View Full Version : Billboards on Subway Entrances

October 14th, 2003, 08:46 PM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

Bright idea for subways


Monday, October 13th, 2003

Lively ad at Broadway and 86th St. is a sign of 80 more to come.

Times Square could be coming to a subway station near you.

By late December, broadcast giant Clear Channel Communications plans to set stations from Wall Street to 110th St. aglow with 80 electronic billboards - animated digital images that look like television commercials without sound.

This new frontier in advertising, fueled by tiny, light-emitting diodes, is expected to pull in $15 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

But not everyone is keen to unleash the kilowatts.

"It's like bringing Times Square to every local community," said Assemblyman Scott Stringer (D-Manhattan), who is drafting legislation that would ban the electronic displays in residential zones.

Community Board 7 has logged several complaints from people who live on the upper West Side, where ads already are burning above the street-level entrances to two Broadway stations, 86th St. and 79th St.

"They are very bright and there's a fear they are a distraction to cars," said Penny Ryan, the board's district manager.

Mary Folliet of the upper West Side, who teaches literature and writing, said she finds the light close to unbearable.

"I hate it," Folliet said near the screen at the 86th St./Broadway entrance to the No. 1 and 9 trains. "It's just more [visual] pollution."

The wireless displays are at their most effective after dark.

"At night, these really pop," explained Tim Stauning, president of Clear Channel's New York office, who said he doubts they are a distraction to drivers.

"Can it be viewed from the road? Yes, perhaps," he said. "But at the end of the day, it's really designed for pedestrian traffic."

Cabbies shrugged off the distraction factor, and some riders said they'd happily keep the lights on - if it staves off new subway fare hikes.

"All the money raised goes back into the [transportation] system," said MTA spokesman Tom Kelly. "It's a way to increase our revenues and benefit our customers."

Still, Manhattan writer Nancy Bott, 63, said she'd prefer to keep her subway unplugged.

"It offends me," she said. "It's in your face. Everywhere, you are being bombarded by ads."

Bott's husband, Robert, took a more lighthearted view of the new billboard fad.

"Visually, it looks nice," said Robert Bott, 64, an investment manager. "It shows how far technology has come. It's not a problem for me."

October 15th, 2003, 12:15 PM
One more step to a futuristic "5th Element" - like city, where every public surface is an ad. Exciting. I can't wait to see these babies in action.

TLOZ Link5
October 15th, 2003, 12:57 PM
Yeah, but I could do without all that smog they had in the Fifth Element.

December 12th, 2003, 11:54 AM
December 12, 2003

Residents Help Banish a Blinking Billboard


At 79th and Broadway on the West Side, an electronic billboard like the one further uptown that was removed.

Across a busy intersection, they startle and distract, and that is the point: 30-by-60-inch electronic billboards, essentially big-screen televisions, that sit above subway entrances and blink, flash and zoom through computer-animated ads.

They have been popping up all over the city, a boon to the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but some residents of the Upper West Side drew a line in the sand: Not in our neighborhood.

Led by Assemblyman Scott M. Stringer's office, they wrote letters to the transportation authority, picketed and created a Web site, www.stopmta.org .

What are they fighting for? To save their neighborhood, they said, from becoming Times Square north. This week they declared victory when the company behind the screens took down the one at 86th Street and Broadway. "People in this community thought this was advertising pollution at its highest level," Mr. Stringer said yesterday, flanked by an Olympus camera ad that replaced the screen this week.

The screen at 86th and Broadway went up in October, part of a pilot program for the displays by Clear Channel Communications.

Over the last four years, the company has installed more than 800 backlit print ads above subway stations. Recently, as part of a $15 million contract, the company began installing the new electronic screens. So far, 46 screens have been put up, all above subway entrances, and the company is planning 34 more.

The authority remains committed to the displays, said Tom Kelly, an M.T.A. spokesman, pointing out that the revenue is valuable to commuters. Mr. Kelly added that the authority did not force Clear Channel to remove the ad, but only passed along the concerns of the community. "The neighborhood expressed their concern to the M.T.A.," he said, "and we expressed their concern to Clear Channel, who said they would find another location for the sign, in a spirit of neighborhood cooperation."

Residents complained that the signs were too bright and intrusive at night, that they could distract drivers and clashed with the character of the neighborhood. "I thought Times Square was coming to the West Side," said Susan Rosenfeld, who was one of dozens to call Mr. Stringer's office to complain.

Yesterday, however, most pedestrians huddled inside a bus shelter at 86th and Broadway, said they had not noticed anything new about the entrance to the downtown 1 and 9 trains. Vivienne Roumani, a resident, said she kind of liked the new display. She saw it as part of the natural evolution of technology. "There's no reason to be stuck to the old way of doing things," she said.

Several blocks south, at the 79th Street station, another display throbbed away. "I hate `em," said Kate Sharp, before crossing the street. But most pedestrians just hurried past.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

December 12th, 2003, 01:04 PM
First of all, don't even get me started about the dam.n fare hike. For a system whose ridership has not dropped, and whose fares went up 33% on a system that, just a few years ago had a SURPLUS, it is AMAZING that they are calling it cash strapped.

Remember the whole contestation of fares just last year? That was all dropped, and now they are thinking of bumping it up again.

THEY SPEND WHAT THEY GET! If they have a surplus in ANY year, everybody sticks their hands out asking for either more money, or money back. So they spend as close as they can to the budget.

Then ALL the projects go off schedule and over budget (I have honestly never seen a slower turnaround time on construction outside of maybe the department of public works for NYC).

These ads are obnoxiously bright, and I can see where they would be an eyesore in certain neighborhoods not reknown for their "hi tech" atmosphere.

I would like to see them install in Chinatown. I would also like to see how long these easily accessable systems last....

December 12th, 2003, 01:52 PM
Amen, Ninjahedge. I'm so incredibly sick of seeing an advertisement on every inch of space in this city. I don't pay $4 a day to ride a subway filled with corporate shills.

December 12th, 2003, 03:31 PM
I especially hate the one-theme subway cars, where all the ad space is taken by one company. Really nice when you don't have a book or newspaper to read.

December 12th, 2003, 03:33 PM
The advertising subsidies the subway fare to a good extent and is easy to ignore. Is anyone here willing to pay a higher subway fare for an ad free ride?

December 12th, 2003, 03:53 PM
Nah, but I reserve the right to gripe about it. I wonder if my grandfather complained about these...

TLOZ Link5
December 12th, 2003, 04:34 PM
I especially hate the one-theme subway cars, where all the ad space is taken by one company. Really nice when you don't have a book or newspaper to read.

One side advertises Rémy Martin, the other luxury towncars. What's the combined message here?

December 12th, 2003, 04:47 PM
Drink and let the chauffer drive.

TLOZ Link5
December 12th, 2003, 05:12 PM
Drink and let the chauffer drive.

Tee hee. :P

January 14th, 2005, 07:20 AM