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New York City Streets Mourn The Queen

September 14, 2022
The royal cypher of Queen Elizabeth II

The royal cypher of Queen Elizabeth II

Until last week, most of us had not known a world without Queen Elizabeth II. Across the globe, people paid tribute to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch in all sorts of ways: flags throughout the world were lowered to half-mast, world leaders issued statements of condolence, the Queen’s face was projected on the side of the Sydney Opera House, and the Empire State Building was lit up in purple and silver. But others have paid their respects in other, smaller ways. This includes the British-born New York street artist Adrian Wilson, also known as Plannedalism.

Wilson has become known on social media mainly for his alterations of public signs in New York City, both on the street and in the subway. He gained widespread recognition following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by altering the tiled, mosaic subway sign at the 50th Street station to read “Ruth St.” He’s not posted anything to his Instagram since December of last year. Still, he decided to break his silence streak by collaborating with graphic artist Matt Duncan to create a tribute to the late queen. Sticking with subway signs, they posted photographs of the subway entrance at Queens Plaza in Long Island City. Normally, the sign above the stairs reads Queens Plaza Station and indicates that it services the E, M, and R lines. Wilson covered and altered the sign so it reads “Queens Passed”. Furthermore, he created an emblem of a black crown against an orange background, the same color orange as the emblem for the M train. Placing it over the M train symbol, he’s created a sort of subway version of the Queen’s royal cypher.

It’s not overly celebratory or reverential, but rather simple and commemorative, as well as fitting within Wilson’s style. ​​When asked about his tribute, Wilson said, “The world improved from the Queen being in it. It’s as simple as that.”