MIDTOWN SOUTH — A local NYPD precinct council hopes to replace the city’s ubiquitous plastic newspaper boxes with “sexier” ones that don’t pose a safety risk to pedestrians.
The Midtown South Community Council — which addresses quality-of-life issues raised by residents living within the precinct's boundaries — has launched a contest seeking designs for a new, “aesthetically pleasing” news rack, box or dispenser.
The existing boxes are “nuisances” that impede walkways and that pedestrian often topple and use as seats, the council said in a release.
"We are seeking an innovative design that highlights the papers, provides for the following qualities of being damage proof, unmovable, trim and slim," the release said.
Designs must also meet city Department of Transportation requirements for outdoor news racks.
The initiative is part of the council’s beautification program, council president John Mudd told DNAinfo New York.
The winner or winners of the council contest could receive up to $2,500 for their graffiti-proof designs, based on how far they advance in obtaining approval from local community boards and publishers, the release noted.
The council has met with a number of publishers including Straus News — which prints the weekly newspapers Chelsea News and the West Side Spirit — to discuss the idea and their responses so far have been positive, Mudd said.
The group is also working with CityRax, a consulting group that focuses on installing “innovative” news racks in public spaces, to make the plan a reality.
A DOT spokesman on Monday said individual publishers are allowed to design their own news racks and choose the color as long as they meet the department's requirements.
Mudd hopes contest participants will be able to come up with boxes that are “more modern, and sexier" than the ones they'll replace.
“The streets need to be a little more user-friendly for pedestrians, and they’re not,” Mudd said. “If you had something nice, it might be something appealing for visitors when they come in, too.”
Participants can email designs to email@example.com until the end of July.