August 2017
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Streetscapes: The Newsrack Nuisance

newsracks clutterFar too often, the city’s newsracks serve more as garbage bins and hosts for graffiti than as providers of publications. Despite the passage of a law meant to regulate the design and placement of newsracks, dilapidated models clutter our sidewalks. You can help curb this blight, and help the Municipal Art Society and its partners in the New York City Newsrack Safety Committee demonstrate to City Hall that its current regulation of newsracks isn’t working. After more than a decade of advocacy, the MAS and its Streetscape Committee were encouraged when the City Council passed tough new regulations mandating clean, secure newsracks in April 2003. The Department of Transportation began enforcing the law but just a year later, the regulations were greatly loosened to allow newsrack owners merely to “self-certify” that they attempt to perform maintenance and cleaning. A walk down the street—in Greenwich Village, for instance—shows that this approach is not working. Dirty, abandoned and refuse-filled newsracks are commonplace. The MAS has prepared a one-page summary of key requirements that newsracks and their owners must comply with. Please download summary (at right) it and call 311 to report those newsracks that fail to meet the city’s requirements. After you call, please e-mail us with your complaint number and the location of the newsrack. Your complaints will help the MAS and the Newsrack Safety Committee show the city that the current newsrack law doesn’t work and needs to be revised. Our partners on the newsrack committee are Carnegie Hill Neighbors, CIVITAS, East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, East Sixties Neighborhood Association, Landmark West!, Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, and Sutton Area Community.