The state’s new “Welcome to New York” signs are anything but in Montauk, and calls for their removal are coming from non-fans who range from residents to the East Hampton Town supervisor.
The blue signs — which include the iconic “I Love New York” logo and are part of the Empire State Development office’s “I Love New York” campaign — are being placed in locations throughout the state. They advertise the state’s attractions, history and places to dine.
Supervisor Larry Cantwell said two billboard-size signs were put up at the intersection of Westlake Drive and Flamingo Road and an additional three or four signs are along Westlake Drive and along Flamingo Road “as you’re leaving the dock area.” The locations are all county roads near Montauk Harbor.
He and others said the state’s promotion campaign and signage are fine, just not in their hamlet.
“I went down there [to Montauk’s harbor area] to look at them for myself this morning and they’re ridiculous,” Cantwell said Friday. “They’re totally out of character for Montauk.”
In a Facebook post, Cantwell wrote to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: “Governor Cuomo, take down these signs!”
He said that he and Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I–Sag Harbor) called Cuomo’s office Friday to demand the signs be removed.
The Empire State Development office said Friday that the signs are meant to highlight the state’s tourism industry and tout its attractions.
“The goal of the I Love NY road signs are to promote the state’s world-renowned tourism attractions and to continue to invest in the success of every region,” the office said in a statement. “Tourism generated an economic impact of more than $100 billion across the state, supporting over 870,000 jobs and generating nearly $8 billion in state and local taxes in 2014. ESD will work with state and local officials to ensure any concerns they have are addressed.”
Neither Thiele nor representatives from Cuomo’s office could be reached for comment Friday.
Montauk resident Eileen Choron took to Facebook to say the signs are super, but only for a “super highway.”
“A highway crew was erecting them at night!” Choron said in her post.
Cantwell said the state supersedes the town’s authority and that no town board approvals were needed to put the signs up. Still, he said he would like to see them removed before the July Fourth weekend gets into full swing.
“They’re the antithesis of promoting tourism — they contradict their purpose,” Cantwell said.
He’s not losing any shut eye over the issue, but that’s not the case for one of his constituents.
“I couldn’t sleep after I saw them,” Mary Anzalone wrote in a Facebook post.