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Williamsburg Residents Fear Disrupted Pesach from ‘Spiderman’ Shoot

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Shooting of movie sequel may block numerous parking spaces.

Shooting of movie sequel may block numerous parking spaces.

Shooting of movie sequel may block numerous parking spaces.

The Chassidic community in Williamsburg is worried that they may have a seriously disrupted Pesach holiday due to the scheduled filming of the latest ‘Spiderman’ movie.

According to DNAinfo.com, the community’s leaders are concerned that many regularly available parking spaces that residents would use to keep their cars parked over the holiday will be taken up by the film crew for the purpose of shooting “The Amazing Spiderman 2.” Accordingly, the leaders have been urging city officials to work together with the movie’s production company to find solutions to the problem, contending that the film personnel’s plans are ‘culturally insensitive.’

Columbia Pictures, which has been shooting scenes for the movie at the Marcy Avenue Armory, has made plans to block off parking on adjacent streets for the period between March 22 and 27. As Pesach begins on the evening of Monday, March 25, this could create a serious issue for the local Orthodox families observing the Yom Tov.

“Now is the busiest time of year, when not only are the families home, but everybody’s having guests,” complained community leader Rabbi Moishe Indig. “It’s already congested, and there’s so much parking in need. It’s not fair to take away so much space.” The neighborhood’s Chassidic residents are requesting that the production company adjust its schedule out of a sense of respect to communal needs.

“It’s a particularly sensitive time,” noted Martin Needelman, an area resident and attorney, “because people can’t move their cars…people don’t drive during that time. It’s a major parking problem.” Kat Donohue, the Columbia Pictures representative who attended a recent Williamsburg Community Board 1 meeting, said that the city government had already granted the film crew permission to do its work in the streets around the armory.

However, this was contradicted by a representative from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, who stated that official permits have not yet been finalized. “The production company is in communication with our office and the community to determine the parking plan,” said Marybeth Ihle.

Esther Goldman, 45, who lives across the street from the Marcy Avenue Armory, expressed her frustration and dismay over the plans. “They are truly disrupting our tranquility and peace during the holidays its very insensitive to our needs,” she bemoaned.

“Spider-Man is spinning a web of problems for the community,” stated Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin. “With great power there must also come great responsibility — Columbia Pictures should live by the motto that led Spider-Man to use his abilities to fight crime and respect the observance of Passover by moving up their shooting.”

“Filming of the `The Amazing Spider-Man 2” would be a plague on the streets of South Williamsburg during the sacred holiday, creating a parking struggle of Biblical proportions,” Levin said, humorously referring to the Pesach story of the Exodus from Egypt.

The fictional character Spider-Man, a comic book superhero featured in Marvel Comics publications, was an orphan raised by his uncle and aunt, and as a teenager, had to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence in addition to those of a costumed crime fighter with special powers. Spider-Man’s creators gave him super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, shoot spider-webs using wrist-mounted devices of his own invention which he called “web-shooters,” and react to danger quickly with his “spider-sense,” enabling him to combat his foes Spiderman has appeared in five films since the character’s inception. The first film was an American made-for-television film that premiered on CBS in 1977 and was later shown theatrically overseas. It was directed by E.W. Swackhamer and starred Nicholas Hammond and Thayer David.

The rights to further motion picture films based on Spider-Man were purchased in 1985 and moved through various production companies and studios, at one point having James Cameron to direct, before being secured by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony hired comic book fan Sam Raimi to direct the first of these three new films: Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Spider-Man 3 (2007). Through the films, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) developed a relationship with his high school crush Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and as Spider-Man, he has battled villains including the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and Venom (Topher Grace).

Raimi’s trilogy, produced on a total budget of $597 million, grossed nearly $2.5 billion worldwide, with the fourth achieving $752 million. Each film set several box office records, with all three included in the top 20 highest-grossing domestic films as well as the top 30 highest-grossing worldwide films. The series over all is the tenth highest-grossing film franchise ever. Critics have given the first two films in the series positive reviews, while the third film received mainly mixed reviews.

While the story told in the first three films was originally going to be continued in a fourth film, Sony announced that the franchise would instead be rebooted with new director Marc Webb and a new cast that included Andrew Garfield – a 29-year-old Jewish actor – as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors. The reboot’s intention was to have Peter Parker back to developing his abilities in high school. The film, titled The Amazing Spider-Man,[1] was released in 3D and IMAX 3D in July 2012. Critics have also given this film positive reviews. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is currently in development and is scheduled to be released in 2014.

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