For the past week, I’ve been scouting dozens of construction sites around Brooklyn and Queens, which means I’ve been running into the same boring green fencing pretty much everywhere (specifically, “hunter green,” as per city requirements).
As I was driving around, I was suddenly reminded of the best construction fencing I think I’ve ever seen in New York. It was a number of years ago, and I even took pictures to run on Scouting NY, but for some odd reason, never got around to it.
This was an art installation by Maya Barkai at 99 Church Street, depicting 99 different walk signs from around the globe.
Seriously, how great is this? There’s something so fascinating about how the piece depicts a common icon shared by cultures worldwide, and at the same time highlights how varied and unique each is:
In particular, I love when additional objects make the sign, such as the horse in London…
…or a bicycle in Salzburg. I also love how she kept the specific overlay pattern and lighting scheme for each:
One recurring thought I had every time I’d walk past the site: can you tell the pace of a city by its walk sign? What would happen if you put them in order on a scale ranging from laid back to frenetic purely by depiction? Would your arrangement match your assessment of the cities?
Another thought: so so many walking men…
…so, so few walking women (there were a couple).
I began to look forward to studying the Walking Men every time I’d pass through lower Manhattan. Sadly, the fence was removed sometime last year, only to be replaced by the same boring, ubiquitous green fence.
I hate to run pictures of something so old, but it suddenly occurred to me that with all the construction going on today, New York is essentially filled with blank canvases. There’s clearly no shortage of artists looking to express their work. Can’t someone get on this to flood the city with more work like Maya’s?
I mean, is POST NO BILLS really the best we can do?
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