Bronxites demand end to illegal ads

Sticker advertisements for ‘Cash for Cars’, such as this one appearing at the on-ramp to I 95 along Baychester Avenue, are appearing throughout Bronx neighborhoods.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Franciosa

“Your ad should not be here” is what many Bronx residents are saying after discovering plastic corrugated signs and stickers defacing their neighborhood.

Life-long Bronx resident Stephen Franciosa explained that he began seeing corrugated signs advertising ‘Cash for Cars’ and stickers popping all over the Baychester area and has spent months taking them down from telephone poles in front of his own Bronx home.

Franciosa added he has seen these same signs appearing in Pelham Bay and Throggs Neck as well.

He did some investigating and discovered a post dated May 29, 2014 on a Queens neighborhood blog regarding these same signs.

The blog complained that the ads were appearing at almost every intersection in north Flushing from College Point Boulevard to Murray Street and 28th to 35th avenues.

Some were even glued to poles using an industrial strength adhesive.

Franciosa said that the signs are costly to remove.

According to a New York City Department of Sanitation spokeswoman, the law prohibits the placement of signs and stickers on public property and perpetrators are subject to a violation and fine.

She added the current crop of Cash for Cars advertisers have been issued violations.

“This is thousands of dollars worth of damage to public property and these individuals don’t care. This is willful destruction of public property.” said Franciosa.

Franciosa contacted one of the telephone number posted on these ads in an attempt to speak with the person responsible, but he was greeted with an automated message.

“They think a telephone pole is a bulletin board for them to use,” he added. “I’m afraid if this goes unchecked then other businesses will employ this same tactic. The City Council should make it a priority to change the law so people like this are prosecuted and let everyone know that this practice will not be tolerated.”

“I’ve personally taken down about 600 of these ‘Cash for Cars’ signs,” said John Provetto, a Country Club resident who volunteers his time working alongside Community Board 10 and the 45th Precinct in removing graffiti, corrugated advertising signs and stickers.

Armed with an arsenal of tools, including a tree pruner and a wire cutter, Provetto goes to work removing the various types of ads from utility poles, the back of traffic signs and from highway fences.

He uses a saw to remove the more stubborn ones that are either heavily stapled, strapped or glued to the public stucture.

Each week he spends approximately two 5-hour days removing the signs.

“It’s a black eye on the neighborhood,” he added. “The area, the community board and the precinct aren’t going to tolerate this anymore. The most important part of all of this is to stay on top of it.”

Kenneth Kearns, CB 10 district manager, said Provetto; John Marano, CB 10 vice chairman and himself have tackled the removal of these signs.

“These signs are illegally posted and this is nothing short of public defacement of property,” explained Councilman James Vacca. “This has been a problem for many years and we have seen signs advertising used cars and real estate agencies hung high and low from telephone poles and other similar structures.”

Vacca urges people to call 311 whenever they see such signs and to avoid calling these advertised numbers as they have the potential to be scams.

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