Here is a photograph of my friend and author Mary Elizabeth Williams in the Pinkberry on 32nd street. As you can see, it's taken from outside, and through a dirty window. It's also perhaps the worst photography of mine that you'll ever see, but I digress.
If you're not aware of Pinkberry, it may be because they currently only exist in LA and NYC. It's a frozen yogurt place which as it turns out seems to be a knock-off of a Korean place called Red Mango. They seemed to have copied them right down to the color/fruit name and even the Cap'n Crunch topping (for those into Pinkberry, my sister Melissa is so addicted that she has created a blog about it complete with an AWFUL digicam shot of me). But as New York Magazine said recently, 'pinkberry stinkberry', this is not about the yogurt or terrible pics of me, but rather the fact that they've got a big sign on the glass at the entrance of a camera with a slash through it and 'No Photography Allowed'. It's right below the 'No Pets' and 'No Shoes, no Shirt, no Service'.
I can imagine a swanky restaurant saying "no photography", or inside a sensitive government building (whatever that means), or at a museum where the art is sensitive to light and stupid people don't know how to turn off their flash, but a frozen yogurt shop? This trend of silly photography bans has swung WAY too far to the right.
A few weeks ago I was standing on the platform for the F train at 23rd street and took a picture of the empty platform with my Leica and a guy behind me said, "You know you're not allowed to take pictures, right?" And I said, "Actually I am, the subway ban didn't get passed" and he said that a few weeks ago he saw some guy get ticket for taking a picture. I did some research last night and you are allowed to take pictures in the subway. See Section 1050.9 (b) of the rules.
The problem is that everyone is ill informed, especially the police and security people. So try to talk your way out of trouble by telling them you know the rules better than they do. As long as you have confusion on the subject, people are too scared to cross the line.
And now it extends to Pinkberry apparently. Seriously, does anyone else think the world is going nuts, or is it just me?