Volume 78 - Number 50 / May 20 - 26 , 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Villager photo by Lincoln Anderson

A New York Sun news box covered with stickers on Broome St. in Soho.

Sun never sets on defunct New York Sun news boxes

By Rita Wu

The New York Sun bowed out with its last issue on Sept. 30 of last year. But reminders of the defunct daily still dot Downtown’s landscape in the form of newspaper boxes, such as at Eighth Ave. south of 14th St., on Charles St. near Greenwich St., on LaGuardia Place near Bleecker St. and on Broome St. in Soho, to name a few. More than half a year has gone by since the paper folded, yet its yellow boxes still are strewn about the streets.

The news boxes are considered private property owned by the publication, as far as the Department of Transportation, which regulates such matters, is concerned. The Sun is obligated to inform D.O.T. of any changes — such as stopping publication and going out of business — which permits D.O.T. to get rid of the boxes. However, that the news boxes are abandoned is not enough in and of itself to get them disposed of — and, in fact, news boxes in this state are not even considered a violation, according to D.O.T.

D.O.T. is only allowed to remove abandoned news boxes and news racks in certain situations: “serious grounds,” such as posing a safety hazard; construction; if the agency has been notified by the owner to do so; if the owner has not registered with D.O.T.; or if proof is provided through “research, calls or e-mails,” that the publication is not functioning.

The Sun is clearly inoperative. A quick Internet search brought up the New York Sun’s Web site and a parting note from its editor, Seth Lipsky, last September: “It is my duty to report today that Ira Stoll and I and our partners have concluded that the Sun will cease publication.” A Wikipedia entry on the paper states: “The paper published its last edition on 2008-09-30 amidst a historic week of financial losses in the American economy.” Apparently this information must not be enough proof for D.O.T.

Owners are expected to certify to D.O.T. every four months that they are making their “best efforts” to maintain the appearance of their news boxes. They are also obligated to annually register their news boxes by Nov. 1. According to D.O.T., the newspaper sent a certificate of maintenance for its news boxes on Sept. 15, 2008. There hasn’t been any word since then. According to a department spokesperson, they have received “no official notification” from the paper regarding its folding.

Stoll, the Sun’s former vice president and managing editor, last week said The Villager could lend a hand by telling the Sun where its news boxes are, so they can be collected.

“If you can tell us the location or locations of the racks you are concerned about, please let us know, and we’ll pass word along to the people we sold the racks to, so that they get picked up,” he said.

Reader Services




The Villager is published by Community Media LLC. 145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013 Phone: (212) 229-1890 | Fax: (212) 229-2790 | Advertising: 646-452-2465 | © 2009 Community Media, LLC

Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this newspaper, in whole or in part, can be reproduced or redistributed.