Recording images on the streets of New York City will become a whole lot more difficult for amateur film/video makers, and even still photographers, if a new regulation goes into effect limiting such activities to no more than two people for no more than ten minutes. And -- image stabilizer designers take note -- no tripods allowed. At least not without a permit and a million dollars' worth of insurance -- that's what you'd need to shoot for more than ten minutes, or with a small crew, or with a tripod.
New York City has a great, rich tradition of photographers, filmmakers, videomakers (including some of the earliest public access producers) and artists using the city streets as both backdrop and subject matter. Check out Weegee's World for some classic examples of World War II era still photographs.
Every city certainly has the right to regulate this sort of activity in some manner -- imagine a Hollywood film crew with fifty people taking over a city street for an afternoon, without a permit or insurance. But surely the line can be drawn at something more than two people -- when I used to teach video production at the School of Visual Arts I'd send crews of four or five students out on the street to shoot! (In fairness, the city government has spoken of creating exceptions for students, too -- these regulations haven't yet been finalized.)
The timing couldn't be more ironic, occurring just as New York City contemplates the installation of a vast government-run surveillance video system for all of Manhattan, ostensibly as part of a traffic-reduction and fundraising program.
Installing thousands of government cameras, while restricting ordinary citizens from shooting video on the city's streets has that Big Brother ring.