Developer Aby Rosen has never been one to shy away from controversy. We are, after all, talking about the man who evicted both a Picasso mural and the Four Seasons Restaurant from the Seagram Building, and who turned the mysterious, graffiti-covered 190 Bowery into a (mostly) sanitized office building.
But the developer’s latest attention-grabbing stunt is slightly more political in nature. The Real Deal spotted a photo on Rosen’s Instagram, uploaded this morning, of the construction fence around the site at 339 Lafayette Street. The site is formerly home to the "Peace Pentagon," where several anti-war organizations—the War Resisters League, the Socialist Party USA, and others—once had offices. Rosen bought the building in October for $20.75 million, though no formal plans have been announced for it yet.
Perhaps its history explains the stunt: The structure is now emblazoned with the words "Vote Your Conscience!", with the logo for Rosen’s development firm, RFR, prominently placed. The caption that Aby chose to share with it? "Wake up America."
What does it all mean? TRD speculates that the sign is a statement against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, calling it "a nod to former presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump." But if that’s Rosen’s intent—or if he’s a die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter, or part of the Bernie or Bust movement—we’ll never know; through a spokesperson, RFR declined to comment on the poster. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put your best guesses at WTF is going on in the comments.