When an individual or organization wants to install something on public property, they are supposed to get a permit from the city agency that holds title to it. But this is western Queens - the rules are different here.
Last year, Maspeth Federal Savings built a circular brick pit at the corner of 69th Street and Grand Avenue to host a new town Christmas tree on a piece of land which happens to be owned by DOT. The previous tree had been planted right in the ground. Since the co-sponsor, Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, is pretty much run by Maspeth Federal, they went along with it. (When individual members were asked about it, first they said they didn't know anything about it, later they just shrugged.) Not only was the bank required to obtain a permit from DOT, but they also needed approval from the Art Commission of the City of New York for a permanent installation in this public space.
As if it weren't ugly enough, the Christmas tree pit recently became host to a black tombstone-like monument dedicated to Maspeth Federal's one-time vice president who passed away last year. He was a nice guy who probably wouldn't appreciate his name and image being featured on a town eyesore. A short distance away are bricks that display the names of the bank president's parents and the parents of the bank's lawyer... This despite the fact that the bank has a lovely blooming garden on 68th Street which would be a more appropriate setting for these tributes.
And that's not all! The bank has snagged itself some free advertising on P.S. 58 The School of Heroes. Note that the bottom of this banner states "Compliments of Maspeth Federal Savings". Public schools are not the appropriate place for banks to promote themselves. But this is Maspeth, where anything goes and the town bank acts like they own everything. Let's also not forget that they sold the mortgage to the developer of St. Saviour's Church. But in their minds it's all ok because they sponsor an antique car show, a handful of summer concerts, a foot race and a parade.
Prediction: No local politician will raise this issue with the bank, DOT and the Art Commission won't take any action and no local paper will cover the story from this angle. However, there will be loads of photos of the parade and the dedication of the latest assault on Maspeth as if letting this institution run amok on public space is a good thing. And in a few months, MFS will no doubt place some other permanent eyesore at this intersection. Because they believe in treating us all like family.