Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. The useful life of political campaign signs is short at best. On Wednesday afternoon of this week a humongous sign appeared on what appears to be a storage building on the empty lot where Croton Dodge formerly stored its new-car inventory. Shortly after the property came on the market, Mark Franzoso quietly snapped it up.
The building is a metal industrial-type structure that appeared out of nowhere. Sitting forlornly on this empty lot like the Little House on the Prairie, it is quite out of step with a neighborhood valiantly trying to establish its identity.
Your correspondent wondered whether Croton had exchanged a lot with its not unattractive rank upon rank of shiny new cars for one that may soon house a shabby array of dumpsters, lift vans or similar storage buildings, all sporting advertising. This location is one of the most visually sensitive in the so-called Harmon Gateway Area.
In previous strolls, we had noticed that the vacant property was starting to show signs of neglect evidenced by accumulating litter. Moreover, ignoring the Village’s snow removal ordinance, after snowstorms the lot’s sidewalks are never cleared of accumulated snow, which soon turns to ice and makes walking to the station hazardous for commuters.
The sign’s message was simple and decidedly one-sided politically: “Vote for Joe Streany Village Trustee,” it fairly shouted, leaving poor Joan Minett to find her own patrons and advocates elsewhere. The Stroller estimates that the sign measured about 16 square feet in area, which would have taken it far beyond any limit set by the Visual Environment Board.
Not only was the sign large, almost approaching a small billboard in size, it was an elaborate example of the sign painter’s art. No piece of scrap cardboard amateurishly hand-lettered with felt-tip pen, this sign was outsized and handsomely framed. A sign so large and potentially long-enduring could serve a candidate for several campaigns before showing evidence of wear and tear.
As we said, the sign went up on Wednesday, presumably erected by or paid for by Mark Franzoso. As suddenly as it went up, it disappeared just as abruptly. By Thursday it was gone. A mystery novelist writing about its short life would undoubtedly title the account “The Case of the Disappearing Sign.”
The Stroller is left with a half-dozen questions: (1) Who paid for the sign? (2) Does its expenditure represent an equivalent political contribution? (3) Was it intended to last for repeated campaigns? (4) Why did it disappear so quickly? (5) Where is it now? (6) Is it going to turn up at a different location?
“It’s a puzzlement,” as Yul Brynner used to say in the long-running musical “The King and I.”
In case you think we’re making this up, here’s a pair of before- and after-photographs:
Add Another Odd Couple. This one may be the oddest couple of all the odd couples we have discovered and recorded so far: Joan N. Minett, 42, living at 5 Van Cortlandt Place is registered as a Republican while her husband, James P. Minett, 54, living at the same address, is registered as a Democrat. Her middle name is None (We’re not kidding, it’s None—but we’re not going anywhere with that.), and his is Paul. Political discourse in that household must indeed be very spirited.