Queens Man Launches One Man Public Furniture Campaign
If you've noticed some extra seating on subway platforms lately, it might not be the MTA's doing. A Queens man has launched a one-man campaign to help people take a load off their feet while they wait for the train. NY1 Transit reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
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It's not that unusual to find Jason Eppink in the subways carrying a chair. The Queens artist has made a habit of picking them up off the street, bringing them underground, then setting them up on subway platforms.
"One day I passed three chairs in the trash in one block, and I thought, 'what a waste, those are like perfectly good chairs,'" recalled Eppink. "But I didn't need more chairs. And I thought, where have I been that needs more chairs? And I thought of all the times that I've been standing late on subway platforms."
Thus was born the Take A Seat project, a series of what Eppink calls public furniture installations. He photographs each chair, and posts the pictures on his website. There are wooden chairs, metal chairs, plastic chairs, and even rolling chairs. He tests them out, too.
"I'm really interested in like the economics of it. This chair was a liability in the trash. Someone was actually paying to have it moved away from them," he said. "And then, just by moving it a few blocks, suddenly it's valuable. It's an asset."
Eppink has been at this for over a year now, and is up to his 28th installation.
And while the project has some fans, it's also gotten some criticism from those who say the chairs could easily wind up on the tracks – holding up trains and possibly even sparking a fire. That concern was echoed by a transit spokesman, who says the practice is discouraged.
Eppink admits the chairs usually disappear within 24 hours, but he thinks they are probably removed by people who find another use for them. And that's just fine by him.
"Hopefully it inspires more people to look at the trash as they're passing and think about, 'oh that's actually really cool. I could use that,'" he said. "And create maybe a new economy of objects that are still useful before they go to the landfill and take up more space there."
If, in the meantime, the chairs can give more people a little rest while waiting for the train, he says it's all the better.