New York housewares store Fishs Eddy has run afoul of the Port Authority’s apparent rights to the Manhattan skyline, the New York Times reported. On July 24, the popular retail operation received a cease-and-desist letter from the Port authority citing two of their best-selling patterns as “bearing unauthorized reproductions and names of exclusive assets of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.”
Patterns “212 Skyline” and “Bridge and Tunnel,” featured on products that range from dinner plates to tote bags — and even a 212 Everything Bagel Salt Tin — both allegedly bear representations of Port Authority “assets”: the iconic Twin Towers appear in the skyline print and the Holland Tunnel is similarly depicted in “Bridge and Tunnel.” The New York landmarks are visually rendered and named in the prints, both supposed rights violations with which the Port Authority has taken issue.
Fishs Eddy representative Julie Gaines expressed what she believed to be the motivation behind the Port Authority’s targeting of Fishs Eddy: consistency. “We’ve been producing the same pattern[s] for 27 years,” she told Hyperallergic over the phone. Gaines continued to explain that it’s easier for the Port Authority to use the store as an example rather than chasing down every “I Love New York” shopfront that turns over merchandise bearing their assets at a much quicker rate.
According to Gaines, the store’s lawyers have stated that they don’t plan to comply with the order to cease and desist production and sale of the home goods bearing the two patterns in question. Gaines further explained to Hyperallergic that the depictions are artistic renderings that don’t “erode the distinctive significance of the Twin Towers,” adding “it drives me crazy that people are calling it cartoonish, they’re artful silhouettes of the New York skyline.”
Gaines said that Fishs Eddy has received countless emails and phone calls from customers voicing their support for the store: “the support has been overwhelming … I thought, people really love Fishs Eddy, but I think [the reality is] people really hate the Port Authority.”
A representative from the Port Authority declined to comment.
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