<body> Public Ad Campaign: No Longer Empty-Via Urban Prankster
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Longer Empty-Via Urban Prankster

VIA Urban Prankster

Thanks to the real estate bubble bursting and the ensuing recession, there are tons of vacant retail spaces all around Manhattan. What to do with all this prime space? One solution is to cover it with illegal advertising.

No Longer Empty has a much more elegant solution. The group is working with landlords to turn vacant storefronts into temporary art galleries that are free and open to the public. They currently have a gallery in the ground level of the new Caledonia luxury hotel on 16th Street and 10th Avenue by the High Line. I checked it out last week and it was awesome. What a novel idea! Using empty space for the public good!

My thoughts:

I love Urban Prankster for the sheer magnitude of amazing, often outlandish, public projects Charlie presents almost daily. Yesterday's post isn't all that typical for the site because it's not really about a prank. In fact if there were a prank here, it is what usually happens to empty storefronts in NYC, they get converted to giant illegal street level billboards.

That said, No Longer Empty's usage of vacant storefronts provides a wonderful counterpoint to InWindow's claim that using empty storefronts to promote private commercial messages is the best way to take care of the urban blight that has been caused by the recession. InWindow went so far as to say neighborhoods with too many empty storefronts would surely succumb to the broken window theory, if the storefronts weren't immediately covered with ads. If this is all about saving neighborhoods from the ravages of the recession and the loss of community that comes with urban blight, I think No Longer Empty's solution beats out InWindow's any day.

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