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Archive for 'illegal signage'

New York City Unveils New Design for Sidewalk Sheds

In late October 2009, we reported that the Department of Buildings and the AIA New York Chapter had teamed up with an array of other civic organizations to organize an international design competition to re-imagine the maligned sidewalk construction shed. Yesterday, the city announced that a winning design has been chosen from three finalists. The winning design, chosen by a jury including MAS Chairman David Childs, is titled Urban Umbrella and was developed by Young-Hwan Choi, a 28-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania. His design will improve quality of life, reduce construction impacts on businesses, increase pedestrian safety, and increase available space for pedestrians on sidewalks, while also complimenting the city’s architectural beauty. Continue Reading>>

Southern District Court Upholds City’s Restrictions on Arterial Advertising

outdoor advertising long island expresswayMAS has been involved with signage regulations since the turn of the 20th century, when the New York Times noted that one of the City’s famed retail districts had become a “frightful spectacle, made so more by the wilderness of discordant and shrieking signs.”  MAS even introduced a revision of the building code in 1908 that would regulate billboards for the first time. The problem of signage pollution continues to impact New York’s streetscapes, but recent litigation has affirmed the City’s right to regulate outdoor advertising in favor of traffic safety and aesthetics. The Southern District of New York held today that New York City may enforce its arterial highway advertising ban, regulate the registration and permitting of existing outdoor arterial signs, and restrict the locations of internally illuminated signs throughout the City. A number of New York City’s signage regulations were challenged by Plaintiffs Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., Atlantic Outdoor Advertising, Inc., Scenic Outdoor, Inc., Troystar City Outdoor, Inc., Willow Media, LLC (together, the “Clear Channel Plaintiffs”) and Metro Fuel, LLC. Continue Reading>>

Advertising on Sidewalk Sheds Haunts the City Again

The New York City Council will hold a public hearing next Monday, January 26, at 1:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Intro. 623 which proposes to allow advertising on sidewalk construction sheds for a yet to be determined permit fee. The Municipal Art Society will testify against this ill-conceived plan. [Read MAS press release here.] Download our testimony, here. Outdoor advertising and sidewalk construction sheds blight our city’s streetscape. The City wisely seeks to regulate outdoor advertising with strict zoning regulations and imposes design guidelines for sidewalk construction sheds, but the City Council now wants to combine these two eyesores with a permit that would allow outdoor advertising companies to advertise on sidewalk sheds in manufacturing and commercial zoning districts. Read coverage of this issue in Metro NY, January 27, 2009. Continue Reading>>

City Gives Yankees Billboards Along Expressway

yankee stadium billboard expresswayThe New York Times reported Sunday that the City of New York granted the Yankees rights to three billboards along the adjacent expressway in return for an exclusive luxury box at the new stadium.  The hubbub following the release of a series of email messages between Bloomberg aides focuses on the loss of advertising revenue to the city, however the recent signage regulations passed by the Department of Buildings ban all signage along arterial highways. To learn more about MAS’ advocacy on illegal outdoor advertising, click here. In other news, the interior renovation of Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on the Upper West Side is nearly complete the full interior of the cathedral is now open and free of scaffolding after a fire damaged much of the artwork and pipe organ in 2001. Continue Reading>>

Billboards Gone Wild

la billboard comicBoth Moscow and Los Angeles are tackling serious billboard problems. In Los Angeles bright LED screens shine across neighborhoods, intruding into homes and distracting drivers. In Moscow, the historic areas around the Kremlin are marred by endless billboards. Both these cities are taking aggressive action to remove and slow the encroachment of these ads. One unique approach in Moscow is the city’s strategy of phasing in the restrictions and compensating the ad-industry for losses on unexpired contracts with their billboard clients. Ad companies will be compensated for each surface that is removed. Here in New York City, when the Buildings Department finally issued rules for city for billboards in 2006 to a new law regulating outdoor advertising passed in 2001, the city was promptly sued by an outdoor advertising company and the city has failed to enforce regulations while the lawsuit is pending. Once the lawsuit has been resolved, we hope the city will start using the effective regulations that are in place to curb an industry that is rapidly overrunning our city.

Public Art Becomes Focus of Illegal Outdoor Advertising

illegal outdoor advertising photo by david dunlap nytTo advertise for its Mobile Art Pavilion, being constructed in Central Park this fall, Chanel has draped an illegal fifteen story billboard onto its 57th street facade; Vanessa Gruen, Director of Special Projects at MAS commented on the ad in the New York Times blog. In other news, the New York City Economic Development Corporation has purchased three more parcels of land in Willets Point nearly doubling their land acquisition to date but leaving the City far from owning the entire site (Crain’s New York Business). The new TKTS Booth in the center of Times Square has opened and can remain so throughout the winter (New York Times). Continue Reading>>

More Outdoor Advertising?

illegal advertising signage new york city buildingamNew York reports today that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is considering putting advertising on New York City buildings and vehicles, such as garbage trucks, to add up to $10 million to the City’s budget in these meager times; Vanessa Gruen, Director of Special Projects at MAS comments stating that eventually, the City will hit a saturation point with outdoor advertising. The Gowanus Lounge reports that the City’s Economic Development Corporation has purchased park of the Deno’s Wonderwheel site in Coney Island – a parcel that would be part of the amusement park in the proposed rezoning (see also New York Post).

Illegal Water Ads and Wind Turbines on Bridges

wind turbine renewable energyIn an ironic twist, Glacéau Vitaminwater’s new ad campaign that boasts about obeying the law – “Legally, we are prohibited from making exaggerated claims about the potency of the ingredients in this bottle,” says the label on an oversized, silhouetted reproduction of its dragonfruit drink, is actually illegal due to its placement on New York City lampposts reports (The New York Times). MAS has been fighting illegal advertising for years through its illegal signage campaign. In other news, The New York Times reports that Mayor Bloomberg is proposing to put wind turbines on New York City shorelines and bridges to diversify the City’s energy resources. In open space issues, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle follows democratic hopeful for the 25th State Senate District, Daniel Squadron, who is presenting a new vision for Brooklyn Bridge Park . Continue Reading>>

Opposition to Willets Point and Task Force on Climage Change Established

gimbels subway signMAS In the Press: MAS weighs in on the City’s fight to remove illegal advertising from billboards (Village Voice).The Village Voice also picks up on part of MAS’ New Penn Station advocacy campaign to reopen the network of pedestrian tunnels underneath and around Penn Station. Issues in the Press: – Another searing letter was sent from several City Council Members to the Planning Commission stating their opposition to the current Willets Point rezoning in anticipation of its public hearing with the Commission today (Crain’s New York Business, New York Sun). The last three major projects of the Bloomberg administration – Willets Point, Hunters Point, and Coney Island – mark a shift toward increased government intervention than earlier projects such as the Far West Side (New York Observer). Continue Reading>>