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My day taking pictures on Hudson Bergen (Was: HBLR railfanning)
Posted by Mark W. on Mon May 3 03:14:07 2004, in response to HBLR railfanning => police action. An attempt at a comprehensive reply,
Spent a couple of hours shooting HBLR with RIPTA42HopeTunnel. After about 10 minutes at Pavonia/Newport, A fare inspector informed us that people are not allowed to photograph the light rail (We were on a street at all times while shooting) I politely explained to her that I was on a public street and was not breaking any laws. She said that she was only doing her job which was to challenge ANYBODY taking photos. At that point I told her that if she wanted to call anyone else I would be glad to tell them the same thing. She then said that she was doing as told and did not want to get in trouble. That was that, she boarded the next Hoboken car. RIPTA and I took a car to Essex Street. We figured we could shoot the street running section so we proceeded to walk from Essex to Marin Blvd. We shot several cars (Again, All on public property). One operator decided to "scare" us by blowing the air horn as hard as he could in out faces. While shooting at Marin Blvd, An HBLR supervisor got off a car and sat on a bench on the station watching us while talking on his radio. We put our cameras away and walked onto the platform to wait for a 22nd Street car. About 2 minutes later, a New Jersey Transit Police car pulled up. The HBLR supervisor went to the cop and the 2 came to us with the HBLR person staying back. The cop was polite and asked if we had been taking pictures. We said yes and he asked if digital. I said yes and RIPTA said no as he had a 35MM. He asked to see my photos which after I showed him 2 or 3 he was satisfied. At about that time I asked what the problem was and he told us that we were NOT doing anything wrong and that we were NOT in trouble. The officer acted like he DID NOT want to be there. He said that it was called in that people were taking pictures of the HBLR. He then gave the "In this day and age" routine. He asked for id's which we provided and he wrote our names and addresses "For the record." He then asked if we were done taking pics. We said no, we are going towards 22nd Street. He suggested that we wait until Monday so we can get permission from HBLR. I reminded him that he said it was not illegal to take pics of the HBLR. He then said that if we take pics it will be called in again and we would probably be stopped again. I reminded him again that if it was not illegal and we were doing anything wrong, they can call all they want. He then suggested that we shoot from off property "Not in stations, stairways, etc." He then thanked us and walked away as the car pulled in. As I boarded the car I saw the HBLR supervisor talking to him. I guess he wanted to know what was going on with us. Overall the cop was respectful and courteous. As I said he acted like he was sorry he even stopped us.
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