Tuesday, November 05, 2013

New Investors Bank Sign On Court Street Keeping Neighbors Awake

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During the Day: The new Investors Bank sign on Court Street between 3rd and 4th Place
and at night, below
(photo taken by L.)
The new Investors Bank branch that is replacing Good Food at 431 Court Street hasn't even opened its doors yet, but is already causing controversy.
Over the week-end, I received the following email from a reader:
"I'm not sure if you have seen the nightmare sign that was put up in the old Good Food place on Court Street?Investors Bank put up a hideous sign. Please someone needs to address this sign that is out of context. This is atrocious."
I promised the reader that I would check it out.  So yesterday afternoon, I grabbed my camera and shot the photos above.  There is no doubt that the bright green sign is rather obnoxious, especially the canopy which extends over the sidewalk. 
While I was pointing my camera at the building, a young lady approached me to inquire if I was taking pictures of the sign.  When I told her 'yes', she told me that both the sign and the canopy were lit up all night long and that the brightness had kept her and her neighbors awake since it had been installed a few days ago.  She had already spoken to the bank's contractor about the sign and was told that quite a few people had complained about it.  So she started a petition to present to Investor's Bank.
The petition reads:
November 13 
Carroll Gardens residents are concerned by the amount of light pollution coming from the new store front, Investors Bank, on Court Street between 3rd and 4th Place.  There is also opposition to the bright awning that extends into the street.  The new business has not used nearby financial businesses and banks as a model for its design. The other businesses do not disrupt the residential atmosphere that is highly valued here. 
We, the signed residents of Carroll Gardens and its Brooklyn neighbors, are requesting that Investors Bank: 
1) remove its awning 
2) Dim its lights. 
We are requesting this in the spirit of Investors Bank's willingness to become a part of the neighborhood instead of standing out in a way that is unattractive and disruptive to the neighbors.
Obviously, Investors Bank, a New Jersey-based financial institution, has little sensibility for our brownstone neighborhood. Let's hope that they wise up quickly and realize that this sign and the bright lights are not appropriate for Brownstone Brooklyn.


Below is a photo of the petition. I will update the post to include a link if it is put online. In the meantime, here is the contact information to the bank's New Jersey headquarters.

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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't stores need a permit to install such an awning? Maybe this should be taken to the local community council.

Katia said...

In fairness, the Citi Bank branch on Court between Carroll Street and First Place also has an awning that extends over the sidewalk, but it is not illuminated like this one.
I am not sure what the rules are in regards to these 'canopies'. Do the businesses that have them have to pay the city the same way that restaurant owners need to pay for outdoor tables?
I would love to find out.
They are rather obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

This is what the kids call a "first world problem".

Atrocious? Get a grip, it's a sign and some lights. It's annoying to you, it's not atrocious (adj., "horrifyingly wicked").

Also, Katia: The dig at New Jersey (on Facebook) is a low blow and, frankly, beneath the tone your good reporting usually strikes.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...don't be too quick to dismiss "some lights." I'm sure if they were illuminating your bedroom to daylight levels in the middle of the night, you would no longer consider them to be just "some lights." They would be just as annoying to you as they are to the residents who are complaining about them now.

Anonymous said...

Please, please let them know that the community preferred a roll-gate after 7 pm! Who would expect lights on Court Street???

Why not actually address some issues that affect our quality of life, like the 76th Precinct not writing a single speeding ticket, turning Court Street into the Indy 500, rather than giving a wider audience to two people who need to buy some curtains.

Katia said...

'Atrocious' was the way one of the reader who contacted me described it.
No matter what adjective is used, the signage and lights are ridiculous.
I am sorry that you took offense at the mention of New Jersey. Investors Bank's headquarters is in New Jersey. Perhaps, decisions about their new locations are being reached without a thorough understanding of the neighborhoods they are branching out into.
The sign might be all right for a commercial strip in the suburbs, but not for a street like Court Street, where the bright lights shine into people's bedrooms at night.

No other bank in the neighborhood has resorted to such bright lights to draw attention to itself. I have no doubt that the others will soon follow to compete with Investors.

And don't even get me started on the waste of energy.


Anonymous said...

gesh..., the atrocious canopy shines down on the sidewalk.. even the second story of the building appears not to be brightened in the pic. secondly it certainly gives an after hours ATM customer a better sense of security than standing there in the dark and hoping for the best.....

Anonymous said...

Over the years, Katia has done an admirable job of covering myriad issues affecting our neighborhood, good and bad alike, including calling out the 76th Precinct when necessary. I hardly think that a blog post about a brownstone window would offend anyone's sensibilities and suggest neglect of any of the other issues that concern the residents of CG.

Sean said...

Katia, I'm glad you've reported on this. This canopy is certainly a detriment to the wonderful aesthetic that Carroll Gardens features (as are the others in the area).

In response to the previous reader who commented about the light not affecting the building(s) around it: anecdotally I can confirm that, while unfortunately Katia's photograph doesn't capture it, the green light can not only be seen around the windows on the floor above the canopy, it is also projected on to the buildings across the street. The canopy certainly projects itself on a substantial portion of the block, and the lights do not merely shine down on the sidewalk.

Speaking as a designer, I too would say "atrocious" - if I ever pinned up a rendering of something like this when I was in college, my respected faculty wouldn't hesitate to use the word when critiquing it. Sure it's a strong word, but the canopy is truly ugly.

Detale said...

Although I'm sure it's annoying to those that live upstairs I don't think it's a community issue. If there were less/no lights there someone would complain about the lack of lighting. Or when someone got mugged because of less light THAT would be the issue. I think this is another case of people complaining for little reason. "light pollution"? c'mon. its not times square guys. Where were the complaints when smith street opened up all the bars and restaurants keeping those good people awake at night? I believe some people refer to that happening as a renaissance.

I'm unsure of the laws about the awning but there are strict laws involving the lighting on the outside of commercial spaces, banks in particular.

These comments however get my goat:

"There is no doubt that the bright green sign is rather obnoxious"

"a New Jersey-based financial institution, has little sensibility for our brownstone neighborhood"

You do realize the irony here right? The exact same thing could be said for the newcomers to the area. Just replace bright green sign with "yuppies" and New Jersey with Wisconsin or Minnesota etc.

To completely change the face and culture of an area and then complain when you think others are doing it is hypocritical to say the least.

This is New York City, welcome to it. This is NOT middle America or the suburbs. We have lights and noise here, sorry to break it to you.

If people really need to complain about something why not complain about the recent criminal activity in Carroll park or better yet do something about it.

chance bliss said...

at first, i thought it was a gas station - the illuminated awning. oh well. i imagine that persistent encouragement will eventually get them to make some adjustments, just like with 16 handles.

Anonymous said...

This is not in character with the area, and is too bright. they should change it, otherwise Court street is going to look more like 86th street in Bay Ridge. A few years ago 16 Handles installed garish signage and they changed it right away when people complained; they did the right thing, now they are very successful.

Detale said...

One other thing I missed:

"The sign might be all right for a commercial strip in the suburbs, but not for a street like Court Street, where the bright lights shine into people's bedrooms at night."

Court street is a commercial street, there are businesses there, people knew this when they moved in. It's not ANY of the residential side streets in our neighborhood. With all due respect Katia I think maybe you need to get a better understanding of the neighborhood in this case. It's Court street we're talking about here not Clinton.


"And don't even get me started on the waste of energy."

It's not a waste, it's a safety issue.I think it's presumptuous to say it's a waste of energy. Without adequate lighting this becomes a a huge target for people hitting the ATM at night.

Anonymous said...

No one has suggested turning the lights out completely. Citibank also has lights, but they're not garish as these are. We know very well this is NYC and Court is a commercial street, so we don't need to be preached to. Katia knows the neighborhood very well, as I do, having lived here for nearly 60 years. No one is resisting progress or new things. We are trying to maintain a good neighborhood for all of us and attempting to respect and preserve what's best about it while making it livable for all of our residents whether they live on commercial or side streets.

Katia said...

Detale,
Why would Investors Bank be more prone to robberies than all the other banks on the surrounding blocks?
No one is saying that they shouldn't have some lights near their ATM machines, but they shouldn't illuminate the entire block.
It certainly is an easy fix on the bank's part and a solution would be very much appreciated by the residents of the neighborhood.
As one reader mentioned, 16 Handles changed their sign within a week after Carroll Gardeners pointed out that the first sign's colors were way too bright. Capital One on Court and Second Place tore up an ugly, trash filled asphalt courtyard and planted a beautiful flower garden after it was pointed out to management.

Why wouldn't a business want to be a good neighbor here or elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

I too think it looks like a gas station. A suburban gas station.
Court St is not commercial; it is mixed commercial and residential. Do you even live in the neighborhood?
This is a legitimate issue for those with an investment/interest in the neighborhood and who are not aesthetically impaired. I applaud this blog for highlighting these tone deaf moves which will only increase as more chains move in.

Anonymous said...

Well-reported Katia. By the way, I agree that Bay Ridge's 86 Street has gone overboard with all the signage, but that is strictly a commercial strip with no housing on the street. I don't understand why the bank cannot place a simple classy sign in line with the building. If things were up to me, signs should not stick out at all. They are atrocious and hideous and ridiculous and selfish.

Counterfugue said...

It's too bright. It's very ugly. It affects neighbors around it, as well as anyone who has to see it. Aesthetics matter. In CG, one the very important draws for new residents and old is aesthetics, hence... "Gardens". We care about how things look, and while some things are hard to change, something brand new like this should have been reconsidered before blithely being installed.

And seriously, attacking and criticizing Katia? She gives her opinion but is also incredibly diplomatic and fair. All writers should have her sensibilities.

Anonymous said...

OMG, so much bickering and whining. Look, the bank has a cookie cutter design, it works great in strip mall parking lot locations, and no one thought twice about it until it goes up in an urban residential location. I am sure once we point it out, the Bank will want to be good neighbors. Right?

Detale said...

Katia, I never said it was more prone to a robbery than any other bank, only that it was a safety issue to dim the lights down too much. It is an easy enough fix for sure, but they shouldn't be forced to because a few people don't like it, or feel it doesn't "fit the area". There is a fine line between "persistent encouragement" and bullying.

Honestly I'm not trying to debate weather the sign is bothersome or not, I'm sure it is too some people.

My point here was that the same people who have refaced the area are now complaining when they don't like someone else doing it. Although I enjoy your blog, I respectfully disagree with you on this. Hopefully you didn't feel attacked because that certainly wasn't my intention. I appreciate your view fully, I just don't agree with it this time. No biggie really


"We are trying to maintain a good neighborhood for all of us and attempting to respect and preserve what's best about it while making it livable for all of our residents whether they live on commercial or side streets. "

Under who's authority do you get to say what's good for all of us? "Respect and preserve what's best about it" are you joking?? I am what some have come to call one of "the leftovers" and believe me the gentrified "nabe" hasn't been respected nor preserved. The working class neighborhood is gone and so are the working class stores, banks and upscale cafes are what happens after the gentrification is in full swing. I'm honestly surprised we don't have a Starbucks closer to Carroll park yet. So after the area has changed to your liking now you want to preserve it? Lets be realistic now.

"I too think it looks like a gas station. A suburban gas station.
Court St is not commercial; it is mixed commercial and residential. Do you even live in the neighborhood?
This is a legitimate issue for those with an investment/interest in the neighborhood and who are not aesthetically impaired. I applaud this blog for highlighting these tone deaf moves which will only increase as more chains move in. "

Really? After all I've said you can only take a shot at me for not saying "mixed use". Good one, you got me. I have lived in the neighborhood all my life, have you? I happen to own a mixed use building on Court street, My children go to school here. My family has been in the area for about 120 years so I'd say I have an investment/interest in the area. Now let me get this straight, if someone doesn't agree with you they are "aesthetically impaired" and making a "tone deaf move"? Not exactly very liberal of you.

I will say that Katia is amazingly fair and I truly enjoy reading what she writes, except about France (HAHA!). The first time I wrote her here I posted that "I doubt you will even allow this through the moderation" She did and it shut me up, forever earning my respect even if I disagree.

I can see I struck a nerve here but I don't get why. We can have differences of opinion and still be neighborly about it. I don't think I attacked anyone.

P.S. Next time the people talking about 86th street go there, please look up, there are apartments over most of the stores there too.

Katia thank you for your time and keeping this blog going.

Anonymous said...

It's really bad branding all around. Cheap and not in with our hood. Light pollution is right. I'm sorry for the neighbors.

Katia said...

Detale,
Part of the reason I write this blog is because I truly enjoy the many viewpoints of my neighbors, yours included.
I know that I don't speak for everyone in Carroll Gardens, but I welcome well reasoned arguments from those with a different opinion.
It's all about the conversation, community and our affection for our little neighborhood.

Katia said...

By the way, a reader reports that Investors Bank's lights were off last night.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please think of the children! I had to explain to Buddy, my 13 year old, what visual pollution was. Imagine my shame.

Anonymous said...

The bright lights are needed as a security deterrent due to the men's homeless shelter opening a few blocks away. Citibank has Dunkin Donuts next door to provide protection when the bank is closed.

Anonymous said...

Atrocious is right! It is cheap looking and hideous addition that is completely out of place. The only positive is that it brings the community together with collective disdain for it. Every time I walk by the garish and flimsily constructed awning, I find another neighbor gawking in disbelief. Also, did

Sure, there are other issues to think about in the neighborhood, but if we don't take notice of small changes like this one, this lovely neighborhood's aesthetic could change in an instant. Have some class, Investors Bank.