NPA City Outdoor is an outdoor advertising company offering “bulletin” services in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New York as well as “Wildposting” services in 25 markets coast to coast. In New York there are over 500 dedicated locations available and an ever changing number of sidewalk sheds used by the company for “sniping”.

NPA Dedicated location at 19th street and 10th avenue on the South West corner.

NPA Sniping location at 10th avenue sidewalk shed. Notice the Dedicated location in the background with the same ad content.

All of the NPA ad locations in New York City are illegal. The Sniping efforts are much more obviously problematic as the City of New York has strict guidelines for how sidewalk sheds can be used. You can see these guidelines clearly explained HERE.The Dedicated locations require a little more explanation. Because these locations have a metal frame around them, one would think that they are legal outdoor advertising. In fact at each of these locations there is a contract between the landlord of the property and NPA City Outdoor. This contract stipulates the conditions under which NPA is renting the space from the landlord in order to erect a frame. For this the landlord receives approximately 120.00 dollars per month. This years rate cards, available upon request, have NPA making quite a bit more than that. [Rate Card PDF]

Contract between property owner and Go Poster. Go Poster was purchased by NPA a few years ago giving them a monopoly on wildposting services in New York City.

In order to rent outdoor advertising space in New York City you must register with the Department of Buildings as an OAC or Outdoor Advertising Company. This allows the city to know which companies are operating this type of signage. This is in part to allow the DOB to police their activities. On top of this, OAC’s must file for permits for each property at which they plan to operate. This allows the city to keep track of how much advertising is on our streets as well as maintain proper zoning regulations.

In order to check whether or not a property has an advertising sign permit you simply have to have the address and an internet connection. Go to the DOB website and enter the address in the BIS Web Query. This will bring you to a Property Profile Overview page which has all of the information about the property that is available. On this page is a link to the Permits In-Process / Issued page which displays a list that includes all of the permits which have been filed for this property. If there is an advertising sign permit you will recognize it by the last two letters being SG. If there is no permit for an advertising sign and there is an advertisement at this property, it is illegal. As it happens there aren’t permits at any of the locations NPA City Outdoor operates outdoor advertising.

In 2009 there was a change made to the NPA Dedicated locations. Suddenly above each location there was a sign reading “Win these posters and other prizes…details inside” and then it gives the business on the ground floor at the property if there is one. If you go inside for details, there is a small raffle box along with samples of the advertising that you can take for free. If you enter the raffle you might get lucky like we did at PublicAdCampaign and you will win a Dr. Pepper T-shirt or something of equivalent value. This raffle box is operated by a company called Contest Promotions Inc.

Contest Promotions and NPA are the same company. They not only operate out of the same offices at 49 west 23rd street, but the Contest Promotions website ( and the old NPA website ( are hosted on the same server. The question is why would NPA invent a sister company to help them operate their illegal advertising locations? I spoke with Johnny Kaloudis, a leasing agent at NPA, and he was very forthcoming with the answer to this question.

In New York City an un-permitted advertising location is subject to a violation of up to $25,000.00. This is a large fine, and despite NPA making huge sums of money operating their advertising services in New York, they cannot afford to incur these types of violations. There is another type of permit available to properties in New York which is called an accessory business sign permit. This permit allows you to hang a sign which is used to announce goods and services available within your business. For example a liquor store might hang a sign that reads “wines and liquors” on the outside of the establishment. Contest promotions has been applying for these types of permits at all of the locations where NPA operatea illegal advertising on behalf of property owners without the property owners knowledge that these permits are even being filed. Mr. Kaloudis explained that the reason for this is simple. The fine associated with improperly operating an accessory business sign is on par with a parking violation, not nearly as heavy as that for illegal advertising signage. NPA would then be able to continue to operate their advertising locations on what would now be considered an accessory business sign without worrying about incurring massive fines. If the DOB’s Environmental Control Board tried to hand out violations to the company they would only be able to fine the landlord for improper use of their signage. NPA would then reimburse the landlord the nominal amount and continue to operate unphased by the fine.

So there you have it. Remember NPA and CPI also operate in other major markets including San Francisco where the city is in litigation with the company over what I assume are similar issues. This incredible manipulation of the law comes as no surprise from a company that wantonly damages our public environment with illegal advertising in an effort to profit from the thousands of “impressions” made on our collective psyche everyday.