As the news of Prince’s death spread on Thursday, April 21st, tributes both impromptu and official came in many forms. Like the many influential artists we have lost too soon (David Bowie, only too recently), Prince and his music have defined people’s lives across generations. It is not surprising that people have taken their grief to the streets and to sound stages.
On Saturday, even a subway panhandler had something to say in our car: “Prince was my father!” he proclaimed, followed by a string of expletives we cannot type out here. But the tributes to Prince in New York City that we list here range from guerrilla statements to formal tributes, with a social media hoax in between.
1. Prince Street Subway Pastings
This photo, shared by Signe Pierce on Twitter shows the Prince Street subway station in Soho with a few new “subway lines,” in purple of course in honor of Prince. One pasting shows a “P line” and one has Prince’s symbol, which he used solely as his name from June 7, 1993 to May 13, 2000. The symbol, officially copyrighted as “Love Symbol #2” was released in conjunction with the prolific artist’s 14th album – titled as the symbol itself, but known as the Love Symbol Album or the Love Album. With the release of the album, Prince also became known as the “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”
Read about the history of Prince Street and other royal street names in Manhattan here.
2. Prince RIP in Prince Street Subway Station
Meanwhile, inside the Prince Street subway station someone updated the iconic mosaic tiles of the former BMT subway line with RIP over the words ST. We particularly appreciate the effort to mimic the mosaic tiles here. Art wise, besides the tablet mosaic and initial P in the station, there’s the Arts for Transit work “Carrying On” by Janet Zweig, a title appropriate in the context of Prince as well. On both the uptown and downtown platforms, the work stretches the entire length and shows New Yorkers carrying objects.