An unusual trend in recent years has seen New York City’s subway stations transformed into memorials for late, great musicians, both officially and unofficially. In the former category, Spotify transformed the Union Square and Broadway-Lafayette stations into elaborate memorials for Prince and David Bowie, respectively; unofficially, the Franklin Avenue station in Brooklyn was briefly turned into “Aretha Franklin Avenue.”
This time, New York street artist Adrian Wilson has transformed Brooklyn’s Van Siclen Avenue on the A/C line into “Van Halen Avenue.” (The news was first reported by Metal Sucks and Brooklyn Vegan.) In an Instagram post, Wilson, who paid similar tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month (cleverly changing 50 th Street into “RUth Street”), wrote, “Come on people! I even explained on TV how this works and how easy it is. A famous person dies, look up the name of a subway stop and put a sticker over it to memorialize the person. It’s that easy! I left it 4 days for someone else to head to Brooklyn and take the credit but nobody stepped up, so ok, I guess I’ve got to do it myself… you’re welcome.”
Spotify’s Bowie tribute, staged in April and May of 2018, was by far the most elaborate of the tributes. Sprawling across the walls and even the ceiling girders of the city’s interconnected Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street stations, it not only promoted the “David Bowie Is” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum at the time (of which Spotify was a sponsor) but was a deeply researched museum piece in itself, celebrating the artist’s relationship with New York throughout his career, in the SoHo neighborhood that he called home for the last two decades of his life.
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