3 After Effects of NYC’s Rendezvous with The Subway Therapy Wall

The Subway Therapy Wall inn NYC , Rendezvous En New YorkAfter this last presidential election a year ago, there have been a lot of emotions coming to the surface both positive and negative in this country. This week, in particular, has turned out to be either a great bit of joy or the worst day ever for your team depending on which side of the line you sit. I won’t get into an ethical argument about who I voted for and why I’m not in the mood for a political discussion. It’s tragic that it is seen as just sport because the outcome affects me on so many levels and it’s beyond troubling how eye-opening the last year has been for me as a citizen of this country.

Even though this blog is my creative space and I allowed my opinion; my sole opinion isn’t the focus of this post. This post is about an artist’s reaction to everyone’s collective opinion and sentiment. Which is why I think it turned into a great art think piece. The piece started in the Union Square Subway Station in Manhattan and was titled the Subway Therapy wall. It was all over the news and social media documented the hell out of it, in a positive way. It lasted more than the intended time, which ended up being three months in the subway station that was originally only supposed to last three weeks. Actually, it was amazing that it remained in such pristine condition considering that it was displayed in such a high traffic area.

What was The Subway Therapy Wall About?

The Subway Therapy wall was started by Matthew “Levee” Chavez. Before the Post-it Notes on the walls of the subway station, he would sit at a fold up table with pen and paper and offer a notebook to anonymously write whatever was bothering you. Sometimes people didn’t actually write anything, they would just talk and say that they felt like they just went to therapy after it was over, Levee stated on his website.

And as volatile as the past election season was, the day after he started offering Post-It Notes to travelers in the station to express how they were feeling and a huge collection began to appear on the walls. The first week, the notes were really emotional and the collection kept growing. At this point, people had begun bringing their own Post-its and even coming up with large collages made up of all Post-its. What started on one wall grew to a whole corridor of the train station from floor to ceiling from one entry to the other.The Subway Therapy Wall inn NYC , Rendezvous En New York

What Were The Effects of The Subway Therapy Wall?

It was a catharsis, that happened in a very stressed filled environment. An unseen tension was broken and it had very surprising outcomes.

  1. New York was a powder keg of emotions after that political season, so it helped people, especially young people feel heard. Millennials were already disillusioned with the political process and this election’s results didn’t help. They got to air out their feelings in a communal place and feel validated because they were so many others feeling the same way.
  2. It was a positive outlet and made people see their neighbor’s suffering or perceived suffering as their own. It sparked empathy and discussion about something strangers wouldn’t approach each other to talk about since politics is usually seen as a taboo subject.
  3. For those that were going to give up on the political process and needed encouragement to fight on and stay engaged, they came out the other end energized knowing that being politically active isn’t about one night but continuing to stay plugged in even at the local level.

What Became of The Subway Therapy Wall?

The governor of New York named it a state treasure to be kept in the New York History archives. If that isn’t a testament to the “little people” I don’t know what is. All the notes were carefully cataloged. And the artist, Matthew Chavez has gone on to compile the notes into a coffee table book and is on tour promoting it. Matthew “Levee” Chavez has done similar therapy walls in Charlottesville, Brussels, and Malmo Sweden to help these cities heal after tragedies. Subway Therapy Wall in NYC , Rendezvous En New York

Were you able to see the Subway Therapy wall when it was up? Has a piece of art ever moved you to feel like this? Was there a similar think piece that popped up in your city? Tell me what you thinking in the comments below, I can’t wait to read.Subway Therapy Wall in NYC Rendezvous En NewYork

Until our next rendezvous…




  36 comments for “3 After Effects of NYC’s Rendezvous with The Subway Therapy Wall

  1. December 2, 2017 at 6:13 AM

    I think it says a lot about the upheaval the current government has caused and the desperate need to be heard by young people. I think it’s a great outlet but the best outlet will be at the voting booth in 2018 when hopefully we will drain the swamp.

    • December 2, 2017 at 8:47 AM

      Agreed, especially with the news this week.

      • December 2, 2017 at 9:22 AM

        Definitely. Actually I am enjoying watching “lock her up” Flynn staring at jail time.

  2. December 2, 2017 at 8:25 AM

    Wow, I had no idea it continued beyond the election. Love the emotion, catharsis, and color busting out of this project!

    • December 2, 2017 at 8:49 AM

      Walking through the station hallway was like visiting church. It would get very peaceful and slow passing the display. I loved it.

  3. December 2, 2017 at 8:34 AM

    I hadn’t heard of this–I must be living under a rock out here in Minnesota–but I love it. I agree with your conclusion, this is a testament to the “little” people. And it makes me proud that a governor saw it as more than a nuisance, but as an authentic expression of art manifesting reality. Thank you for sharing this!

    • December 2, 2017 at 8:51 AM

      It’s ok. Not everything New York does makes the national news. Lol. But do check out the website, it’s really interesting. Thank you visiting me, and come back again.

  4. December 2, 2017 at 9:47 AM

    Wow I was tearing up just reading about it before you had to even explain why it was so effective. <3 What a beautiful unifying thing, all the voices from all the perspectives crying out together in one corridor. Beautiful.

    • December 2, 2017 at 12:18 PM

      Thank you! I actually tried writing this a year ago right after the election but could not find the words to finish the post. I’m glad that you enjoyed it.

      • December 2, 2017 at 12:50 PM

        My best posts come after sitting a year in my drafts for reflection.

        • December 2, 2017 at 12:56 PM

          Really?! I thought that I was just bad at this. Lol.

  5. December 2, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    My head must have been in a bucket. How did I miss this phenomenal wall?
    I’m noticing a lot more non-fiction books being sold at the local book store and wonder if they are outselling fiction. People have never been more stressed out!!!

    • December 2, 2017 at 12:20 PM

      We are that, stressed AF! Maybe that’s why they felt like they had a session of therapy?

  6. December 2, 2017 at 10:19 AM

    I saw the wall! It gave me solace during a difficult time post election and solidarity with our amazing city! Gotta love NYC.

  7. josypheen
    December 2, 2017 at 11:25 PM

    It looks so colourful and bright. Even though the words are full of angst it is quite a pretty looking therapy wall.

    It is sad that there are so many people that don’t fee like their voices are being heard in politics. 🙁

    • December 2, 2017 at 11:27 PM

      If you check out the website you can some of the more artistic ones. Some people were really creative. Maybe this will make some people go into government at the local level.

  8. December 3, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    Thank you for sharing, Trudy! I hadn’t heard about this and LOVE it. What a positive way to deal with all the emotions happening at the time.

    • December 3, 2017 at 11:48 AM

      You’re welcome. It was a special place to be. Hopefully there won’t be a reason for the next election but it was comforting to know that there was a positive outlet there.

      • December 3, 2017 at 11:49 AM

        We can use all the positive outlets we can find! 🙂

        • December 3, 2017 at 12:15 PM

          True enough!

  9. December 3, 2017 at 12:04 PM

    This is amazing. I love art like this. I am so, so happy to learn that each post-it was catalogued afterwards ??

    • December 3, 2017 at 12:23 PM

      It is amazing. I haven’t checked if he has returned to the station for a new round of therapy. Last time I looked he was still traveling to promote his book. He’s big time now! ?

  10. December 31, 2017 at 2:35 AM

    I love this! I love the outpouring and I love how New Yorkers let all their frustrations out on post it notes.

    • December 31, 2017 at 8:31 PM

      It was amazing, I hope that people remember this feeling when it’s time to vote again.

  11. December 31, 2017 at 3:52 AM

    It proves that writing is good for us 🙂 Sad that so many Americas did not vote. Same in NZ, the apathy towards voting. I suppose the world has to make good of a bad situation. Let’s hope 2018 is less painful for those having to deal with conflict on a daily basis.

    • December 31, 2017 at 8:30 PM

      Maybe the discontent will energize people into being politically active again?

  12. January 9, 2018 at 6:23 AM

    This is so good to know about! I had no idea but I think it’s brilliant. Thanks for sharing the wall and the outcome, I can imagine the feeling of being heard and getting your thoughts out. Just one little question- how did the post it notes stay sticky for that long?

    • January 9, 2018 at 8:38 AM

      Haha, they have the extra strength post it’s and no one bothered them until the wall was cleaned off.

  13. January 9, 2018 at 9:25 AM

    Such a fantastic idea. The creativity people have within them, even when they’re depressed, is absolutely amazing.

    • January 9, 2018 at 9:30 AM

      I wished that I had captured some of the more creative walls before they were taken down. But I’m sure that they are in the book.

  14. January 9, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    I love this idea. I could get lost in reading all of the posts.

    • January 9, 2018 at 12:13 PM

      You weren’t alone people who weren’t in a rush stayed for long periods of time reading all the notes.

  15. January 9, 2018 at 4:36 PM

    It’s a really great idea worth spreading and I hope it continues to spread. In a way, it’s similar to the “Before I die I want to…” walls.

  16. January 31, 2018 at 3:46 PM

    Wow. Thanks for sharing this. I wasn’t aware of the wall, but love that it was there to support people when they truly needed it.

What do you think? I would like to know.

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