Friday, July 31, 2009

Abandoned 7th Ave. building bane of neighbors’ block

A recent article in Chelsea Now bemoans the dilapidated building at 210 7th avenue. Since the building went vacant in 2002, complaints have included the illegal advertising that has adorned the building for as long as I can remember. Reporter Sheila McClear writes "But even the ads, the only bright spot on the otherwise derelict property, may be illegal." A simple jaunt to the Department of Buildings website clearly shows this address has no permits which would allow outdoor advertising. In fact the advertising itself might be the very thing that is keeping this building derelict. In the article the Deborah Fenker, speaking of the landlord, is quoted as saying, 'He told me that he got good money for having those ads up in the windows,'. If this building wasn't pulling in revenue from advertising there is a strong chance the landlord would take the initiative to rent the ground floor, which would then require the other maintenance that is drawing so many complaints from local residents.

This makes me think of the conversation I had with the CEO of InWindow, Steve Birnhak. One of his justifications for operating his illegal advertising business was that his ads hide unsightly closed storefront conditions. In this way he suggested his advertisements actually helped fight of the broken window theory from coming to fruition, preventing neighborhoods from slipping into states of decline. It would seem from this article and the conditions at 210 7th avenue, that these streetscape ads might also make it easier for landlords to neglect their properties, actually facilitating neighborhood decline.

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