Infrastructure

Newsracks

A newsrack is defined as self-service or coin-operated box, container or other dispenser used for distributing of newspapers or other printed material. Newsracks are often installed on City streets. Because they occupy public space and have the potential to cause safety hazards or attact trash and graffiti, the city regulates newsracks, setting up registration and insurance requirements. The complete city rules can be found in Section 19-128.1 of Chapter 1 of title 19 of the Administrative Code and Section 2-08 of Chapter 2 of Title 34 of the Rules of the City of New York/

There is no limit to the number of newsracks that can be placed on the sidewalk as long as each rack is in compliance with all other regulations.

Complaints about newsracks can be reported directly to DOT using this online Newsrack Complaint Form or by calling 311.

Registering New Newsracks

Before installing a newsrack on City sidewalks, the newsrack's owner must register with DOT, indemnify DOT, and certify insurance coverage for the newsracks. Completed registration forms can be submitted by email to newsracks@dot.nyc.gov or fax to 212-839-8867. Newsrack owner registration form (pdf) Instructions for completing location submission form (pdf) Location submission template (excel) Indemnification form (pdf)

Registration and insurance information must be maintained with DOT while the installed newsracks remain on City sidewalks. Read more on maintenance requirements

Insurance

Newsrack owners must maintain a commercial general liability insurance policy from an insurer licensed to do business in the State of New York in his or her or its name, which names the City of New York, its departments, boards, officers, employees and agents as additional insureds for the specific purpose of indemnifying and holding harmless those additional insureds from and against any and losses, costs, damages, expenses, claims, judgments or liabilities that result from or arise out of the placement, installation and/or maintenance of such newsrack.

The combined minimum single limit for bodily injury, including death, and property damage, dedicated exclusively to the liabilities relating to such newsracks for owners of fewer than 100 newsracks is $300,000. For the owners of 100 newsracks or more, the limit is $1 million.

An insurance certificate demonstrating compliance with these requirements must be submitted before newsracks are installed.

Maintenance

Owners must inform DOT immediately of any changes affecting registration information, including removal of newsracks from sidewalks. Newsrack owners must re-register annually by November 1 every year that a newsrack is installed. Insurance certification must be submitted every year by December 31 or by the expiration date of the insurance policy, whichever is earlier.

Newsrack owners must certify to DOT three times that each newsrack under his or her ownership or control has been repainted, or that best efforts have been made to remove graffiti and other unauthorized markings. Newsrack owners also must keep daily logs detailing maintenance activities pertaining to newsracks on the attached Newsrack Maintenance Log. The logs do not have to be submitted to DOT, but they must be kept on file by the owner for a period of three years and must be made available to DOT on request. Download the Newsrack Maintenance Log template (excel) Certification of Required Maintenance Activities (pdf)

Submit the certification form by email to newsracks@dot.nyc.gov or fax to 212-839-8867 according to the following schedule:

  • by May 15 for the period from January 1-April 30
  • by January 15 for the period from September 1-December 31
  • by September 15 for the period from May 1-August 31

If DOT determines that the records do not accurately demonstrate compliance with the regulations or that the owner failed to keep adequate records, DOT may issue a Notice of Violation to the owner with a penalty ranging from $375 to $4,000 dollars, depending upon the number of newsracks owned. Read more about enforcement

Size and Placement

The maximum dimensions for a single rack are 50 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches deep. The maximum dimensions for a multi-rack are 60 inches high, 90 inches wide, and 36 inches deep.

The owner of each newsrack must post his or her name, address, telephone number and email address on the newsrack in a readily visible location. Newsracks may not be used for any other advertising or promotional purposes.

Newsracks must be weighted down in such a way as to ensure that they cannot be tipped over. They may be chained to non-decorative City lampposts, or non-City property with the permission of the owner of that property, using a plastic- or rubber-coated steel chain with a distance of no longer than eight (8) inches between the newsrack and the item to which it is chained, as long as they meet all location requirements. Single racks may not be bolted to the sidewalk. Multi-racks may be bolted if a DOT permit has been issued for that purpose. If a multirack is to be located on a distinctive sidewalk, written permission from the person or entity responsible for the maintenance of the distinctive sidewalk is required.

Newsracks may not be placed:

  • within fifteen (15) feet of any fire hydrant;
  • in any driveway or within five (5) feet of any driveway;
  • in any curb cut designed to facilitate street access by disabled persons or within two feet of any such curb cut;
  • within fifteen (15) feet of the entrance or exit of any railway station or subway station, except that a newsrack that otherwise complies with this subdivision may be placed against the rear of the station entrance or exit, but not against the sides;
  • within any bus stop;
  • within a crosswalk area;
  • within a corner area or within five (5) feet of any corner area;
  • on any surface where such installation or maintenance will cause damage to or interference with the use of any pipes, vault areas, telephone or electrical cables or other similar locations;
  • on any cellar door, grating, utility maintenance cover or other similar locations;
  • on, in or over any part of the roadway of any public street;
  • unless eight (8) feet of sidewalk width is preserved for unobstructed pedestrian passage;
  • in any park or on any sidewalk immediately contiguous to a park where such sidewalk is an integral part of the park design;
  • on any area of lawn, flowers, shrubs, trees or other landscaping or in such a manner that use of the newsrack would cause damage to such landscaping;
  • where such placement, installation or maintenance endangers the safety of persons or property;
  • at any distance less than eighteen (18) inches or more than twenty-four (24) inches from the face of the curb, measured to the side of the newsrack closest to the curb (this requirement does not apply to a newsrack placed against the rear of the entrance or exit of a subway or railway);
  • within five (5) feet of a canopy; and
  • within fifteen (15) feet of a sidewalk newsstand.

Enforcement

If, after inspecting a newsrack, DOT finds that it is not in compliance with the law or rules, it must first notify the newsrack owner to correct the problem by sending a Notice of Correction with a photograph of the non-complying condition. If the condition is not corrected, DOT can serve a Notice of Violation on the newsrack owner. For violations of the administrative provisions of the law, such as not registering or submitting evidence of having insurance, DOT may issue a Notice of Violation without a Notice of Correction before issuing a Notice of Violation. Notices of Violation are answerable at the Environmental Control Board (ECB), an administrative tribunal that holds hearings and adjudicates various "quality of life" infractions of the City's laws and rules.

If the ECB finds a newsrack to be in violation, the owner is subject to a civil penalty of $250 to $4000 for each violation depending upon the nature of the violation and, in some cases, the number of newsracks owned.

The City can remove a newsrack from its location in limited circumstances:

  • Abandoned Newsracks: The City can remove a newsrack if the name, address or other identifying material of the newsrack owner is not affixed to the newsrack and the Newsrack Owner has not registered with DOT.
  • Emergency Circumstances: The City can remove a newsrack if it poses an imminent threat to public health or safety.
  • Construction: If a newsrack is at a location to be used for public utility work, public transportation purposes, public safety purposes or in connection with construction or a capital project, the City must notify the newsrack owner to remove it. If the owner fails to do so, the City may issue a violation. The City can remove the rack if the newsrack is not removed by the owner within seven days after receipt of a decision from ECB upholding the violation.
  • Uncorrected Violations: If DOT finds that a newsrack is in violation of any other provisions of the law or rules, the City may not remove it unless and until the ECB upholds the violation. The newsrack owner has seven days from receipt of the ECB decision to remedy the condition. If the condition is still not corrected, the City may remove the newsrack.
  • Repeat Violators: A "repeat violator" is a newsrack owner who, within a 6-month period: (1) has been determined by ECB to have violated the newsrack law 10 or more times, and (2) has failed to pay 3 or more civil penalties imposed by ECB. The City may remove all the newsracks owned by a repeat violator for a 3-month period. A newsrack owner shall also be considered a repeat violator if ECB determines the owner failed to certify as required or failed to accurately certify in each of two consecutive certification periods in any two-year period or three times in any two-year period.

The City will store removed newsracks for 30 days, during which time the owner may redeem them after paying any outstanding fines and storage fees. After 30 days, the City may auction or dispose of abandoned newsracks and newsracks that are not redeemed from storage.