You can now go back to buying your vintage subway signs at Billy’s Antiques on Houston and Bowery. Billy Leroy, who runs the shop, had been arrested back in March and accused of selling stolen goods after 19 of the signs sitting in front of his store turned out to have been reported missing last year. (Leroy said he’d bought them from a subcontractor hired by the MTA to remove old signs. Meanwhile, it seems it hadn’t occurred to the MTA to sell their old signs themselves; they’d just been throwing them away — or so they thought.)
With no evidence to indicate theft, the charges were dismissed yesterday, per DNA Info. And Billy’s getting his signs back.
Given all the actual crime on subways — and the fact that despite ever-increasing fares the MTA seems happy enough to change signs that might accidentally reflect a not-so-PG meme (FML?) or to fix spelling errors — we say, good for Leroy. Though you may have to get your signs elsewhere in the long run; he says once he sells the returned signs he won’t be getting more, unless the MTA puts him “in charge of their used-sign department.” That’s an idea.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 23, 2010