(Photo collage by Ray Johnson)

The photo collage above is my artistic reflection of what’s been happening in Sheepshead Bay with electrical poles and lampposts being turned into excessive, permanent, free advertising for businesses.

Sometimes, someone having a garage sale posts signs advertising their yard sale (some have the decency to remove them, later) – but this situation is prolific and outrageous. The offenders we’re talking about here are companies advertising their money-making business, not a not-for-profit agency advertising a community event.

First, there is the moving company that advertises their services for $16 per man, per truck. Something tells me that there are going to be a lot of hidden fees. Someone’s got to pay for the plastering job. Then, there is Adam’s Lounge, whose management must feel that having one sign on every single pole at the corner of Sheepshead Bay Road is good for business. Actually, I’m sure that a lot of people must be saying, “What a dive! Too cheap to pay for advertising. What kind of lounge is that?”

The moving company doesn’t seem to have a name and lists simply as, “MOVING” in big, bold capital letters. They post their signs using heavy duty packaging tape (the expensive type that I’m sure they wouldn’t lavish on customer’s boxes), making them very difficult to remove. On any one given pole, there can be three or four of this moving company’s signs layered on top of each other. Someone, please explain to me, what is the reasoning behind that?

They must be paying their signposters more than what they pay the heavy lifters, because the posting staff are very dedicated and good at what they do. Plus, they appear to be working the night shift. I’ve heard that it’s not uncommon for some poster workers to place ads they are supposed to be putting on any circular surface, to instead file them in the circular file. But, not these guys – their motto appears to be superhero-like: “We are the sign-posters. Posting signs, moving people. Messing up Sheepshead Bay and the world!”

The nightclub-sign-posting offender has enough money to make a large, professional-looking poster made of some type of thick, water-resistant material, so one would think that they have enough of a budget to find the right venue to place their advertisements. I tried, numerous times, to reach the nightclub to ask them about their marketing choices, but the number appeared to be a fax line.

It’s bad enough that Sheepshead Bay is becoming widely known, not for its fishing, but for its litter — why do these companies have to plaster the entire place with their free advertising? In various places around New York City (especially Manhattan), there are “Post No Bills” warnings. All of Sheepshead Bay’s vertical surfaces might need to have this warning painted onto them to send these posters a message, because they must not know about the city laws that prohibit these types of freebies.

Sam Roberts of the NY Times City Room says that the “Post No Bills” sign is “one of those quirky urban phenomena that I fixate on during a slow news day”. Every day in Sheepshead Bay, even on a big news day, whenever (every second) I see these illegal advertisements, I fixate on the phrase, “Post No Bills”. Everywhere we look, there they are.

Let’s hope that city officials will come in soon and move these movers and their signs out of here.

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  • http://theparentinggeek.blogspot.com Niki

    Unfortunately this method of “advertising” actually works. Maybe not so much for a lounge, but definitely for things like a moving van. (I’ve also seen signs for a stamp collector who wants to buy your stamps!)

    I’m guessing the moving one isn’t a legitimate business and just some guy with a van trying to make a few bucks, which is fine, but there are spaces dedicated to this type of advertising, like the community bulletin boards in grocery stores.

    I think the best way to combat this practice is to call the phone numbers and tell them that you will NOT patronize their business precisely because of the way they’re marketing. Right now the only calls they get are people who want to hire them, which will just encourage them to keep doing it. Show them that they could be losing more customer than they’re attracting, and maybe they’ll rethink their marketing methods.

  • Dana

    I agree — it is everywhere – but isn’t this type of advertising everywhere around brooklyn. Pole advertising is a free every mans advertising. I think a lot of local people will do this (like for a yard sale or a lost pet) because its likely to be seen by others and it costs nothing to do it. I’m not sure its legal but I dont think a person doing it is likely to get a ticket like they would in some parts of manhattan.

    People should remove their items when they are no longer relevant — and the staples too. The old staples are more ugly than the old papers in my opinion.

    From what i’ve seen i’m not sure Sheepshead’s postings are that bad. You want bad – check out Borough park where the local religious types litter every pole with big color signs that can’t be avoided. Thats way more of an eyesore.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, there are laws against this type of advertising on most public and private property and the Sanitation Department does investigate 3-1-1 complaints about postings on public property and removes them, as well. Lampposts and electrical poles are reserved for important public postings, such as street closings.

    Please tell me Sheepshead Bay is not headed in Boro Park’s direction.

  • Stampy

    Anyone got the contact info for that stamp collector? I have a few boxes around my house from a deceased relative and I’d like to get rid of them.

  • Bill Woodroffe

    Is this any different than “ads” on taxis, busses, the outside of subway cars, billboards, store windows, sky writing, or the back pocket of jeans? The only difference is that the city doesn’t get a cut of the revenue, otherwise it is as annoying visually as the above.

  • Anonymous

    Bill: Well, there are a few major differences (other than than the obvious $$) between these stealth postings and ones that can hold their head high, so to speak: they get permission; they usually are focused on a particular target market; they are not placed where there might be a “No-Parking – Street Closing for Road Work” sign; they have a time limit; and, of course, the space can be let out to anyone able to pay the fee, not just the first person willing to break the rules in the dark of night.

    If anyone knows where Sheepshead Bites can get a team together like Alex’s Moving (a quick phone call revealed their name) to post our flyers on lampposts all over Brooklyn, please write us, immediately. If Sheepshead Bites could increase its readership as much as the movers got jobs, I think it just might be worth having to eat our own words. Just kidding.

    Stampy: As far as stamp collectors who might be able to turn your inheritance into a brand new fishing boat or some-such amazing story, a web search at Yellow Pages – Super Pages for 11235 within 3 miles brought up five places you might like to take your collection for an appraisal. Here’s the URL: http://yellowpages.superpages.com/listings.jsp?SRC=portals&CS=L&MCBP=true&C=Coin+%26+Stamp+Dealers+%26+Supplies&L=Brooklyn+NY+11235&STYPE=D&RR=3&search.x=13&search.y=13&search=Find+It

  • http://www.sbpbcivic.org Gene Berardelli

    Here’s the deal with enforcing signs:

    1) In order to give a fine, the City has to first catch the person / company in the act of putting up ads on city property.

    2) The company advertising may still not get a fine if they hire another company to post the ads. All the company has to say is that they hired a company to post ads legally and never told them to post them illegally and they won’t be fined.

    I know many people in Manhattan Beach are fed up with these signs… 311 hasn’t been the answer for them. If you really want to get rid of these signs in the neighborhood, do what I do and tear them down! Get your neighbors together and take a hour per week to tear them down… sooner or later, the advertiser will get the hint.

  • http://theparentinggeek.blogspot.com/ Niki

    Unfortunately this method of “advertising” actually works. Maybe not so much for a lounge, but definitely for things like a moving van. (I’ve also seen signs for a stamp collector who wants to buy your stamps!)

    I’m guessing the moving one isn’t a legitimate business and just some guy with a van trying to make a few bucks, which is fine, but there are spaces dedicated to this type of advertising, like the community bulletin boards in grocery stores.

    I think the best way to combat this practice is to call the phone numbers and tell them that you will NOT patronize their business precisely because of the way they’re marketing. Right now the only calls they get are people who want to hire them, which will just encourage them to keep doing it. Show them that they could be losing more customer than they’re attracting, and maybe they’ll rethink their marketing methods.

  • Dana

    I agree — it is everywhere – but isn’t this type of advertising everywhere around brooklyn. Pole advertising is a free every mans advertising. I think a lot of local people will do this (like for a yard sale or a lost pet) because its likely to be seen by others and it costs nothing to do it. I’m not sure its legal but I dont think a person doing it is likely to get a ticket like they would in some parts of manhattan.

    People should remove their items when they are no longer relevant — and the staples too. The old staples are more ugly than the old papers in my opinion.

    From what i’ve seen i’m not sure Sheepshead’s postings are that bad. You want bad – check out Borough park where the local religious types litter every pole with big color signs that can’t be avoided. Thats way more of an eyesore.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, there are laws against this type of advertising on most public and private property and the Sanitation Department does investigate 3-1-1 complaints about postings on public property and removes them, as well. Lampposts and electrical poles are reserved for important public postings, such as street closings.

    Please tell me Sheepshead Bay is not headed in Boro Park’s direction.

  • Stampy

    Anyone got the contact info for that stamp collector? I have a few boxes around my house from a deceased relative and I’d like to get rid of them.

  • Bill Woodroffe

    Is this any different than “ads” on taxis, busses, the outside of subway cars, billboards, store windows, sky writing, or the back pocket of jeans? The only difference is that the city doesn’t get a cut of the revenue, otherwise it is as annoying visually as the above.

  • Anonymous

    Bill: Well, there are a few major differences (other than than the obvious $$) between these stealth postings and ones that can hold their head high, so to speak: they get permission; they usually are focused on a particular target market; they are not placed where there might be a “No-Parking – Street Closing for Road Work” sign; they have a time limit; and, of course, the space can be let out to anyone able to pay the fee, not just the first person willing to break the rules in the dark of night.

    If anyone knows where Sheepshead Bites can get a team together like Alex’s Moving (a quick phone call revealed their name) to post our flyers on lampposts all over Brooklyn, please write us, immediately. If Sheepshead Bites could increase its readership as much as the movers got jobs, I think it just might be worth having to eat our own words. Just kidding.

    Stampy: As far as stamp collectors who might be able to turn your inheritance into a brand new fishing boat or some-such amazing story, a web search at Yellow Pages – Super Pages for 11235 within 3 miles brought up five places you might like to take your collection for an appraisal. Here’s the URL: http://yellowpages.superpages.com/listings.jsp?SRC=portals&CS=L&MCBP=true&C=Coin+%26+Stamp+Dealers+%26+Supplies&L=Brooklyn+NY+11235&STYPE=D&RR=3&search.x=13&search.y=13&search=Find+It

  • http://www.sbpbcivic.org/ Gene Berardelli

    Here’s the deal with enforcing signs:

    1) In order to give a fine, the City has to first catch the person / company in the act of putting up ads on city property.

    2) The company advertising may still not get a fine if they hire another company to post the ads. All the company has to say is that they hired a company to post ads legally and never told them to post them illegally and they won’t be fined.

    I know many people in Manhattan Beach are fed up with these signs… 311 hasn’t been the answer for them. If you really want to get rid of these signs in the neighborhood, do what I do and tear them down! Get your neighbors together and take a hour per week to tear them down… sooner or later, the advertiser will get the hint.

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