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Ten Finalists of OUTRAGE! Photo Contest Announced

The Municipal Art Society of New York announced the top ten finalists in the “OUTRAGE!!! Nasty Newsrack Photo Competition” today in advance of the selection of the winner scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at the next Newsrack Committee meeting.

MAS launched the “OUTRAGE! Nasty Newsrack Photo Competition” to highlight the rampant legal violations of the City’s ordinance regulating newsracks in New York City, and received more than 200 submissions. The winner will receive a $100 dollar gift certificate to the Urban Center Bookstore at 457 Madison Avenue as first prize.

Photo entries that illustrate flagrant and widespread violations of the current NYC newsrack law include a photo that reveals an empty, dirty newsrack chained to a pole less than three feet away from a fire hydrant. Another photo shows six newsracks (one of which with broken plexiglass that is being used as a trash can) in a bus stop zone less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant. The bus in the photo is forced to discharge its passengers outside of the bus stop zone to avoid depositing them amidst the racks. All 10 finalists are attached.

The NYC Newsrack Committee, a coalition of civic organizations and BIDs, is focused on a discussion of why the current laws regulating newsracks are not working and what can be done to improve them. A survey conducted by several BIDs in the Committee (full list below) counted hundreds of violations. The Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership BID counted eighty-five violations in October, 2007 alone.

The Committee is exploring new newsrack policies and designs that have been successful in other cities, such as Houston, Dallas and San Diego. Unlike New York, these cities limit the number of newsracks at any given corner, have strict criteria regulating their design, and allow only steel boxes; plastic boxes are prohibited.

The Committee has called on the NYC Department of Transportation to enforce the current laws and urged the City Council to enact more effective legislation.

NYC Newsrack Committee Members include: The Municipal Art Society, 34th Street Partnership, Alliance for Downtown NY, Association of Residential Boards, Brooklyn Heights Association, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, CIVITAS, Columbus Avenue BID, East 60th Neighborhood Association, East 86th Street Merchants & Residents Association, East 60’s Neighborhood Association, Fashion Center BID, Grand Central Partnership, LANDMARK WEST!, Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, New Yorkers for Parks, Times Square Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, Union Square Partnership (list in formation)

BIDs that were surveyed include: 34th Street Partnership, Lower East Side BID, Metrotech BID (survey conducted done by 34SP), East 86th St. (survey conducted done by 34SP), Flatiron BID, Kingsbridge BID (Bronx), Grand St. BID (Bklyn), Downtown Alliance, Sunset Park BID (Bklyn), Columbus Avenue BID, Sunset Park BID, Fashion Center BID, 5th Avenue BID, Times Square Alliance.