By Carol Tannenhauser
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood of never-ending sagas. The latest involves the Donald J. Trump West Side Highway beautification sign.
On Thanksgiving, WSR reported that the sign had disappeared, to the delight of several tipsters. The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) explained that it had been vandalized and would be restored. One week later, it was.
“We just cringed as we saw the sign reinstalled on the West Side Highway coming into the 79th Street south exit!” the original tipster informed us.
But Richard Robbins, a longtime Upper West Sider, doesn’t think the story should end there.
This @westsiderag article inspired me to start a petition calling for @NYC_DOT to remove the Trump sign from the West Side Highway, as it violates DOT’s “no candidates” policy. https://t.co/IRlcLa6aK3 https://t.co/MTiF8iXLWO
— Richard Robbins (@rich1) November 26, 2020
According to the petition, “NYC DOT’s own policy as per its website is that ‘Highways can be adopted by individuals, companies, or organizations (but not political candidates and campaigns).’ This sign should have been removed in 2015 and, according to DOT’s policy should not be in place now, as Trump has stated an intention to run again in 2024.”
The DOT disagreed. “It is paid for by the [Trump] organization, not any personal/political entity,” a spokesperson emailed WSR. “The sign is a representation of the organization who has a valid sponsor agreement with the provider that maintains this portion of the highway.”
“There are two issues with their statement,” Robbins responded. “(1) the sign says Donald J. Trump, not the Trump Organization. (2) Donald J. Trump IS the Trump Organization. The two are inseparable. Trump is the principal (if not sole) owner. The company is completely associated with him.
“I decided to do this because, regardless of Trump’s politics and/or popularity (or lack thereof) on the Upper West Side, it is important for DOT to adhere to its policies and this sign appears to be in clear violation of DOT’s policy…If New York City doesn’t want to become an ‘anarchist jurisdiction’ (as Trump called us), it is important that DOT follow its own policy.”
WSR presented Robbin’s arguments to the DOT, but they have not yet responded.
The petition has 25 signatures as of this writing. Click here if you would like to read it.