It’s a small art installation that pays big tribute to the thousands of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
New York City’s subway-based Banksy-esque provocateur — a previously anonymous artist who has long mounted quirky underground memorials for celebrities such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — has unveiled his newest work: a sticker installation on an above-ground subway sign that spells out “9/11.”
“Basically I’m known for when people pass to do a tribute on the subway,” said Adrian Wilson, the 57-year-old British-born artist and photographer who conceived the idea for this new display. “If you’re going to do a tribute to anyone, it’s all those people who tragically died,” he added, speaking of the 2,977 killed in the terror attacks that day.
Of that total, World Trade Center deaths alone reached nearly 2,800 — and that’s why Wilson chose to have this small memorial stand in the shadows of the World Trade Center site.
Located on a sleepy Greenwich Street block, the stickers grace the sign that wraps the stairway leading to the downtown track of the Rector Street 1 station. It’s on the west side of the street, and — while looking at it — visitors also see the 9/11 Tribute Museum at the end of the block, as well as the World Trade Center site just three blocks further north.
Wilson posted images of the work to his @plannedalism Instagram account, which earned some 300 likes.
The immediate area surrounding the subway stop — just one stop south of the World Trade Center 1 station — saw its own rubble-filled damage from the towers collapsing that day, including windows blown out of apartment buildings and a foundation crack below a nearby diner. But Wilson chose this specific location for another reason. The World Trade Center station, which reopened in 2018 just three days before the 17th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, doesn’t have the typical green-painted stairway entrance leading below. Also, he said, “It’s completely swarming with cops.”
(The subway sign work is all technically vandalism and illegal, but Wilson has said he’s never been punished for the displays.)
Although Wilson developed the design and chose the location, he’s actually in Mexico this week. He tapped a friend, 34-year-old Samantha Rose Santos from Brooklyn — who went along with a friend early Friday morning — to mount it.
“I thought this piece should bring a smile to faces this weekend,” she told The Post, adding that her mother lost a good friend, Peggy Alario, in the attacks. “Such a heavy year.”
And though the identities of its makers are known, onlookers won’t see their names signed next to the work.
“It’s not about me,” said Wilson. “Nobody should be signing their name on a memorial. It’s about the people who have passed.”