NYC Bans Floating Digital Billboards

If you aren’t a fan of the floating digital billboards trudging around the NYC waters, today is your lucky day. After a decision to ban them on Monday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation to rid our waters of the ads. Spotted along the East and Hudson Rivers in growing frequency, Cuomo had previously expressed his dislike of the bill, stating that they “blight our shores”.

In a statement, he called them a “nuisance” that distract from “the great natural beauty of our waterways”. By passing this legislation, he hopes to “make our waters more enjoyable and safer for everyone.”

Over the last few months, New Yorkers complained about the tacky visual effect of the floating digital billboards, and the way they disrupted the water views.  The governor’s action on the bill will be effective immediately.


Are the floating digital ads gone for good?

As Cuomo and state lawmakers claim victory, the company responsible for the billboards isn’t finished yet. Ballyhoo Media says it will continue operating in “some form”. While the ban prohibits any vessel with a digital billboard from “operating, anchoring or mooring in the navigable waters of the state” if they have “flashing, intermittent or moving lights”, Ballyhoo Media argues that they may have some room to continue floating some of their ads.

Earlier this year, New York City filed a lawsuit against Ballyhoo. The goal then?  Stop the Florida-based company from advertising. New York City argued that the billboards were a public nuisance and safety hazard. Shortly after the lawsuit in March, Ballyhoo floated a billboard reading “Freedom is the foundation of our country.”

The rivers of NYC are some of the last “sanctuaries for New Yorkers, and should be treated as such,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman, the Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill. Hoylman continued, “We don’t need Times Square floating past us as we relax or play or take walks.”

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