N.Y. artist told to remove blue line painting or face 'legal action'
The Department of Transportation threatened the artist with summonses or worse if he doesn't remove a blue line painted on a road divider
By Sydney Kashiwagi
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Department of Transportation wants Staten Island artist Scott LoBaido to remove a bright blue line he painted along a divider on Hylan Boulevard outside of the 122 precinct or face getting hit with summonses, or worse, “legal actions.”
But LoBaido is bucking DOT’s warning, sent to him in a cease and desist letter last week, and instead, turning that letter into a piece of art and auctioning it off to fund the NYC Cops & Kids Boxing Club.
The piece, titled “Red, White and a Thin Blue Line” blows up DOT’s cease and desist letter and shows LoBaido painting a blue line over it.
“Did the mayor get this letter for putting his artwork down the street without a permit? No. Did the people who graffitied this whole city, any of them get this letter? No, they did not,” LoBaido says in a video. “This is discrimination against me because I’m a conservative artist and I support the men and women in blue. This letter ain’t worth the paper it was printed on.”
“You defund the police, I’m funding them,” he said.
Last week, LoBaido painted a bright blue line along the divider on Hylan Boulevard outside of the 122nd precinct in New Dorp that he said represents his solidarity with the NYPD.
LoBaido painted the line without city approval, arguing “the mayor never got a permit to do that street art, so I guess it’s fair game.”
Earlier this summer, in response to nationwide racial injustice protests, de Blasio announced one street in every borough would be renamed “Black Lives Matter” and the roadway would be painted to match the sign.
CITY HALL: IT’S NOT ’OPEN SEASON’ FOR PAINTING STREETS
It is unclear whether de Blasio submitted an application or received a permit to paint “Black Lives Matter” on city streets.
City Hall confirmed last week that the mayor would not allow pro-police groups to paint “Blue Lives Matter” near the NYPD headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
The administration said the pro-police groups had not submitted a DOT application for their street painting proposal but said it was not “open season” to paint the city’s streets.
However, the administration also said it takes each mural on a case-by-case basis if an applicant goes through the proper application process.
City Hall and the Department of Transportation have repeatedly avoided answering whether the mayor submitted a DOT application before he moved forward with painting “Black Lives Matter” street murals around the city.
“Let’s be clear: It’s not open season to paint our streets. The DOT has an application process, and requests must go through their site. Black Lives Matter is a moral statement. For all lives to matter, we must first make clear that Black lives matter. That is why we approved the murals and met those words with actions,” the mayor’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, told the Advance/SILive.com last week.
DOT said it was giving LoBaido seven business days from the cease and desist letter it sent the artist on July 22 to tell the agency in writing how he plans to remove the blue line.
But LoBaido’s spokesperson, Leticia Remauro, said his response to DOT was his latest piece of art.
In response to LoBaido’s latest ploy, DOT spokesman Scott Gastel said: “DOT did not provide authorization for the line to be painted.”
LoBaido’s latest artwork will be auctioned on his website. Bidding will end Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.
©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.