:

  • Gollum statues in Grand Central Station for a Lord of the Rings DVD promotion
  • Cedric the Entertainer in a bus for The Honeymooners
  • A bus explosion for the film Under Siege

Contact us

Reach out to:

New York City Transit
Department of Strategy & Customer Experience
Office of Film and Special Events

2 Broadway, Room C14.26
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 646-252-5853

Subways and buses

The largest subway car fleet in the world

You can choose from a range of subway car styles from different eras. We have vintage subway cars dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.

The largest bus fleet in North America

Our fleet includes:

  • Buses from the 1940s-1990s
  • 21st Century hybrid-electric models
  • Express couches
  • Articulated buses

Films and TV shows featuring our subways and buses

  • Bella
  • City by the Sea
  • The Cowboy Way
  • Dark Water
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance
  • The French Connection
  • Ghost
  • Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
  • The Honeymooners
  • In the Life
  • The Interpreter
  • Kidnapped
  • Law & Order
  • Maid in Manhattan
  • Men in Black II
  • Money Train
  • Sex in the City
  • Shaft
  • The Sopranos
  • Stay
  • Subway Stories
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
  • The Warriors
  • World Trade Center

Important things to know

  • We need a letter of intent, script, and storyboard.
  • We require a minimum $2 million general liability insurance policy;
    a $2 million railroad protective insurance policy; and proof of Workmen's Compensation.

Safety

  • On the platform: All equipment and personnel must remain behind the yellow tiles.
  • On the tracks: Everyone in your production group who may have to walk on the tracks has to take an eight-hour track class first. This ensures that the crew and actors will learn proper procedures to protect themselves against possible track dangers and about being next to moving trains.

 

Lead time

  • Our fee depends upon the scope of your project, the number of transit workers required to assist your production company, the type of equipment appropriate for your production, and the duration of filming.
  • We ask that you give us four to six weeks lead-time if you are filming on a train, and two to four weeks notice if you are filming on a platform or on a bus.

We look forward to working with you to make the best New York movie possible.

Fun facts and history

Both Eddie Murphy (in Coming to America) and Paul Hogan (as Crocodile Dundee) proposed to their brides in the New York City subway, presumably living happily ever after.

The scene with King Kong, Fay Wray in hand, wrecking the Sixth Avenue Elevated before his climb to the top of the Empire State Building was created using a scale-model set of an elevated railway.

The very first motion picture shot in the system was the Thomas A. Edison film of 1904. The cameraman mounted a camera on a train and followed the Lexington Avenue Local along its route.

The rental of a subway train includes the crew (train operator and conductor), a train service supervisor and sometimes officers of the NYPD.

All shooting in and adjacent to the New York City subway system is overseen by the Film & Special Events Unit (FSEU), which was created in order to facilitate filming on New York City Transit property. Headed by Ruthie Jones, the unit handles the needs of scores of production companies from site scouting to picking a specific type of subway car.

Jobs can last for a couple of hours or production crews can shoot in the system over the course of several months. It’s always a cooperative effort among several divisions and units of the Subways, Buses, and System Safety departments.

As important as it is to make the system accessible to producers, the primary role of the subway system is to move people. If a production calls for shooting in a normally busy location, that project will be done during the overnight hours when impact on the public is minimal.