Main | Monday, August 21, 2006

Scaffolding Ad Crackdown Imminent?

Today's Metro has a bit of good news. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer appears ready to crack down on the abuse of scaffolding advertising, something that has irked me ever since I got to town.

The way the scam works: 1) Building owners schedule some kind of repairs or maintenance. 2) Scaffolding goes up to protect pedestrians from falling tools/debris. 3) Building owners sell space on scaffolding to advertisers, who reap huge visibility. 4) The repairs conclude (if they ever took place at all), yet the scaffolding and the advertising remains indefinitely. It's a huge blackmarket industry for advertisers who are happy to plaster ads for HGTV or Lipitor along several hundred feet of a prominent landmarked building. Above, see the Volkswagen Rabbit ads on the glorious 500 Fifth, a picture I took at lunchtime today.

Aside from being more visual pollution, these ads are often illegal and always an obnoxity (not a word, but should be). I have never gotten a decent photo of the Flatiron Building in five years, thanks to the eternal "temporary" scaffolding and the Citibank ads that reside upon it. I'll be very interested to see how successful Stringer is with this campaign. After all, the business of New York is business, and it's very hard to tell people they can't have millions in ad revenue anymore.

UPDATE: After work, I walked around the corner to get a picture of the fabulous art deco facade of the Graybar Building, which when it was built in 1927 was the largest office building in the world. However, the entire block-long facade is covered by ads for reality shows. FUCK! Oh well, here's somebody else's picture of what I wanted to show y'all.

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