David Bowie has taken over a subway station in his adopted home of New York, with images of the rock legend plastered throughout and commemorative fare cards issued in his honour.
Concert photos figure on the walls and his giant black-and-white likeness appears at the track entrance of the Broadway-Lafayette station, a short walk from where the London-born rocker lived his final years.
The installation is sponsored by Spotify and will be in place until May 13 as a tie-in to the exhibition David Bowie Is at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition, which opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, has travelled across a dozen cities with New York scheduled to be its final stop.
Bowie’s death in 2016 from an undisclosed battle with cancer stunned the music world. He lived more than 20 years in New York, which he first visited to seek out his hero Andy Warhol and later to soak up American soul music and star on Broadway.
The subway station put up a guide dubbed “Bowie’s Neighbourhood Map” that shows sites associated with the singer including Washington Square, the park in the heart of bohemian Greenwich Village where he enjoyed strolling.
The map, however, does not mark his Soho apartment which became a hub of mourning after his death and which the rocker bequeathed to his widow, the supermodel Iman.
To mark the occasion, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is selling 250,000 subway cards with the image of the rocker to be sold only at Broadway-Lafayette and the nearby Bleecker Street station.
A line stretched about 30m on Thursday as fans sought to buy the souvenir subway cards from an automatic dispenser.
Susan Bowen bought several of the subway cards for her family. She saw Bowie perform once in nearby New Jersey and said she considered him to be a New Yorker. “It seems to be where he felt at home,” she said.
Bowie, who was already famous when he moved to New York permanently in the 1990s, turned out be a surprisingly frequent commuter on the subway.
The writer William Boyd, writing in The Guardian after Bowie’s death, said that the rocker told him that he would carry a Greek newspaper which he pretended to read when other passengers started to recognise him. – AFP