By Carol Tannenhauser
The Donald J. Trump highway beautification sign — on the southbound side of the Henry Hudson Parkway, just north of the West 79th Street exit — is being removed, according to a letter from the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who shared it with WSR.
“DOT has determined that the contract between the organization and the maintenance contractor expired on November 7 and will not be renewed,” Manhattan Borough Commissioner Edward F. Pincar Jr. wrote, on Monday, November 8th. “The existing sign will be removed promptly.”
Trump’s name has been a presence on the Upper West Side for decades — the development he spearheaded along the Hudson River from 59th to 72nd Streets included several Trump-branded buildings, until residents decided to take his name down. Similarly, the highway sign has been controversial for years, and was defaced multiple times.
DOT notified Rosenthal of its decision because she had called and written a letter to the Commissioner in July, in support of a petition launched by Upper West Sider Richard Robbins in late 2020, demanding that the sign be taken down.
“It violates DOT’s own policy, stating that ‘Highways can be adopted by individuals, companies, or organizations (but not by political candidates and campaigns),'” Robbins wrote. “The sign should have been removed in 2015 and should not be in place now, as Trump has stated an intention to run again in 2024.”
At the time, DOT disagreed, telling the Rag, “[The sign] is paid for by the [Trump] organization, not any personal/political entity.” The petition then had 25 signatures. It now has garnered nearly 1,700. (One signer said, “His name is too upsetting to drivers. It will cause accidents.”)
When informed of DOT’s latest decision, Robbins responded, “That’s awesome! For years, this sign has been an affront to people on the Upper West Side who are offended by Trump’s racism and misogyny, and more recently his promotion of the insurrection. We are outraged that a president who helped destroy our environment would be credited as a sponsor of a highway ‘beautification’ initiative. I applaud DOT for taking this action, and hope they have a ceremony that the 1,600+ people who signed the petition can attend [and] witness an act of true beautification of our neighborhood — removal of the sign.”
Rosenthal also hailed DOT’s decision. “Though it may be impossible to remove his name from our collective history, we can and must remove his name from New York’s vaunted institutions and infrastructure,” she wrote.
The Trump Organization is currently fighting to retain another city contract for a Bronx golf course, pending litigation. The city did not renew contracts for two Central Park concessions, Wollman Rink and the Carousel, following the events of January 6th.