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NY designer cries foul with retail storefronts.

Short-sightedness combined with a "come to the bazaar" type of promotional mentality, says one New York designer, is helping to fuel the "visual pollution" contaminating the appearance of many of New York City's finest buildings, particularly classic older properties with distinctive architectural-features.

So charges designer Josephine Sokolski, president of Manhattan-based JCS Design Associates, a leader in the building renovation and restoration field.

Known for her "heavy duty missionary work" over the years in educating owners and retailers to the benefit of blending storefront design and signage in harmony with a restored facade, Ms. Sokolski admits that while some progress has been made in this area, there's "still an awfully long way to go" in the battle to beautify New York.

"Whenever a storefront or signage is so aesthetically disconcerting that you don't even bother looking up to see the rest of the building, that's a classic example of visual pollution," asserted Sokolski. "Sadly, it's a phenomenon that's running rampant today in many parts of the city."

While admitting that property owners share some of the blame for the problem, the designer puts most of the onus on retailers, particularly those with "bazaar-type" marketing mentalities.

Among the worst present offenders, according to Sokolski, are:

* Fast food operators * Pharmacy/health care chains * Bargain/discount stores * Electronic outlets * Rug/Art galleries * Novelty Shops

Not to despair. There is some light at the end of New York's visually polluted tunnel, according to Sokolsky. She says that, in general, retailers are being more responsive and sensitive to storefront and exterior design issues and a ripple effect is starting to emerge, particularly in new construction and high-end renovations. Sokolski has recently been retained to work on five major building restorations involving facade and/or storefront design* 1212 Avenue of the Americas; 10 and 16 East 34th Streets; 276 Fifth Avenue and 435 Hudson Street
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Title Annotation:Josephine Sokolski calls many retail building facades visual pollution
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 18, 1992
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