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Digital billboards should be banned from NYC waterways: lawmakers

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State lawmakers passed a bill that would prohibit the use of these ads in New York waterways


Three months after the city sued Ballyhoo Media, the company behind the floating billboards that popped up in NYC waterways last fall, the state Senate and Assembly have passed a new bill that would ban the use of those digital ads.

Ballyhoo Media has defended themselves by saying that the city’s waterways fall under state jurisdiction, and the city’s lawsuit is still pending, Gothamist reported.

But the bill, introduced by Sen. Brad Holyman and Assembly member Richard Gottfried, would prohibit the use of digital billboards “with flashing, intermittent, or moving lights,” in the navigable waters of the state. Localities will have the option to either completely ban the practice or continue allowing floating billboards within 1,500 feet of their shores.

Violating the regulation will be considered a misdemeanor, with a civil penalty of $1,000 for the first violation and $5,000 in fines for further ones.

The piece of legislation is now just pending Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval, and will be enacted 90 days after that.

“Billboards belong in Times Square, not in the middle of the Hudson and East Rivers,” Holyman and Gottfried said in a joint statement. “These floating billboards are a dangerous distraction to boaters and drivers, not to mention an eyesore.”