Day 178

Once-illicit shadows

June 25th, 2012

Since 1940, commercial billboards located closer than 200 feet to a highway have been illegal in NYC (unless they're advertising the business on whose property they stand), but this ban has regularly been flouted for decades without much in the way of consequences. Recently, however, the city has started enforcing the law, and the owner of this billboard has adapted. Back in 2009, you could find a seemingly risqué advertisement for a proctology clinic on this structure, but by 2011, all three sign faces were promoting non-commercial organizations — the New York Lottery, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, and the YAI Network — bringing the billboard into compliance with regulations, though not doing anything to reduce visual distractions on the BQE. (Back in January, as you may recall, a different lottery billboard — this one illegal, because it also bore an ad for Dunkin' Donuts — toppled onto the BQE.)

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