This little detail (heh, heh) caught my eye in a Globe story about how the city of Boston might give the green light to more neon signs in the Theater District:
"It would liven things up," said Josiah A. Spaulding Jr., president of the Citi Performing Arts Center, which controls the Wang and Shubert theaters. "It would cost less money [than changing the marquee]. You'd be able to do more messaging, you'd be able to promote more shows at the same time, and you'd liven up the Theater District." He said it costs the Shubert several hundred dollars to change the marquee because the work requires a truck, a city permit, and a police detail.
I knew that Massachusetts was the only state that required businesses and utility companies to hire police details when they tore up a sidewalk or street, but I hadn't realized that theaters were under the same obligation when they changed their signs. If changing letters on a marquee is dangerous enough to require a police presence, perhaps the police unions will support more computerized signs in the interest of public safety. (The requirement for police details could remain in place, of course, in case the signs temporarily blind passing motorists or something.) No matter; the phrase "Times Square" will be enough to mobilize neighborhood groups against the new signs.