By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Duane Reade's recent removal of a glowing sign that had angry Upper West Siders poised to march in the streets could help the company's bottom line.
Duane Reade faced up to $6,400 in fines for the glowing signs at its West 72nd and Broadway store because illuminated signs aren't legal on the second floor of mixed-use buildings.
But because the company bowed to neighborhood protests and darkened the signs before a city hearing on the issue, the fines will probably be reduced to $400 per violation, or $3,200 total, a Department of Buildings spokeswoman said.
A hearing on the issue was scheduled for Thursday at the city's Environmental Control Board, but it's been rescheduled, a spokeswoman for the city's Environmental Control Board said. The new date hasn't been set yet, she said.
Jeannie Williams, who lives in a building near the sign, wants the judge handling the case to slap Duane Reade and the building's owner, Gotham Organization, with a hefty penalty.
"We ask the judge to fine Duane Reade and Gotham Organization as a warning that the city will not put up with flouting of city laws and the best interests of our neighborhoods," Williams wrote in a letter to the judge.
Neighbors started griping about the brightly lit signs on the new Duane Reade at 200 W. 72nd Street almost as soon as they were switched on in March.
The two-story pharmacy had eight illuminated signs on its upper level, and neighbors complained that the glare made their neighborhood look like Times Square.
Residents were particularly incensed about the largest sign, a flashing video billboard that played a constant loop of ads for Duane Reade.
After people in nearby buildings said the glow was so intense that it disturbed their sleep, City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Tom Duane all called for its removal.
A Duane Reade spokesman said the company removed the video billboard "in keeping with a commitment made to its Upper West Side neighbors."
The company cut the power supply to the other illuminated signs on the store's second floor, a DOB spokeswoman said.
That means the DOB violations were corrected, but it's up to an administrative law judge at the Environmental Control Board to decide what fines the company owes.