Here's official word on the Flatiron Building's temporary H&M ad: It must come down. The Department of Buildings and Flatiron Partners, which owns the 23rd Street icon, are squabbling over the legality of the sign; the DoB thinks it violates a number of things while the owners are counting their money. The sign won't come down until the city files notice in Albany and then goes to court over it, which might not happen overnight. The irony is that the sign is only supposed to be up for a month, which might make the point moot. Ah, bureaucracy!
A friend of Gothamist who works in real estate let us know about illegal signs:
A lot of...large property owners ...knowingly put up illegal signage on sidewalk sheds. They do it because the revenue they get from it is enormous. I've heard numbers as high as $200K thrown around for a large sign and even with a slew of [Environmental Control Board] violations, there are ways to tweak the system, postpone hearings and have penalties reduced; hence the odds of the penalties negating the revenue from the sign are slim to nil.
Fascinating! Plus, there's the free publicity that this stir has been causing. And here's the City's page on Buildings Department violations vs. ECB violations.
Photograph by Towleroad