New York City's Struggle to Take Down Illegal Billboards

City government and citizen vigilantes wage a losing battle against Clear Channel and illegal ads

Seiler, the anti-advertising artist, has joined a group of activists who have been reporting suspicious ads to the city. "I don't have issues with advertising, but with your ability to turn it off," says the 28-year-old, whose day job is a freelance photographer for fashion magazines. Making his way back to his Chelsea studio after prowling for illegal ads, Seiler used his Verizon Key—a special key that the company makes to prevent vandalism, which he'd bought from a Verizon worker on the street a few years ago—to remove a movie poster from one of the company's phone kiosks.

"I have no remorse," Seiler says cheerily. "I think we can all agree that public advertising is a manipulative, powerful medium that isn't in the best interest of the general public. It takes up my mental space, and it's assaulting."

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