With millions of residents packed in a relatively small area, New York City is a favorite place for companies to advertise their products. However, some New Yorkers are starting to fight back against intrusive ads. The newest source of controversy has been the “adbarges” that have popped up lately.
Since earlier this year, residents have been complaining about these floating ads. The massive advertisements are essentially a billboard mounted on a barge that goes back and forth along the waterways of the East River and the New York Harbor. These ad barges usually have flashing or lit up areas that make them almost impossible to ignore. Residents who have valued their river views are reacting with outrage, calling them “obnoxious” and “ugly.”
The initial attempts to stop the floating ads ran into some difficulties. New York City tried to get Ballyhoo Media, the company behind most of the ad barges, to quit running the ads by claiming the floating advertisements violated zoning laws. However, Ballyhoo countered by showing that the water around New York is technically under the New York state’s jurisdiction. Therefore, there was nothing irate New York City residents could do to halt the problem.
To address the issue, New York City has turned to state government now. State representatives like Andrew Gounardes and Brad Hoylman who have districts along the New York waterways launched a bill that would put a statewide ban the ad barges. To gain approval for the bill, the senators pointed out that the barges were a nuisance getting in the way of valid water traffic, an eyesore to the residents, and potentially a distraction for drivers.
The bill would put fines in place for those running the advertisements. The barge operators will be fined $1,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for any other violations. The legislation passed in the state senate with a large amount of support. Every senator for Brooklyn voted in approval, leading to 41 votes to pass and 21 votes against the law.
The next step for the proposed law is the transition to a vote in the Assembly. If it passes there, it will go on to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo where it can be signed into law.