Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New-York Historical Society will partner with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to preserve the spontaneous "Subway Therapy" installations located in subway stations throughout New York City where thousands of New Yorkers have expressed their thoughts and feelings about the future of the nation on sticky notes.
Last month, Governor Cuomo joined thousands of other New Yorkers in placing a sticky note on the 14th Street-Union Square subway station. The note read, "New York State holds the torch high! … 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free … I lift my lamp beside the golden door' Emma Lazarus …STATUE OF LIBERTY"– Andrew C." Click here for photos.
"Over the last six weeks, New Yorkers have proved that we will not let fear and division define us. 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 Governor Cuomo. "New York will always hold the torch high and our partnership with the Historical Society ensures that generations to come will see the moment when New Yorkers united in such a moving way."
The project was created by the artist Matthew Levee Chavez when he brought sticky notes and pens to subway stations in the days following the Presidential election and encouraged New Yorkers to share their feelings. People around the world have since contributed. Working with Chavez, the New-York Historical Society will archive the sticky notes – an emblem of emotion and humanity in the month following the election – so they can be carefully preserved as their removal begins this morning.
The New-York Historical Society will preserve a large selection of notes as part of its History Responds Program. Beginning Tuesday through Inauguration Day on January 20, 2017, members of the public can continue to participate in the project by placing sticky notes on the glass wall inside New-York Historical's front entrance on Central Park West at 77th Street.
Matthew Levee Chavez said, "I started the project so people could have a channel to express their thoughts, feel less alone, and also become exposed to opinions different than their own. ‘Subway Therapy’ is about inclusion, stress relief and peaceful expression. I’m thrilled that we have found a way to work together to move the project and preserve it for others to experience in the future."
New-York Historical Society President and CEO Dr. Louise Mirrer said, "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. ‘Subway Therapy’ perfectly evokes this historic moment. We are thrilled to collaborate with Mr. Chavez and the MTA to ensure future generations can understand the historical impact of present events."
MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, "We thank the New-York Historical Society for helping to find a way to preserve this spontaneous movement to allow others outside the subway to experience it."
Through its History Responds program, the New-York Historical Society remains on the forefront of contemporary culture. Its curatorial team mobilizes to preserve objects from spontaneous moments of crisis or exhilaration, such as artifacts related to 9/11, marriage equality celebrations, and the Stonewall Inn vigil for Orlando nightclub shooting victims. New-York Historical acquires and preserves significant items of American cultural history to hold in trust for New Yorkers, such as the Picasso curtain from the recently-closed Four Seasons Restaurant.
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