<body> Public Ad Campaign: The $1M billboard: City demands Astor Place building pay huge fines over 'illegal' signs
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The $1M billboard: City demands Astor Place building pay huge fines over 'illegal' signs

I love how building owners and outdoor advertising companies act as if they are completely unaware of both the penalties and the laws regarding outdoor advertising signage. Both OTR Media, and the co-op board at this location were well aware of the reasons this sign was in violation, and have been since the first summons. The buildings department does not suddenly send you a letter saying you owe $995,000.00. This happens after repeated attempts to serve both the company and the building with little to no response from either, a flagrant disregard for the city, its residents and our laws. This disregard runs so deep that the companies are appaled when the city actually enforces its laws and demands compliance. If for some strange reason OTR Media was not aware of the rules and regulations regarding the erection of outdoor advertising signage in New York City, I suggest they have someone look into it because that's a big part of the bussiness they are tryin run.

I looked into the DOB website for details regarding the violations at this site and 59 4th avenue doesn't seem to exist. This is strange, and I will look into why over the next few days.

Friday, March 27th 2009, 9:24 AM


Billboard for Boost Mobile on building at Fourth Ave. and Ninth St. in Greenwich Village may prove costly for co-op board.

It's Manhattan's million-dollar billboard.

That's nearly the amount the city is fining a coop board, billboard company and two installers over a giant sign on a building near Astor Place.

More than 70 violations - totaling $955,000 - have been doled out over the single billboard, which the Buildings Department says violates zoning laws.

The groups slapped with the hefty fines call them shockingly high since signs have been plastered on the structure for more than 70 years.

"It's absolutely outrageous, especially in this economy," said Ari Noe, CEO of OTR Media. "It's great income for the building owners."

The hubbub over the billboard, which currently advertises Boost Mobile, is the latest in a series of disputes between sign companies and the city.

Since the 1930s, a vintage sign advertising men's suit was painted on the side of the building on the corner of Ninth St. and Fourth Ave., said Patrick Curley, a member of the coop board who has lived there since 1978.

Then about six year ago, billboard companies began approaching the coop board - Fourth Avenue Loft Corp. - about placing ads there. The board charges a flat fee of $5,000 a month, which goes toward exterior improvements and other building upkeep.

Starting in 2007, inspectors began fining the coop board, OTR Media and two sign hanging companies for billboards advertising "King of the Hill" and the Turner Cartoon Network.

"Suddenly, they're noticing it. I don't understand what their reasoning is," said Curley, 57.

The violations, which come with penalties as high as $25,000, cover multiple offenses, including not having a permit, hanging an ad exceeding 500 square feet and placing the sign more than 40 feet above the curb.

Noe, though, believes the billboards should be grandfathered in since the space has continually featured advertisements for so many years.

But Buildings officials say new billboards are simply not allowed in that district.

"We will not tolerate any individuals or companies who disregard the law to make a profit," department spokesman Tony Sclafani said.

Some passersby couldn't believe the city was targeting what looks like a run-of-the-mill billboard.

"That's more than ridiculous," said Benson Graves, 21, manager of a nearby Ben & Jerry's. "There are posters all over the city just like that."

A hearing about the violations is set for April 16.

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Blogger brianmedia said...

The Media Company and The Co-Op Board should get the best Civil Attorney possible and research cases in states like Los Angeles and take this all the way!! This is corruption and a monopoly. I am sure The City overlooks plenty that are just like it by conglomerate Media Companies they are already in bed with. If there was a sign on the wall for years before then can not demand it be taken down just because Property Owners and Small business have found a way to make money. NYC should be ashamed of themselves and if the Propert Owners and Media Companies get some BALLS and fight the will WIN! Stop violating our constitutional rights because your not getting a cut!

Blogger Steve Lambert said...

Wow, this is great! I can't believe the city is finally enforcing it's own laws. If the board and the companies received their first fine in 2007, they knew what they were doing. Enough with the greed!

Blogger Steve Lambert said...

Maybe I spoke too soon. If the co-op and the billboard company want to make money on advertising, they should be able to. But the ads shouldn't face the street. So let them install ads inside the hallways, apartments, stairwells, and elevators of their apartment building. Then they can have their ads and their profits too and public space doesn't have to be sullied at the same time. It's win-win!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

public space? i am at a loss for words here

I did not realize when a Property Owner has a building that his roof and/or wall is "public space".

So, if it is "public space", then you should have no problem contributing to a property owner's captial when they need work to be done.

Blogger Steve Lambert said...

Ah, you don't understand the concept of public space... I'm sorry.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Steve. You are just so intelligent . Sorry we can't all compete with your genius mind.

Blogger blahblahblah123 said...

This is so ridiculous! If the building owner agrees to post a sign the city should have no right to ticket - ESPECIALLY a building that has historically posted advertisements. NY is so money hungry these days.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Jordan and the rest of his cronies think this is an easy win for the city, but it is not.


Also, no media company should pay ANY fine or take down their signs until there is equal enforcement for all!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a ruling yesterday for NYC Billboards.

Will be interesting to see what happens when it is appealed by the Plantiffs.

Remember this: There was a ban in LA, but that ruling was overturned.

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