Murals on 109 West Broadway could be painted over with new ads

A company called New Tradition Media, which places large format ads across the city (think Times Square), has a proposal to paint over the current mural at 109 West Broadway and Reade; the city’s Landmarks Commission will have the final word at a hearing today.

The building (Bluestone Lane and Holywater are the ground floor tenants) dates from 1868 and was just restored in 2022 — it looks gorgeous. And the murals on it are about 75 years old, folks guessed — they were not there in 1939, so not older than that. New Tradition’s presentation to Community Board 1 shows the timeline below. The company noted that painted murals were a distinct part of the neighborhood way back, and in some cases, to this day. The new one here will trace over the current murals, covering 27 percent of the facade with the ad and a solid painted border. The signs are hand-painted.

The building is in the Tribeca South Historic District hence the appearance at the committee and Landmarks, though it seems clear that while the building is protected, the paint on it is not. “If they decided to paint the building yellow, they wouldn’t have to be here,” noted on community board member. Still, the committee voted against it — too garish and, well, not old. “After 75 years at what point does it become part of the history, even if it’s not original?” said another member.

For sure there’s something much less charming about a new sign for a global fashion company than a faded, anachronistic one for paint company. More wholesome? Less complicated? Or is it simply brighter and therefore uglier??

If you want to tune in to the Landmarks Commission’s hearing, the Zoom link is here, and the other links here on the LPC site.

Also, I never miss a chance to note that Bluestone Lane is in an illegal enclosed sidewalk cafe — it should never have been grandfathered by whomever got approval for it originally — at what I am guessing is at least five operators ago.




  1. No!!!

  2. Just say no to outdoor advertising. It’s a blight on the city.

  3. This is such a terrible idea; aesthetic blight for everyone in exchange for a few extra pennies for a couple of folks.

    Must we monetize EVERYTHING…what is the point of material wealth if we’re surrounded by an auto-oriented, advertisement-laden hellscape (and yes, Manhattan is generally the exception in this country, but we’re wealthy enough to have a much better built environment and transit system).

  4. Preserve the murals or paint the facade, NO to using the space for advertising.

  5. Please no.

  6. Nothing they could put there would ever replace the history of those murals.
    I say no and if there is any way of fighting that please let me know.

  7. Instead of advertising can we have the sides be painted by local artist and beautify with murals of art work that represents the neighborhood

  8. Covering those murals is simply not acceptable. They have been a beloved part of the Washington Market — now Tribeca — neighborhood for many decades. They were there when I moved in in 1970. I hope that Landmarks can find a way to block this from happening. Could Community Board 1 help out?
    I presume the owners of the building — the very same who recently lovingly restored the facade — are complicit in this notion. If so, shame on them.

    About the murals themselves: someone once told me that they were pained not, in fact, as advertisements. And it is true that no company or companies are named on them. Why, then, were they painted? And when? Does anyone know?

  9. No ! Say it’s not so. Terrible.

  10. How do we find out how the LPC ruled?

  11. Keep what’s there.

    Years before the boutique hotel was built on the corner of Church & Duane, there was a large “art billboard” on the building behind it. The “ad” was for “Oceana” and showed a smiling gas station attendant, flamingoes, a slice of pie, and other objects. I don’t know if it was just art or an ad, but it was sizeable. The photo was taken by Allan Tanenbaum, and can be seen here (along with other Tribeca pics):

    It is called “Art Billboard on Church Street.”

    Even though its intent was somewhat of a mystery, it did add color and character to the neighborhood-as do the current signs in contention.