After back-and-forth between the city of University Park and New York Sub owner Andrew Kelley on the issue, the cartoon bear mural known as the Asbury Bear mural is no more.
Kelley shared a video on social media of the process of painting over the mural, a bear with a green body and red collar in mid-walk or dance carrying a snow cone adorning the west-facing wall of the 7-Eleven on Hillcrest with an arrow above him pointing the way to New York Sub’s carry-out window. A change.org petition he’d created to ‘save the Asbury Bear!’ got 1,346 signatures.
“We believe that this bear bring smiles to those who pass by, and should be considered public art,” the petition reads.
University Park Director of Marketing and Communications Steve Mace said the Asbury Bear mural ran afoul of the prohibition on ‘off-premises’ signs that advertise or direct people to a “business, merchandise, service, institution, residential area, entertainment or commercial activity which is located, sold, rented, based, produced, manufactured, furnished or taking place at a location other than on the property or site where the sign is located,” and the owner could have faced a fine if it wasn’t painted over.
“It’s kind of a bummer,” Kelley added. “Kids like coming up here and sitting on the patio and it’s a family-friendly deal, so I just don’t get it.”
He said the mural came about last year amid the pandemic when customers weren’t allowed to dine in restaurants and he’d opened a take-out window in hopes of driving business.
Kelley took over ownership of New York Sub at 3411 Asbury Street in 2016 and opened Peggy Sue’s Market within the shop in December.