02 April 2012

The Worst Sign on Court Street


Some weeks ago, Joe's Restaurant, an old diner and a standby of Carroll Gardens' Court Street for years, packed it in. The space was then rented to a yogurt joint. Which doesn't sound too bad on the face of it. But with the shop, called 16 Handles, comes this horribleriffic monstrosity of a sign, which made its debut a few days ago, scarring the eyes of innocent locals and frightening mild-hearted dogs and children.

Do store signs have to be approved by local community boards? If so, how did this garish piece of visual offensiveness get by the town fathers? This is, by far, the worst, the ugliest sign in the 20-plus block of stretch of Court Street. It is worse than McDonald's, Popeye's and Dunkin' Donuts, and that is saying something. The so-bright-they-hurt colors were obviously chosen to attract the attention of the freeway driver whizzing by a roadside rest stop. But this is a quiet neighborhood commercial strip in an old residential area. The chain is so ignorant of the neighborhood that on their website, they list this location as being in Cobble Hill.

UPDATE: The owner of the franchise contacted me and had the following to say:
Your blog was sent to me via a friend and I wanted to send a comment on behalf of 16 Handles. 
We agree that the signage used at this location does not fit the vibe or feel of your neighborhood.
It wasn't the intention of our franchisee to upset the community. 
We have heard you and we thank you for your feedback.
Our mission is simply to bring smiles to communities. The sign we hung clearly missed the mark. 
Having said that, we are working to have the sign removed and replaced with one which is more suitable for the neighborhood.
Jon Lake, vp operations - 16 Handles
I am stunned, as I have come to expect authority never to respond to the complaints of community members. All I can say, is, while I may not like the sign, the man who hung it is a gentleman. I applaud his reaction heartily. And, when the shop opens, I will try the yogurt.


Anonymous said...

Thank GOD Community Boards do not have input on signs. A bunch of NIMBYs and political appointments who either are retired, jobless, or otherwise have hours of their time to ask questions that DONT MATTER would seriously gum up the building process more than it already is. I'm glad that they have the right to put that sign up.

That being said, the sign is ugly as sin, and I won't be supporting them. I suggest you and your readers do the same if you want to see the sign gone.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I hate the first part of your comment. But I love the second part. And so, even though I don't usually post Anonymous comments, I'm posting yours, since you're obviously that rare crank who can see both sides of the issue. ;-)

Ed said...

We have a weird regulatory system where assorted government agencies, boards, etc. stick their noses into tons of places where they don't have to in terms of running a business, to the point of harassment, but then some stuff that really should be regulated gets ignored.

Uniform appearance codes, such as shaped Paris, is one of the few good things about zoning and of course is unknown in US cities, though they are used (and abused) in some suburbs.

Anonymous said...

The city has the authority to review and approval all signage. There are different codes for awnings, as there are for flat attached signs - ie: size and amount of lettering. This very well may be in violation. Although the city has these codes it often does not enforce them. If the city gets a few phone calls about this, 16 Handles may have to tone the signage. It's worth trying. I will call also.

David said...

In historic districts, the Landmark's Preservation Committee gets to approve signs to make sure they fit with the neighborhood's character. Of course, they don't always get it right on the first try. See what happened in the Mount Morris Park Historic District last fall: http://harlembespoke.blogspot.com/2011/11/shop-update-at-183-lenox-avenue.html
I totally agree that this sign is horrific and definitely a scar on the face of Court Street.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bigmissfrenchie said...

Wow, that is an ugly sign. And I particularly like that they made no effort to match the color of the storefront itself. And FYI, isn't frozen yogurt over yet?

Clyde Shuman said...

So you're not offended by the nonsense "our mission is to bring smiles to communities"?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I don't cotton to that sort of corporate talk, no, but I appreciate his willingness to work with the community. Compare this to the behavior of the developers of the new condo buildings on Court and Smith.

Betty said...

They have taken it down. I hope because of the outrage and disappointment that they didn't make a greater effort to have a more appropriate sign - not something gaudy that looks like it belongs in a mall or in Times Square. Thanks to all!