What Can You Legally Photograph From a Public Street?

02.08.12 Marina Galperina

Everything! After 9/11, police officers and transit authority officials have been forgetful of photographers’ legal rights, coast to coast. In this latest account, a New York Times reporter was prevented from taking photos of the 126th Street Bus Depot, a former movie studio that you can see on Google Street View. Who you gonna call?

The New York Civil Liberties Union! Be advised that the New York City Transit Rules of Conduct allows anyone to photograph their facilities, but it does require a valid press pass for lights, reflectors or tripods. Since it’s happened again, a NYCLU rep clarifies that if you’re on a public sidewalk, “You’re entitled to take pictures of anything you can see — period.” That includes police activity. So next time you’re pushed around, take down the uniformed perpetrator’s info and drop NYCLU a line.