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Why New York Just Banned Floating Billboards

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Weather: Watch out in the afternoon for severe thunderstorms, which could bring heavy rain and strong wind. High in the upper 80s, and it will seem hotter than that.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Labor Day (Sept. 2).

Yes, the Grinch was blocking your view of the Statue of Liberty.

Governor Cuomo signed a bill on Monday to ban billboards like the one above from floating in New York’s waters.

But the head of the company responsible for these floating billboards said he was “undeterred” and planned to keep operating.

The ads

Ballyhoo Media, the company that operates the billboards, has been running ads in New York since October, and in Miami since 2016. The signs are big and bright, and can be seen hundreds of feet away.

Who would want to advertise like this? Apparently, lots of companies. Ballyhoo’s billboards have featured the Brooklyn Nets, AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” Lyft and Uber.

One campaign included thank-you messages for New York City’s Police and Fire Departments, as well as the United States Coast Guard.

The boat-borne billboards circumnavigate Lower Manhattan. The company says it runs billboards that can be seen from Hudson Yards on the West Side, Kips Bay on the East Side and neighborhoods along that route.

On its website, Ballyhoo says its billboards “cover new locations and events that were previously untouchable.”

The reaction

People who hate the billboards have been vocal.

After all, a view of the Statue of Liberty could be interrupted by an ad for a “Grinch” movie. A photograph of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park could be marred by “Walking Dead” signage.

There is also a high-rise boom reshaping New York’s skyline. And people paying top dollar for pristine sightlines are not likely to enjoy seeing the floating ads.

Of course, some people don’t mind advertising. What would Times Square be without it? But it seems few are openly calling for more advertising, particularly on the water.

Mr. Cuomo said in a statement that the ads were “a nuisance that blight our shores and distract from the great natural beauty of our waterways.”

Banning the floating billboards, he said, would “make our waters more enjoyable and safer for everyone.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman, the Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill in Albany’s upper chamber, said, “We don’t need Times Square floating past us as we relax or play.”

The workaround

The law bans boats from operating in state waters while “operating a digital billboard or another type of billboard that uses flashing, intermittent or moving lights.”

Obviously, not every billboard uses such lights, as my colleague Jesse McKinley reported.

Adam Shapiro, Ballyhoo’s chief executive, said on Monday that he was disappointed but “undeterred” by the governor’s decision.

“Our legal team believes these changes to the navigation law do not prohibit us from operating,” he said in a statement. “Instead they offer clarity on what we can and cannot display with our platform. As such, Ballyhoo intends to continue providing an innovative platform that encourages creativity, collaboration, and community.”

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

A 15-inch black snake was found near a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport. [New York Post]

A restaurant worker in Brooklyn said his boss owed him back wages. During a lunch break at his deposition, ICE agents arrested him. [WNYC]

Representative Peter King of Long Island is the first Republican member of Congress to support a Democratic bill, now under consideration, to ban assault weapons. [Daily News]

Is it worth it? There’s an egg salad sandwich selling on the Upper East Side for $30. [Patch]

A workshop for teenagers at the Van Cortlandt Public Library in the Bronx digs into album art and the ways “visual cues convey messages about politics and identity.” Students will also make their own album art. 3:30 p.m. [Free]

Go to the 6BC Botanical Garden in Manhattan for live jazz by Michael Marcus, part of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. 5:30 p.m. [Free]

Suburbia is absurd in Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s “Greener Grass,” a film being screened on the rooftop of the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn. Live music, a Q. and A. and an after-party follow. 7 p.m. [$16]

The Brooklyn Women’s Film Festival begins at the Counting Room in Brooklyn. 7 p.m. [$20]

— Vivian Ewing

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

The first time I went to Di Fara Pizza, the pizzeria in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, I wished I had eaten before I arrived.

The guy behind the counter moved like an artist who wondered if his masterpiece needed just one more brush stroke. Quick he was not. And because you needed the patience of a saint to get your hands on what he was creating, a Di Fara pizza had taken on a mythical quality.

After what felt like hours, I got my pie and left. It was delicious, and I never went back.

Now I may not be able to.

Di Fara’s property was seized yesterday by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The company owes more than $167,000 in unpaid taxes, said James Gazzale, a spokesman for the department.

I first learned about the seizure on Twitter from Morena Basteiro, an editor at Channel 7 (WABC).

“Seizing a business is always a last resort,” Mr. Gazzale said in a statement. “Even after seizing a business, we continue to communicate with the business owner in an effort to resolve the debt and allow them to reopen as soon as possible.”

For years, Di Fara has had a dedicated following. The shop made headlines in 2009 when it raised the cost of a slice to $5. The owner, Domenico DeMarco, justified the price by saying at the time, “I use the top ingredients.”

The pizzeria was back in the news in May when it was temporarily shuttered after failing a Department of Health inspection. It had failed three other times since 2011, according to the website Eater.

Customers kept coming.

Nobody answered the phone yesterday at the pizzeria, which opened in 1965. About a year ago, Di Fara opened a second location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

A woman who answered the phone at the Williamsburg store, Amparo Espinosa, said yesterday that she was unaware of the owner’s financial troubles. She said the pizza at the Williamsburg location is “pretty similar” to the pies at the Midwood shop.

“We use the same ingredients,” she said.

It’s Wednesday — a slice of your week is over.

Dear Diary:

At around noon on a hot August day in 2008, I changed from the 6 to the R at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue.

The train was fairly crowded when I got on. I stood near the door. All of a sudden, three people decided they wanted to get off the train. I got off to let them. As I did, the pink flip-flop on my right foot fell off inside and the subway door closed.

“My shoe, my shoe,” I screamed.

A small group of people gathered around me. My flip-flop was now probably on its way to Coney Island, the last stop, I said.

I didn’t know what to do. I was standing there on the platform on one foot.

Two women approached me and offered to help. One gave me a small plastic bag, and the other gave me a rubber band. I created a makeshift shoe.

After thanking them, I got on another R and went on to my destination. Nobody seemed to notice my odd shoe as I got on the train. I was even able to get a seat.

Three summers ago, I was in a coffee shop uptown. A man approached me and said he knew me. I did not recognize him. He introduced himself and said he had been at the subway station that day. He asked about my flip-flop and whether I had gotten it back.

“No,” I said. “It probably ended up in Coney Island, at the last stop.” And it probably had a good trip, I added. We both laughed.

— Marilyn Susan Siegel

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

We’re experimenting with the format of New York Today. What would you like to see more (or less) of? Post a comment or email us: nytoday@nytimes.com.





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