Hats Off to the NYC Subway

Those of us who use the Fifth Avenue/Broadway subway station have seen a collection of mosaic hats of all sizes and descriptions on the tiled walls. Those of us in the know, know that these were designed by one-time ManHATtan designer (presently in Brooklyn) Keith Godard. Although English born, he is an expert regarding New York architecture and lore about who in the literary, arts, culture and architectural circles—like carnival tycoon P.T. Barnum, newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, actor John Barrymore, journalist/scientist Marie Curie, writer O. Henry—lived or worked from the 1880s to 1920s around Madison Square Park. Writers, painters and more attended Madison Square Garden, watched the emerging Flat Iron Building and were caught in the 23rd Street and Broadway crosswinds.

 

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The chapeau of these greats and near-greats forms the core of his hat installation, with each person identified and the hat positioned on the wall according to his or her relative height. A tour de force, it was recently discovered by The New York Daily News, so it is as good a time as any to remind one and all that it makes waiting for the train a bit more palatable.

 

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Photos courtesy Keith Godard

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