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National Debt Clock Torn Down

April 13, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) _ The national debt clock, a billboard-size sign that reminded Manhattan passers-by of how much the government is borrowing _ in trillions of dollars _ has been taken down.

A new clock will be erected a block north, the sign’s owner said Tuesday.

The old digital clock is being stored in a warehouse because the building where it sat, at Sixth Avenue and 43rd Street, is being demolished, said Mortimer Matz, a spokesman for the Durst Organization, which owns the sign.

A new high-tech digital clock will be placed next month on the side of a building at Sixth Avenue and 44th Street, just east of Times Square.

The last time the clock went dark was in September 2000, when developer Douglas Durst pulled the plug after government debt levels started to fall because of budget surpluses. It was restarted two years later, when government deficits began to rise again.

The clock initially was put up in 1989 by Durst’s late father, Seymour Durst, to bring attention to what he felt was a dangerous increase in government borrowing.

When the debt clock first was turned on, the deficit was a little less than $3 trillion. Durst’s family pulled the plug in 2000 when falling deficits hit $5.5 trillion.

The clock read more than $7 trillion when it was taken down last month.

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