NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Amtrak is under fire – not for its service, but a billboard.
Upper Manhattan residents and elected officials gathered in Washington Heights on Wednesday to protest the new sign on Amtrak property.
It hasn’t been installed yet, but residents describe the structure as a “monstrosity” that blocks their views of the river.
City Councilman Mark Levine said Amtrak offered to lower the billboard two feet, but the community wants it scrapped.
“We are upset about this, we do not accept it. It was done without consultation with the community,” he said. “It is visual clutter we don’t want and need.”
The protesters also criticized Amtrak for spraying pesticides that destroyed their community garden last fall. The city’s parks department is now helping to restore the garden on 138th Street.
“We appreciate the concerns expressed by Councilman Levine and the Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill community and are working with the billboard company to have the sign lowered so that the top of the sign face will be even further below the top of the retaining wall so as not to alter the skyline of the neighborhood or block views of the George Washington Bridge,” Amtrak said in a statement.