Eyes on the Street: SUVs Planted in 14th Street Pedestrian Plaza

Photos: Brad Aaron
Photos: Brad Aaron and Google Maps

“The Vanishing Game” is a Range Rover ad posing as a book. What a fitting title for this takeover of the pedestrian plaza at 14th Street and Ninth Avenue, a sizable area of which disappeared over the weekend under a couple of luxury SUVs.

True to the ad-as-book fakery, these things were tilted on jacks and parked on a patch of faux grass. What this was supposed to approximate I’m not sure, other than maybe fixing a flat on a putting green.

As we reported when the plaza on the north side of 14th Street was appropriated by a cosmetics company a couple of years back, corporations can apply to use public spaces through the Street Activities Permit Office. This display took up enough of the plaza that I had to cross the street to get a wide shot of it. Have to wonder if anyone with the city paused to consider that street space reclaimed for pedestrians would be sacrificed for SUV parking, if only temporarily.

No, probably not.

Now you see it...
Now you see it…

.. Now you don't.
… now you don’t!
  • WalkingNPR

    Well, according to our police and judicial system, that’s pretty much what a pedestrian space should look like, isn’t it?

  • r

    “corporations can apply to use public spaces through the Street Activities Permit Office.”

    Do they pay anything for the privilege? A billboard this size on a building would cost tens of thousands of dollars. If not, I can see a good opening for a City Council bill outlawing this practice.

  • I think I’d like to see Range Rover vanish. We had actually been considering getting a last Defender before production stops but this display has quite put me off the company. I thought they had better manners than this.

  • BBnet3000

    If im reading this right, they pay a fee to SAPO and then they pay again to the BID who maintains the plaza. Charitable events and non-profits would only pay 10% of the fee. Not sure which of these fees this “event” would qualify for.


  • Ian Turner
  • Emmily_Litella

    This whole city is tarted up with ads. The worst offender is the ads over subway entrances. Sightlines are cut off, including from inside private property. You don’t want ads on any part of your car windshield, why should they be allowed to intrude on public space (Bus Shelters, Light Pole Banners, Empty Phone Kiosks, Waste Receptacles, Taxi Tops)?

  • BBnet3000

    This advertisement by Land Rover paid for the cost of
    running the plaza for how long?

  • Andres Dee

    Oh my God! Will someone please do something about the “out of character” shiny metal objects with logos? Please, think of the children (or at least the grandmothers from Jamaica Estates)!

    (This display just begs for some harmless, but clever, punking.)

  • Andres Dee

    Yeah, if someone were to intrude, they’d probably prosecute.

  • WoodyinNYC

    Pity poor Land Rover. They wanted to put up an outdoor display, but NO WAY could they get a temporary permit to use PARKING SPACES. God forbid.

    So they had to rip off the public place instead.

  • blah

    the worst are the ad wraps on the INSIDE of the subway car.

  • NYCbornandraised

    none of you have any idea what you’re talking about…do you think these plazas just take care of themselves? many of them cost upwards of $50k a year to maintain and events like these allow for that. Some BIDs charge $25k for events, so that’s half a years worth of maintenance. which then allows the BIDs to spend money on other much needed area improvements. Before you just comment how about a little fact checking.

  • Matthias

    When I saw the first photo, I initially thought I was looking at the scene of a horrific crash. I don’t mind displays like this as long as the city is compensated for the use of public space (unlike your typical #sidewalkhogs).

  • Morris Zapp

    Except if you read the comments you’ll see the fees are discussed.

    No one is saying the city lets this happen for the hell of it. The issue is these displays eat up space not already taken up by cars, which is at a premium.

    As another reader said, there are plenty of parking spaces that would do nicely for this kind of thing. You don’t see BIDs soliciting ad dollars to compensate for all the real estate devoted to free vehicle storage, yet meager pedestrian spaces are required to earn their keep.

  • Ian Turner

    This appears to be a “small event” based on the descriptions here:


    So we’re looking at overall fees for this thing of under $10k.

  • I’d be more sympathetic if I saw displays like this in traffic and parking lanes to cover the costs of those that user fees like fuel taxes do not cover. Even if Rover had simply had a bit more consideration for others and not put up the banner I wouldn’t be so put off of them.


Speak Up to Keep the Willoughby Street Pedestrian Plaza

 Before being transformed into a public plaza, Willoughby Street was filled with illegally parked cars. Tomorrow evening there will be an important public meeting at St. Francis College, Room 7402, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, 5:00 to 6:00 pm, to help determine the fate of the new Willoughby Street Pedestrian Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn. If you are someone […]

Meat Market Plaza is Open for Business

The interim redesign of Ninth Avenue and 14th Street is done. Tables, chairs, planters and some of those giant granite blocks from DOT’s Bridges Division have been set out as multipurpose bollard-bench-tables atop a gravelly, earth-tone pavement surface.  What was very recently one of the longest and most hectic pedestrian crossings in Manhattan, and no […]

The Untold Story of DOT’s Plaza Program: It’s a Hit

You wouldn’t know it from opening the newspaper or turning on the television, but yesterday’s City Council hearing on pedestrian plazas actually showed how widespread support for the plazas are. Only two council members appeared to be at all opposed to the plaza program — though of course those two have dominated the headlines — […]

Meatpacking District Will Get a Makeover

A rendering of the proposed Gansevoort Plaza, looking southbound. Major public space improvements are on the drawing board for Lower Manhattan’s old Meat-Packing District. Ian Dutton, Houston Street bike safety organizer, professional airline pilot and Streetsblog reader has the report:  Last year, community groups came together as the Greater Gansevoort Urban Improvement Project to develop […]