Other private uses of public space that make neighbors nuts

While we are on the topic of sidewalk and curbside sheds, I thought I would add my #1 pet peeve: sidewalk stickers. I prefer graffiti over these illegal forms of advertising, some from companies that even claim to be neighborhood-friendly, like the Tin Building. They last forever and they cannot be painted over. We have some in the neighborhood from April 2020.

As James noted the last time I brought this up, “Such conduct is illegal, but D.O.T. seems to enforce it in only the most egregious cases. NYC Administrative Code § 19-138 (b) prohibits decals and even graphic (light) projectors.”

“Defacing. Except as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful for any person to deface any street by painting, printing or writing thereon, or attaching thereto, in any manner, any advertisement or other printed matter.”

But wait, there’s more! I am not the only one with a pet peeve. P. has called 311 many times about the Dog Pound using the sidewalk as an extension of its gym:

W. sent this image last week, where a real estate agent was using the Washington Market Park fence as a free billboard (the park staff cut that down pretty quickly, from what I could see):

T. has been waging a war on the stickers that cover lampposts and mailboxes in his part of the neighborhood. He says there’s a sticker war going on between political factions, though one “Elon Musk Fan Club” member is going through hundreds of stickers a week. “My pastime is peeling off these things and other posters on my walks in the area,” T. said. “I must dispose of thousands of ‘moving’ posters, buzz marketing stickers for cannabis and other visual detritus on Tribeca mailboxes, posts, etc.”



  1. I hate this sidewalk vandalism/advertising (vandaltising?). We have far too much advertising everywhere already. What can be done about it?

    Another pet peeve with sidewalks: gum. Leaves ugly stains for years. Please dispose of gum in trash cans.

  2. I feel the same way about omnipresent stickers and flyers everywhere, from the annoying locksmith stickers that leave a sticky glue mess on our building doors, to every other kind of promotion and self-promotion, on every available mailbox, streetpole, wall, etc.. Should be easy for the city to track down the sources and issue fines.

    • One reason the city doesn’t stop the ubiquitous “moving” and “handyman” posters is the scammy companies behind them are not in the U.S. The numbers listed are switchboards that pay a commission for the referral. The man behind the moving posters is a millionaire fugitive (for other crimes) who lives in a country that will not extradite him.

    • Marcus, unfortunately, the Sanitation Department is supposed to respond to complaints about those locksmith stickers. They certainly are not pro-active. They might respond to a 311 complaint, because in 2003, the city passed a law allowing the beneficiary of such stickers on private property (storefronts and buildings’ front doors) to be held liable via fines.

  3. I hate to be such a cynic but my gripe is with the self-serving “inspiring” lame platitudes permanently scribbled onto the sidewalk under the pretense of being uplifting street art. So narcissistic to write three generic lines of nothingness and then slap your Instagram tag in huge letters on the bottom (I’m looking at you @PersianPoet).

    The above type of activity jaded me to be initially skeptical of the Good Spot/Bad Spots that popped up the other month, but found myself really enjoying it once I realized that I was in fact altering my walking route based on these circles. It was all good fun and the chalk quickly faded/washed away.

  4. Question. Why are the barriers still being put up on duane and hudson? Is this sanctioned by the city? While I’m no fan of the sidewalk markings, I’m a lot more ticked off about the number of private for profit businesses still using street space for seating.

  5. I’ve also at times seen boxing classes on the sidewalks. There’s a brawl and/or lawsuit waiting to happen.

  6. while we’re on the subject what about the biggest illegal grab of public space by a private party in tribeca? that is the public lobby of bank of new york mellon at 240 greenwich street /101 barclay street? as far as i can tell, it’s never been accessible to the public. whenever i’ve tried, the security guards act like i’m nuts and turn me away.