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1. Vinyl billboards cover windows where New Yorkers live and work. Windows on nearly all six floors of this building are covered with rotating Calvin Klein ads . . . with one exception: According to New York magazine, the man who lives on the left side of the top floor knows Calvin Klein personally.
2. The sidewalks of New York, including Sohos historic bluestones, are covered with stenciled advertisements. Though illegal, none of the perpetrators have been fined, including Reebok, which plastered over 200 "mini billboards" on downtown sidewalks. Graffiti artists, on the other hand, are not only fined but given jail time.
3. Yahoo constructed this towering eyesore in violation of zoning laws for the nearby Noho Historic District. According to a representative of Yahoo!s ad agency, "We thought it would give Yahoo! history even though its brand new." City Council representative Kathryn E. Freed told the New York Times she receives complaints about the sign every day.
4. "Hello. Is anybody out there?" This hand-stenciled graffiti poetically captures the feeling of walking streets lined skyhigh with billboards . . . until one realizes that even New Yorks graffiti is corporate-sponsored; About.com created the stencils as part of a "guerilla marketing" campaign.
5. Vaguely disguised as cargo trucks, mobile billboards or "street blimps" meander the citys streets. Visually impairing and environmentally hazardous, these menacing vehicles not only add to traffic congestion, they turn it into a strategic advantage!
6. Ads on sidewalk sheds are illegal but city officials do not enforce laws regulating them. The Gap in Times Square, for example, is encased in Gap billboards; they cover the entrances to at least six other stores.
7. Mayor Rudolph Guiliani has promised to go after proliferating billboards, yet his police force is one of the biggest offenders. Over ten floors high, the billboard soliciting police recruits from 1 Police Plaza is one of the largest signs in downtown Manhattan.
8. The Gap was first to put up a "wallscape" on 125th Street in Harlem, where such advertisements now line the road. As is the case with lower Manhattan, many of the ads break zoning laws, yet the low (or nonexistent) fines corporations pay is chump change compared to the profits billboards bring in. Some property owners earn so much from the advertising covering buildings that they dont rent out interior space to businesses or residents.
9. Residents of Harlem have been treated to billboards with copulating turtles, gun-toting basketball players, the headline "fuck," masses of liquor brands and lotteries, and Old Navy.
10. Advertisers light up areas surrounding billboards all night. In the residential parts of Soho, Noho, and Tribeca, many of these lights shine directly in peoples windows.
11. While several members of City Council and the Dept. of City Planning have been vocal opponents of proliferating illegal advertising, the City itself profits from selling public space to advertisers on taxis, bus shelters, phone booths, and the back of subway passes.
12. Building are sometimes bought strictly for their advertising potential. Metropolis reported that in 1997, the Times Tower sold for $110 million. Though considered unrentable above the first floor, the four major signs on its north side alone pull in some $7 million annually (ITTs 35-square-foot video screen, Nissin Foodss steaming 40-foot-high Cup O Noodles, Budweisers giant billboard, and the Panasonic Jumbotron). And thats not counting income from its other sides, the news "Zipper" at its base, or the rent paid by its new tenant, a Warner Bros. store.
13. Corporations arent alone in blanketing Manhattan with billboardsthe city plays its part, too. The 42d Street Development Project, responsible for the creation of the "New" Times Square, actually requires buildings in the area to provide outdoor space specifically for advertisements.
14. No comment.