The company operated the UAVs in class B airspace over New York City. It's not "away from an airport" but is less than 5 miles from LaGuardia Airport, and is also the densest metropolitan area in the country. One of the issues was a series of flights over 432 Park Ave, which is the second-tallest building in NYC at nearly 1400 feet. The company took their 360* VR images up to 1400 feet, as well some separate aerial shots from a helicopter that were legal.
It's not illegal to fly over NYC. But if you plan to fly, you must follow FAA rules regarding transponders and such, and file flight plans with the ATC. Keep in mind that Manhattan is almost in the middle of 3 airports and its airspace is heavily trafficked.