The New York Moon

Image by Diana Kolsky


There are 61 billionaires in New York State, according to Forbes’ annual list of the richest of the rich. There is no doubt that these men (60 men, 1 woman) give away massive fortunes to charity and the arts, but they should be more daring.

They should pool together a full billion dollars by each paying $16,393,442.60. This money should be used to buy up all the advertising in the subways and stations for one year. Then, a committee should be formed to figure out what to do with all this space.

Some trains might be left perfectly empty of advertising just to let the contrast with everyday life in the city sink in. One station in Queens might allow Swoon and other so-called street artists curate. Another might choose to paint a blue waterline where the floods from melted icecaps might reach.

Instead of reading a single poem (each in the current “Poetry in Motion” program must be no longer than 12 lines, with each line being no longer than 10 words, according to the MTA), you could paste up the third act of “Julius Caesar” or a short story by John O’Hara or 12 poems by Sarojini Naidu. These are just the more conventional ideas.

It would be a year to ride the subways. The effects of this philanthropy would be far and wide. Tourists would seek out the city and visit neighborhoods they have never been — lured by the prospect of a particular “exhibition” in the subway tunnel or train. People would be, perhaps, less inclined to ride other types of transportation, which would reduce congestion and exhausts. The impact of being among edifying, interesting, and different material every day for those 20-60 minutes each way to work and then back home could be wider than we even imagine.

For sure, we would have to sacrifice advertisements for bunion surgery, English lessons, and travel to tropical islands for a whole year, but probably we’d survive.


A New York Moon “Blueprint” is essentially an idea encapsulated in a short amount of words or imagery. It is something that could occur to as you ride the subway or right before you fall asleep. The Moon is interested in publishing re-imaginings of the city or world, and proposals that are as much thought experiments as possible creations. For example, if you think the intersection outside your house could be designed better or at least in a way more accomodating to human interaction, draw it and submit it, or photoshop it. On another plane, if you, in a fit of Fourierism, have a novel idea about to organize your building's daily routine so as to inspire creativity and love, we are all ears and eyes. It is best, perhaps, to read a few blueprints to get a better understanding of how they work.

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