Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Get your junk off our poles

From the Queens Chronicle:

The placing of fliers, signs and posters around the city is an easy — and often free — means of advertising. Taping up signs for a missing pet or stapling a sign on a telephone pole pointing passersby in the direction of a garage sale is seemingly harmless but the line is fine.

“Forest Hills, south of Queens Boulevard has a long tradition of garage sales in the warmer weather,” Jon Torodash, a community activist and candidate for City Council, said. “These are often advertised by what are probably illegally posted but generally well-tolerated signs. Often we’ll also see fliers about missing pets.”

Recently, a series of posters advertising a day camp at Queens Gymnasia in Elmhurst were taped on trees along 69th Road in Forest Hills.

When asked to comment, an unidentified gentleman who answered the phone at the school said he did not know signs had been taped to trees in Forest Hills and that he would look into the issue and call back. He never did.

A few of the signs have since been ripped down. The distinction of what is considered a well-tolerated sign and a quality-of-life issue is, however, debatable.

According to the Department of Sanitation, “It is illegal for any person to affix any handbill, poster, notice, sign, advertisement, sticker or other printed material upon any tree by any means.”

Violators of this law face a $150 to $200 fine for first-time offenses. Second and subsequent offenses bump the fine up to a range of $300 to $550.


Anonymous said...

Fine them. They will stop.The problem is that they don't get fined.
I personally take down ANY sign on a tree and most signs on telephone poles and the light poles in my neighborhood (missing pets get a pass). If everyone takes the signs down the problem will end. I have my area covered, how about you?

Anonymous said...

They go around in the thick of night using cherry picker trucks to post them high up on poles where you can't reach them. NYPD caught one if them a few weeks ago near the Grand Central Parkway.
Keep taking them down if you see them ...anywhere.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 1,

I feel and do the same. I have removed literally hundreds of them over the last few years.

I think it's especially good to remove the signs in front of passersby and destroy them on the spot while others watch. It makes people realize that they can (and should) be taking a role in making their neighborhood look better.

I also think it's good to mention here that I was told it was a good idea for me, as a citizen, to remove these illegal signs and dispose of them in the trash - and that I was told this by the NYC police.

Yes, that's right. The local police have absolutely no problem with citizens taking down these signs as long as you don't do anything risky or unsafe like climb up the side of a railroad trestle to get to one. The NYC police also insist (and rightfully so) that the signs be disposed of properly - in the trash.

If you want to do something about illegal street signs, here's a link to a web site that shows you how to make tools that will help you remove them:


Be safe but be persistent!

Anonymous said...

Proponents of this activity refer to themselves as "Guerrilla Marketers". Trying to glamorize themselves much like graffiti "Artists". Tear 'em all down and fine them. Let's not forget political ad's as well, they're illegal too.

Anonymous said...

I've been reporting these signs using the 311 website. Its easy to do and the signs come down within a few days.

Anonymous said...

Fine them. They will stop.The problem is that they don't get fined.

yet another example of a growing list of things your politicians don't take responsibility to do.

but don't worry - no one will charge them with this:

a never ending parade of the clueless and silly provide photo-op fodder for pointless weeklies to reinforce the myth that they care and are doing something useful with our taxes.

funny how you don't see posters for 'got junk' and 'latino sabor' events in Manhattan. maybe the reason is that those people just do a better job than queens residents at tearing them down.

at least that is what you tell yourselves.....

Anonymous said...

Re: "... photo-op fodder for pointless weeklies ..."

Wasn't it a pointless weekly that did this story? Or is it that the weeklies other than the Chronicle are pointless?

Anonymous said...

Or is it that the weeklies other than the Chronicle are pointless?

We have a winner!

Anonymous said...

For Anonymous #5

"I've been reporting these signs using the 311 website. Its easy to do and the signs come down within a few days. "

Really. Well that's great for you but when these signs started showing up in MY neighborhood a few years ago, I called 311 many many many many many times about the same set of signs and nothing happened for over a month.

Then I built my sign removal tool and took them down myself and have been doing so ever since.

There was even a sign that I left up in one spot just to see if anyone would EVER respond to my complaint. The sign was nailed to a NYC STREET TREE (making the fines HUGE) and was an ad for an actual brick and mortar restaurant that had an address here in the city. I called 311 about this particular sign MORE THAN TEN TIMES to complain. That sign stayed up from September until March when I finally took it down myself with a box cutter.

I don't know what neighborhood YOU live in, Anonymous #5, but it can't possibly be mine. Calling 311 about these signs repeatedly around here gets ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSE.

Taking matters into our own hands is the ONLY way we can keep our neighborhood free of this crap.

Rick D said...

To (one of the) Anonymous(es):

You mentioned that the NYPD have absolutely no problem with pulling down these signs. Well, for the most part, yes. But four years ago, my buddy and I were threatened by a cop who saw what we were doing.

His precinct commander found out that evening.

I have a feeling he may have had a business that advertises this way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick D,

All I can say is that at a neighborhood community meeting where several NYC police officers were in attendance (including the captain) the police specifically stated that citizens are perfectly free to take these illegal signs down themselves provided they dispose of them properly (in the trash) and that they don't do anything to jeopardize their own safety or the safety of others while removing them.

This reply came in response to a series of questions about removing these signs:

"Is it okay to rip these signs down if they're put up with staples or nails?" (Yes)

"What about those signs that are glued onto metal poles with tar or screwed into wooden poles with screws and washers? Can we cut these down since we can't rip them down?" (Yes)

The NYC police were unequivocal - citizens can (and should) take these signs down.

georgetheatheist said...

Why don't the cops get out of their patrol cars and take the signs down? Too much work for 100G's per year?

Anonymous said...

To georgetheatheist,

The Department of Sanitation is tasked with the removal of the signs on poles and street lights and my understanding is that the Parks Department is the entity responsible for removing signs secured to trees.

Many of the illegal signs are very high up and are secured to metal light poles or to the backs of traffic signs with big blobs of congealed tar.

Many of the illegal signs are very high up and have been drilled into wooden utility poles with screws and washers making it essentially impossible to simply pull them down.

So as far as removing them, the police would need some sort of equipment to get them down, which they likely don'y carry with them. (Maybe they could shoot them down! Har-dee har har!)

Also, I'd prefer the police patrol the neighborhood more and not spend time taking down signs (or picking up garbage or sweeping or tree pruning or I don't know what your point is - that the police don't earn their keep or that police work isn't worth what they're paid?). I disagree.

Anyway, thank you georgetheatheist, for giving me the opportunity to respond and write more about this topic. It is one that I wish everyone would be talking about.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous #z1 and #3 (#etc): I live in North Flushing and have been taking them down also, for about 10 years. Recently, when I had casually mentioned, to Paul Graziano, I just got home from a shift of 'Illegal Postering Detail", he informed Tony Avella that I was doing this and Tony Avella asked me to send him pictures. Sanitation never gave any of them a ticket/summons, so I feel I'd just as well remove them myself, if they're not going to summons anyone. I can save the city time and our money of taking 1 sign/poster off in 1 or 2 blocks.

Joe Moretti said...

This is very similar to the same conversation we had about the illegally parked cars from auto body repair shops that park cars on the street that have no license plates or registration stickers, that they are selling with "For Sale" written on the windows. Take the law in your own hands. Tear down the posters and trash the cars. But for some reason some of you got pissed about the car thing. Bottom line none of us should have to be doing any of this if the city would just enforce the laws already on the books and come down hard with fines on such companies. That is the bigger problem in Queens.

Anonymous said...

All you have to do is tear it down. No fuss. No drama. It's called taking responsibility for your own neighborhood.

georgetheatheist said...

Many of these signs are within arms' reach level. I've removed them myself on my block with a crow bar. Now, IF the guys who put them up see me, this could turn into an altercation. No? It's my "job", an unarmed citizen, to remove the signs? How about the graffiti I see on the buildings in my neighborhood. It's ok for me to paint that over?

What does the patrol car do with it's 100G/year occupants? It ignores the posting of these illegal signs. It ignores the illegal parking of automotive dealers on the sidewalks. It ignores the spray painting of buildings and overpasses. It ignores the illegals looking for work congregating all day long in front of the paint stores.

Seems like you're getting your money's worth for those 100G's.

Queens Crapper said...

Sanitation police are the ones responsible for enforcement re: illegal signs. They certainly aren't cleaning up illegal dumping and burned out vehicles, so why not make them remove the signs?

georgetheatheist said...

Crapman. The tenor of a good deal of the commentary herein is that "officialdom" has given the ok for the citizenry to voluntarily "do something". Yet those highly paid actually responsible for "doing the something" dont do anything.

It takes me 5 minutes - tops - to remove a sign from a pole. A cop can't do that?

Anonymous said...

There is a special police unit for fining these posters - in fact they fined our Mayor sbout $100,000 when he was first running. They even proudly display the news
article in
their office.

Also it very difficult to track some of these offenders (i.e. movers) as they use disposal phones and the number constantly changes.

I too have been taking them down for years.

Anonymous said...

You ARE allowed to post signs as Constitutionally protected Free Speech. HOWEVER, they MUST be taken down within 24 hrs.

Anonymous said...

Last poster - WRONG, WRONG, WRONG

Anonymous said...

So to the guy that says its freedom of speech and its ok to do:

I am going to get plastic signs and write cash for cars on them and then get adhesive tar, smear it all over the front of your house and on your car and attach my signs to it, then when you complain, i'm going to say its my freedom of speech to do that.

The light poles, telephone poles, trees, etc. are city property, not a regular person's property to put crap up on, if you do not have permission from the city to do it then its illegal, just as if I don't have your permission to put signs on your house or car its illegal.

Anonymous said...

Guess he thinks falsely yelling fire in a theater or night clib is also freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

Good job all of you who tear down the signs; I do the same but sometimes it's not easy as they use lots of tape. One guy last year glued signs for guitar lesson all over Forest Hills so it was impossible to remove. I encourage everyone to get out there and remove signs as soon as you see them and let's not encourage these people by leaving them up.

Anonymous said...

All such posters and flyers are being removed in the Kew Gardens area by some concerned residents. So if you are thinking of putting up your garage sale, day care, house cleaning or bankruptcy service - think twice - you are wasting your time.

Anonymous said...

I take signs down too. I just removed 30 I will buy house signs off our utility poles. It's horrible