Tourists may love New York, but the Southold Town Board and local civic leaders haven’t shown much love toward the state’s tourism signs that were posted without warning in Orient last month.
Following their requests to have the signs removed, three of the four ‘I ♥ NY’ signs on Route 25 near Cross Sound Ferry were recently taken down.
The largest sign, which is roughly 12 feet wide by eight feet tall, remains as of Monday afternoon and is expected to be replaced with a smaller version, state officials confirmed.
Greg Blower, a spokesperson for state Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), said the senator has been pushing to have all of the signs removed since they popped up across the East End last month.
Similar signs in nearby towns and villages, including East Hampton and Port Jefferson, have reportedly been taken down.
“[The signs] just don’t fit with the character of our villages,” Mr. Blower said. “At least they’re being somewhat responsive to the elected officials.”
Orient Association president Robert Hanlon emailed elected leaders Friday decrying the signs.
“The big sign is still out of scale, out of proportion to the community,” he said in an interview Monday. “What purpose does it serve? It seems like a vanity piece.”
Mr. Hanlon said that while “less is more” when it comes to the tourism sign, he said the state must keep in mind the community’s character before making any design decisions.
“Most importantly, they should be consulting with town officials and community groups before acting,” he said.
Town Supervisor Scott Russell has described the signs as “pointless” and said he has been in “regular contact” with Mr. LaValle to have the signs removed.
“The sign coming off the ferry — if it really needs to stay — should be reduced in size,” Mr. Russell said. “It’s too big [and it] restricts the view of a publicly held preserve right behind it.”
Mr. Russell said the large sign also didn’t fit the town’s local waterfront plan, which the state had previously signed off on.
“That document had been approved by [New York State],” he said. “Therefore, they are required to remove the sign that’s left.”
Mr. Hanlon said while Route 25 is a state road, he believes the roadway is too small to support a such a large sign.
“Route 25 is not a throughway,” he said. “It’s a rural country road.”
Mr. Blower said the governor’s office did not provide a definitive date for when the large sign would be replaced.
Photo: This sign on Route 25 in Orient is expected to be replaced with a smaller version. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)