The Billboard Jungle

New York’s corporate graffiti

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


“Ad creep” — the process by which previously untouched surfaces are converted into advertisements — has taken to the streets. Due to advances in billboard technology, 200-foot whiskey bottles and scantily clad supermodels dominate the vista of many a metropolitan area. The increasing commercialization of public space means that even sidewalks and lampposts are fair game for advertising.

Although many of the burgeoning ads are illegal, advertisers find breaking the law irresistibly affordable. The sidewalks of New York, including SoHo’s historic bluestones, are covered with illegal stenciled advertisements. None of the perpetrators have been fined, although Reebok, which plastered more than 200 “mini billboards” on downtown sidewalks, was charged a cleanup fee to remove the ads. And while New York city officials pay lip service to stopping illegal advertising, they continue to sell space on everything from subway passes to toll booths. But don’t think Mayor Giuliani will give away public space to just anyone: Arrests of graffiti artists have skyrocketed since he took office.

Ever wonder what it would be like to be trapped inside an issue of Details? Take a walk in downtown Manhattan.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate