New York City officials filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against a media company on Wednesday, accusing it of illegally operating a barge with digital billboards on the city’s waterways. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop Ballyhoo Media from placing the floating advertisements in the East and Hudson rivers. Zoning regulations prohibit advertising on waterways throughout most of the city, including along residential and commercial zones and in view of highways and bridges, according to city officials.
“Our waterways aren’t Times Square,” Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said in a statement. “These floating eyesores have no place on them.”
The boat carries 20-foot-tall and 60-foot-long TV screens displaying digital ads. The ads are visible to motorists driving on two waterfront roadways in Manhattan, the FDR Drive and the West Side Highway.
Adam Shapiro, Ballyhoo’s CEO, said his lawyers believe Ballyhoo isn’t violating laws or zoning resolutions, but would resolve the issue with city officials or in court. “Advertising along the city’s waterways is not a new activity,” he wrote in the statement. “Ballyhoo just happens to be the newest.”
“Nobody wants to be walking along New York Harbor or the Rockaways only to be visually assaulted by a 1,200-square-foot TV screen running commercials on loop,” said City Councilman Mark Levine in a statement.
Source: Honan, K. (2019, March 27). New York City Sues to Stop Digital Billboards from Cruising Rivers. WSJ.