Subway Therapy to Be Preserved.

(Reuters/Lucas Jackson).

(Reuters/Lucas Jackson).

Since the election of Donald Trump, the walls of New York City’s 14th Street Union Square subway station have become a release valve for grief-stricken New Yorkers, who, outside of Staten Island, overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton. Created by artist Matthew “Levee” Chavez, “Subway Therapy” invites anyone to write down their fears, hate and hopes on a Post-It note and tack it on the station’s tile walls.

Thousands of Post-Its have formed a thick and colorful wallpaper over the course of six weeks, with many passengers stopping to read notes or take a quick photograph of the growing collage. Chavez estimates about 2,000 new postings are added daily.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to archive a large portion of the collection as a historical record. “Today, we preserve a powerful symbol that shows how New Yorkers of all ages, races and religions came together to say we are one family, one community and we will not be torn apart,” said Cuomo in a press statement Dec. 16. Cuomo himself posted a message of unity for New Yorkers during a Nov. 14 visit, scribbling down a line of poetry from the base of the Statue of Liberty.

The New York Historical Society will work with the NY Metropolitan Transit Authority to gather and preserve the sticky notes as part of its History Responds program. “We are ever-mindful of preserving the memory of today’s events for future generations. Ephemeral items in particular, created with spontaneity and emotion, can become vivid historical documents,” said the society’s president Dr. Louise Mirrer.

Other articles have noted that:

The New-York Historical Society will also let New Yorkers place notes on its glass walls starting Tuesday, Dec. 20 through Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

I think everyplace should have Subway Therapy, whether there’s a subway or not. I could use one here in nDakota, not that I think it would be allowed to stand for 10 seconds.

Via Quartz.


  1. rq says

    This is beautiful and painful at the same time -- and a great way to show people that they are not alone. Maybe no great social event will come of this wall, but people can walk by and read and that feeling of knowing there’s others out there who think like you can be soothing in and of itself. Like a great impersonal support system.
    And yay for archiving some of this.

    (I have a small Subway Therapy kind of thing around the computer screen at work. It’s not just notes about what needs to be expedited or anulled, but scraps of poetry from random online readings, too, or my own.)

  2. says

    I think it is a social event in itself. It certainly speaks to the need people had to reach out even in the shock of the election.

  3. rq says

    Social event was probably wrong terminology, where I meant face-time meetings that seem to have so much stock put into. Like having friends on the internet, tjis intera ctiobn will probably stay on thev subway wall (tenement halls?), but that does not diminish its meaning or significance. It is certainly a social event, as you say. No doubt.

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