While doing a bit of Spring Cleaning (in October??), I came across a newspaper clipping that sparked my interest in illegal signs. It appeared in the Queens Tribune (http://www.queenstribune.com) Jan. 16-22, 2003 edition.
Reader Saw The Signs And Wants Them Taken Down By Angela Montefinise
A Holliswood resident and self-proclaimed "friend of the environment" recently wrote to the Action Desk to ask a fairly simple question - why are the City trees on his block covered in signs offering employment opportunities?
The reader, who lives on 212th Street between 89th Avenue and Hillside Avenue in Holliswood, said six separate signs offering employment opportunities have "bombarded" his block over the past two months, fastened to Cutt trees and telephone poles. According to City law, nothing can be posted on trees or poles because of the environmental impact on the trees, and on the streets when the signs fall off.
The reader said, "Some of these posters have fallen down, and end up on the sidewalk. Others are nailed into trees, which is totally against the law... My street <212th Street> goes straight on to the Clearview Expressway, so obviously this company is trying to get their signs seen by the dozens of commuters who go up that street every day. But they're making the neighborhood look horrible. I don't need a job. Why do I have to look at these ads?"
The Action Desk first called the Manhattan telephone number listed on the signs, which all had slogans like, "100 Jobs For You," "Looking for a Job?" or "Employment Opportunities." The number went to a recorded message offering jobs "open right now," that pay up to $100 a day in cash. It then provided a second number, which the Desk called. The switchboard operator couldn't give the Desk a name of the company,and said the company was not aware of any laws regarding signs on trees and poles. She then said the signs would be taken down, and apologized.
The Action Desk also called the New York City Department of Sanitation, and was told that inspectors would check out the area. A spokesman explained, "People can tear the signs down, but a company that's not aware of the law will put them right back up. We give violators fines of up to $50 per sign and inform them of what they're doing wrong. Then they stop."
A Sanitation official said that anonymous signs like the ones in Holliswood are common in Queens, and that, usually, the same company is behind them. "These people are hard to track down," the officials said. "But we always do. For a while, there were those signs for losing weight that were all over the place. We took care of that."
The reader said he was "happy" that the Sanitation Department was on the job, and said, "I don't trust the company... I've called them several times to complain. How can they say they've never heard of the law? I guess there's not much communication. A long as the signs get taken down, I really don't care."