By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Angry residents fed up with a brightly lit Duane Reade sign that the city says is illegal plan to picket the pharmacy this Sunday.
Locals will protest outside the new Duane Reade at West 72nd Street and Broadway, where a glowing digital billboard on the store's second floor beams ads 24 hours a day.
The Department of Buildings ordered the sign removed last month — but Duane Reade doesn't have to comply with that demand until after a June 2 hearing where the pharmacy gets a chance to plead its case, a DOB spokeswoman said.
Duane Reade could also face up to $6,400 in fines for the illegal sign.
In the meantime, the glare from the flashing billboard is interrupting locals' sleep, and some say the Times Square-style sign is destroying the neighborhood's character.
Local resident Jeannie Williams said she and her neighbors want the sign to come down now — not in June after the hearing. Williams said petitions and fliers have been circulating in her West 73rd Street building, and she expects a "good crowd" for the picketing.
"We remain very concerned about this issue regarding our property values," Williams told DNAinfo in an email. "Many wonder why, if the sign is in violation, the DOB allows it to remain, while awaiting the hearing? That is a month away."
A DOB spokeswoman said the violations and fines are pending until the June 2 hearing, which means Duane Reade doesn't have to remedy the problem until then.
Locals started a Facebook page calling for a boycott of Duane Reade last month.
Borough President Scott Stringer, State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, State Senator Tom Duane, and City Councilwoman Gale Brewer are backing the protest, scheduled for 1 p.m on Sunday, May 1.
Upper West Siders aren't the only ones angry about Duane Reade signage. East Side residents recently called for action against a marquee-style Duane Reade sign on East 86th Street, near Lexington Avenue.
West Siders have a track record of successful action against too-bright signage. Last fall a Time Warner billboard at West 96th Street and Broadway was dimmed slightly after residents complained it was too bright.