Between December and January, five banners demonizing Mayor Bill de Blasio flew through New York City’s skies while cops were turning their backs to him during the Eric Garner protests. On January 16, three days after the fifth and craziest banner flew (“DE BLASIO GET OFF THE POT. RESIGN. WE ❤ NYPD“), ANIMAL decided it was time to strike back with a nonsensical message of our own and hopefully put an end to this silly spate of sky-high marketing. After all, everyone from Carl Sagan to President Obama to former Mayor Bloomberg has smoked pot. It’s safer than alcohol and is slowly being legalized across the country. It’s time for New York to have a grown up discussion about weed.
But Brooklyn-based game designer Josh Simenhoff beat us to it, launching a Kickstarter to mock the NYPD and to get de Blasio — a former toker himself — back “on the pot and on the right the track!” It read: “DE BLASIO GET ON THE POT WE [cannabis leaf] NYPD.” We offered to fund Simenhoff’s banner. He closed the Kickstarter and we took over from there, enlisting an aerial company to advertise the noble message. A week later, we were set. But by then, the wintry weather wouldn’t quit, dumping mounds of snow over Manhattan week after dreary week. We postponed the banner until national stoner holiday 4/20, only to find that yet again, the weather would be awful.
And so on April 21, three months after we intended it to, our tongue-in-cheek, pro-cannabis banner finally hit the Manhattan skyline. After all of the back-and-forth, it was still worth it. “I did this in the pursuit of happiness and I’m proud to be an American,” said Simenhoff. Ditto for us. Also, legalize weed.
(Top Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork, Bottom Photo: Bucky Turco/ANIMALNewYork)