Stephen Powers, a Brooklyn-based artist who in a former life went by ESPO, famous for painting that moniker in giant letters on riot gates, has now designed street signs of his own, 30 to be exact, with the blessing of the city’s Department of Transportation. It’s a far cry from being booked by police for graffiti-writing, something he may or may not have encountered as a youth in Philadelphia and, later, New York.
Instead of cautioning people to stop or merge, these signs are “an emotional wayfinding system used to complement the traditional directional signs that guide and caution us at every turn,” says the communications department for the D.O.T., which paid Powers for the signs. (We’ve got a call in to find out how much, and we’ll update this story when the D.O.T. gets back.)
It’s all part of Summer Streets, a city program that shuts down seven miles of Lafayette Street into Park Avenue from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays: August 1, 8, and 15. On those days, the streets fill with all sorts of amusements: a water slide, a zip line, a “soccer zone,” and lots and lots of Vita Coco coconut water.