Monday, June 30, 2008

Riverwalk Signage Simply Unneighborly or Possibly Illegal ?

The folks at Hudson Related have in the last few days erected a new sign advertising the Riverwalk complex on Roosevelt Island. My question is whether the signage is just unneighborly as it is too large for the area and we have to see it each time we take the Tram onto the island or does it cross the line and is actually illegal?

New York City via the Department of Buildings defines that signage that is classified as advertising is illegal if placed upon scaffolding. You may recall the 2006 case , reported by the NY Times, where a six story billboard was placed on scaffolding that was advertising two giant Scotch bottles directly across from the New York Public Library. Approximately one year ago the DOB started a campaign against illegal ads and signage placed upon buildings including scaffolding. Would this sign fall under that campaign?

Per the DOB:

What is an Advertising Sign?
>A sign that directs attention to goods and services at a location other than the premises where the sign is located. These signs are only permitted in certain zoning districts throughout the city.

What is NOT an Advertising Sign?
>A sign that directs attention to a business at the same location as the sign. A non-commercial sign unrelated to any commercial business.

Based on these definitions the oversized Riverwalk signage may not be illegal as it is drawing attention to the availability of apartments at that location and not products or services provided elsewhere. But then again it is pointing to a commercial enterprise?

It may not be illegal but it is certainly an eyesore and at 5 stories high quite unneighborly. Maybe I am being a tad melodramatic as the sign is just that ... a sign.


  1. I am okay with that sign. It is definitely legal. The two statements in the answer to 'What is not an advertising sign?' is an 'or' construct.

    The developers are trying to reach the Manhattan folks with that sign.

  2. It's just a sign. I'd be more offended if it was a half naked person across a building OR if there were other buildings that were opposite the sign that had to stare at it all day.

    At the end of the day there's bigger things to worry about on the island than a sign.