Following Aretha Franklin’s passing in mid August, a plethora of DIY tributes appeared in the two New York City subway stations that bear her name. To the chagrin of many New Yorkers and fans, most were swiftly removed by the MTA within a day. But timed with Franklin’s funeral in Detroit on Friday, the MTA installed black signs with the word “Respect” above every FRANKLIN AVE. tiling on both platforms in the subway station on Fulton Street along the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Crown Heights border in Brooklyn. This means there are about twelve of the tributes total.
The MTA, via a spokesperson, said in a statement that “We wanted to memorialize the outpouring of love from the community for Aretha Franklin and in consultation with local leaders, we agreed that ‘respect’ was a beautiful tribute and worthy message.” The signs were designed as a partnership between MTA Arts & Design and LeRoy McCarthy of Heterodoxx INC, who was responsible for the first spray painted tributes at this same station on the Franklin’s death was announced. He tells the website Patch, “It is great to honor Queen Aretha Franklin, and at the same time advance the significance of RESPECT. The impact of Aretha Franklin’s voice and legacy can continue to make a difference in society.”
For subway nerds, the particular colored tiling at this station is specific to the IND line and part of a color-coded system devised by chief architect of the New York City subway system, Squire J. Vickers.
The MTA has also installed large “Respect” signs inside the Franklin Street Station in Manhattan.
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