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New ‘Welcome to New York’ signs in Montauk spark complaints

Large signs were erected at night on June

Large signs were erected at night on June 30, 2016 on Flamingo Road and West Lake Drive in Montauk at the direction of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office, according to State Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr. Local residents and officials have demanded that they be removed. Credit: Doug Kuntz

State and local officials are in talks about Montauk’s disgust with new “Welcome to New York” signs, East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said Wednesday.

The blue signs, which are part of the Empire State Development office’s “I Love New York” campaign, were hated as soon as they were put up Thursday night.

“They’re just not appropriate for the location and they’re too big,” said Assemb. Fred. W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor). “If you saw them on the Long Island Expressway you’d understand — and you do see them there. But on a two-lane road in Montauk, that doesn’t make sense.”

Cantwell would not provide details on the talks, but on Friday he called the signs “stupid” and out of character with Montauk’s quaint setting.

Cantwell said two of the billboard-sized signs had been placed at West Lake Drive and Flamingo Road, and six similar smaller signs were erected along West Lake Drive and on Flamingo Road leaving the dock area.

All are county roads.

The signs, which are being placed throughout the state, include the “I Love New York” logo and advertise the state’s attractions, history and restaurants.

“One of the reasons people come to the East End is for the aesthetics and beauty, and these signs are the antithesis of that,” Thiele said.

Thiele and Cantwell got on the phone to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office first thing on Friday, but weren’t able to make contact with anyone until Tuesday

“We don’t have a definite time for it but we’re going to have a meeting with DOT [the state Department of Transportation] and the governor’s office this week to discuss alternatives,” Thiele said.

The Empire State Development office said in a statement Friday that the signs are meant to highlight the state’s tourism industry and tout its attractions.


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