hi Henry, Taxing for billboard usuage excellent idea.
Dear Henry: I am very fond of receiving you e-mailings and I find your insights very useful. I think you are wrong on the billboard issue. Two weeks ago we here at the MAS posted on our website www.mas.org a short photo essay on illegal advertising on construction sheds. This is a problem that has mushroomed in the last few months and all this advertising is illegal. The Buildings Department is doing very little to crack down on it. They did crack down on the illegal advertising on the Flatiron Building and if you go to that corner now and look out from Madison Square Park at the Flatiron building I think the construction shed there looks a lot better then the one across the street which is oversized and adorned with a garrish car ad. I don't think the city should encourage this kind of blight by collecting half of the revenue. The city has a perfectly good law on its books that prohibits this kind of advertising and I think they should enforce it, and not encourage it. I am sure that the construction sheds without the advertising stay up for shorter amounts of time.
The slow-news-day event was pioneered by Jay Goldin when he was City Comptroller and Chuck Schumer when he was in CongressI think Bob Abrams was really the first when he was BP.
But Starquest, There is no control over what these !@#$%^ billboards have on them. The Calvin Klein on E. Houston Street has become a landmark of porn. But perhaps the latest, most obscene symptom of "End of the Empire" consciousness are the two masterfully done what, 5 story high homosexual porno covering the two corners of the Abercrombie Fitch structure at 56 & 5th. Abercrombie & Fitch???? Please, Starquest, do something to quell this bottom-of-the-barrel, profit-above-all manifestation of the downfall. I don't know whether making them income-producing is always going to be justification. There has to be guidelines. Philadelphia's 30th St. train station is one of the handsomest most perfect stations in the country. The grand hall is lined with exquisitely wrought 5 story high windows, now covered with 5 story tall advertising banners. The first time I saw them they sickened me and I called Amtrack, the Phila chapter of the AIA and City Hall. The answer of course, was that the banners, at that time, brown Banana Republic banners, bring some tens of thousands monthly income. That is the only sacredness. Can you do something about these things? Soon I will write to update uou on McCarren Pool.
Here is one on which we disagree. I say, get rid of theadvertisements on the scaffolding. Yes, plain scaffolding is unattractive,but advertisements intrude into our lives in too many ways already----Iprefer to add no further sounds into mt life, so I do not wear hearingdevices connected to music, or whatever---I just think my thoughts. I cando the same when I look at a blank scaffold, but not when I look at anadvertisement on one. Especially for visitors to our city, but even for therest of us, less hubbub, please!
Henry:Once again you hit the nail right on the head. I agree that the flap over scaffold advertising is a "slow news day event" (I think the concept predates Schumer). I agree completely that the ads should be paid for with revenues going to the city. As I remember the present City law allows residential advertising on scaffolds but no from other sources. Also there is a law on the books about how long the scaffolds can remain in place (talk to Carol Greeter, she passed it). But, as usual, the problem is with the enforcement. At any rate, paying a hefty price for putting an ad in place should be based on he length of time it can be seen -- much like a TV commercial. If nothing else that would get the scaffolds down within the stated period.Another way to turn a nuisance into a revenue producer is to charge a rental fee for the sidewalk "information and news' boxes. They are becoming relics in the days of Internet communications and are used by all kinds of profit making operations including schools, religious orders, retail stores, etc. I doubt if it's unconstitutional to require a small rental fee or a time-limited rental of street space. There should also be a high deposit to cover the cost of removing the boxes if unused for a given period of time.While they will remain as a nuisance for pedestrians and vehicles looking for a parking spot where they can open the door, at least there will be some added money to cover it.
Star> Although the scaffolding is located above the sidewalk, there has been aproliferation of these eyesores because of the onerous local law 11. Inmaking deals with the scaffolding companies, building owners can recoup asmall part of the unfunded mandate.> Chiming in from the North Country
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