In 2013, I interviewed Peter Bunder and Eddie VanBogaert on the WL signage wars. City government threatened to crack down on local property managers for increasingly putting up larger and larger signage in student neighborhoods that did not adhere to zoning laws, further exacerbating the tensions between local government, the campus neighborhood associations, and landlords. When Granite Management, a sizable rental company whose logo is a banana, painted a huge banana on the side of a house on a prominent campus corner, they denied it was branding, marketing, or advertising. “It’s just a banana,” they said. Other folks claimed it was art, or made the case for a political statement. Debate ensued.
The idea came on June 27, as wreckers worked for nearly three hours to pull out a car wedged into the trees in Breschinsky’s yard. No one was hurt in the crash. But the driver missed the turn and took down two trees planted 20 years ago, in part, to protect the house from this very situation.
As neighbors gathered to watch the operation that day, they compared notes about crashes, big and small, and close calls. They decided, as Breschinsky said, “Enough was enough. We need a statement.”
Lauren Bruce lives across Meridian Street from Breschinsky. She said the last straw for her was nearly being hit as a car buzzed within inches of her bike — along with the trailer hauling her preschool daughter — as she signaled to turn into her driveway.
Bruce said she spoke with friends from Bicycle Lafayette, who have been working on several traffic-calming initiatives and displays — most recently getting riders to do all-day loops on Harrison Bridge and on 18th Street, after car-vs.-bike crashes in each place.
While I think their defense is total crap, as an art and antiques enthusiast, I also have a soft spot for creative advertising, hand-painted signage, and local history. On the question of whether signage can be art, I encourage anyone to take a stroll down a historic main street or local antique mall and get back with me. Either way, this is definitely one for local lore.
I kind of like it.
About Lauren Bruce
Lauren Bruce is the founder of the award-winning blog Feministe, and co-founder of local magazine Think Lafayette (RIP 2011-2016). She loves Twitter, bikes, kids, animals, cooking, yarn, gardening, politics, and the auction hustle. For more, see her bio and greatest hits.