After getting a thumbs up from Community Board 1 and a thumbs down from Community Board 2, the JetBlue sign that the company would like to see sitting atop its new headquarters in Long Island City got the okay from Borough President Helen Marshall late last month, according to her office.
The airline, in a joint effort with the Department of City Planning, has proposed a zoning law change that would remove a prohibition on rooftop signs rising more than 40 feet from the curb in a designated part of Queens Plaza which includes the Brewster Building, JetBlue’s new headquarters.
If the change goes into effect, signs standing a maximum of 45 feet tall from roofs rising between 70 to 150 feet from the curb would be allowed in the area. Any sign would have to be non-flashing and letter-cut, in the vein of Silvercup’s iconic design.
Because of the Brewster’s location, both CB 1 — representing Astoria and a part of Long Island City — and CB 2 — representing Long Island City and Sunnyside — voted on the measure, with CB 1 saying yes in January and CB 2 voting no in February.
In her decision to recommend passage of the zoning text amendment, Marshall said JetBlue’s sign “would be significantly smaller than what the proposed text would allow.” At the moment, no other buildings in the area meet the height requirements for a similar sign, according to Penny Lee, a senior planner with the DCP.
But the sign’s fight is not yet over. It will now be considered by the City Planning Commission before coming up for a vote in the City Council, something JetBlue representative Allison Steinberg said the company believed would happen by the end of this month.
The company has already begun moving its employees from its Forest Hills location to LIC, Steinberg said, with the majority moving in early April.
Bryan Baldwin, JetBlue’s manager of corporate communications, emphasized that the choice of the Brewster Building over other locations — the airline had at one point considered Florida, for example — had a lot to do with the building’s visibility, and ultimately, the sign.
In addition to having a large number of workers already living in Queens, Baldwin wrote in an email that JetBlue “chose this building because we hoped we would be able to put a sign on the roof ... [as] an indication of JetBlue’s status as New York’s Hometown Airline and an iconic New York brand.”
Baldwin noted that 1,000 employees will be moving to the Long Island City building and would soon be contributing to the neighborhood’s economy.