Commercial Street (And Ugly Too)
November 3rd, 2005

Now when, after 14 years of failed attempts, the city finally has entered into an agreement for new “street furniture” — 3,650 newsstands, bus shelters and public toilets, etc. — one question the Municipal Art Society has is: Will they all be as ugly and crass as the stuff on the streets now?

They hope not, as they wrote in a letter to the mayor, asking that the new designs be “simple, elegant and timeless” — and that the public have a chance to see them in advance. If instead, the news racks and kiosks and toilets are poorly designed, “they will surely detract from the quality of city life, as does so much of our existing street furniture.”

It’s bad enough that so much on the street is “ramshackle,” as the society puts it. The current street furniture is also increasingly full of “obnoxious” and “oppressive” advertisements — much of it illegal. “Fact: all advertising on sidewalk sheds is illegal, unless the sign is for an establishment located in that building,” Vanessa Gruen writes on the Municipal Art Society Web site.

By on November 3, 2005, 11:38 pm
In category: Arts,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Commercial Street (And Ugly Too)”

  1. Larry Littlefield Says:
    November 4th, 2005 at 9:21 am

    “Fact: all advertising on sidewalk sheds is illegal, unless the sign is for an establishment located in that building.?

    Also a fact: virtually every sign in the city violates the zoning laws, which are extremely strict, but enforcement actions are only taken against the businesses owned by, employing or patronized by the “wrong” sort of people. This is yet another aspect of the New York idea — make everything illegal, and (depending on the rule) let the insiders get away with anything, or harrass the outsiders over everything.

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