Governments' Lighter Side

NYC yanks 'Don’t Honk' signs

Will anybody notice?

New York City officials have given up — go ahead and honk, they say. Well, actually, the city has simply decided to pull down all those “Don’t Honk” signs, but it pretty much amounts to an unconditional surrender, according to The New York Times.

It’s still against city ordinances to blow a car horn unnecessarily, punishable in theory by a $350 fine. No living New Yorker can recall such a fine being enforced.

All the signs will be removed by the end of the year, according to the city Department of Transportation. DOT officials say the move is part of a plan to get rid of street clutter with signs that generally go ignored.

Ya think? Come on, this is New York, Ubiquitous Noise Capital of the World. One DOT official, in masterful understatement, said, “We’re not aware of any evidence that the signs have had any impact at locations where they’ve been installed.”

The “No Honking” signs were introduced in the 1980s during the administration of former Mayor Edward Koch. “There’s far less honking today than there was” then, Koch told the newspaper, crediting the signs for helping bring about the supposed decline.

Or, maybe not. The Times reporter stood at a stop light in front of Madison Square Garden. In the space of exactly one minute, the reporter counted 28 horn honks, including eight blasts from the same vehicle.  

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008 graduate of Furman University...
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