Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Walking Men

When traveling to different cities around the world, have you ever stopped to look at the traffic icons for "stop" and "walk"? Have you ever noticed how different each country's icons are and wondered what they would look like lined up next to each other so you can see how different they really are?

Well, now you can see 99 of them 'walking' the streets of Tribeca. Sick of all the construction sites and boring worksite facades in lower Manhattan, the Downtown Alliance, a non profit group, is commissioning art to visually refresh the current urban landscape. They have produced a public art program called Re:Construction. The aim is to turn construction sites into canvasses for "innovative public art and architecture".  One of the first pieces of art is Israeli-born photographer Maya Barkai's "Walking Men 99". This 500 foot long work covers the fence of 99 Church St, where the city's tallest residential tower and hotel is being developed. 

Barkai has always been fascinated by the global walk icons, so has constructed here 99 of them marching side by side along the plywood wall. To collect them all, Barkai set up a website where she asked travelers to post photos of the walking men from around the world. She then put them together by city. They include a soldier from Fredericia, Denmark, a man in a hat from East Berlin, and a token pony-tailed girl from Utrecht, Netherlands! I must go down and find our aussie walking man. 

IMAGES: Carol Vogel for New York Times, downtownny, walkingmen99

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