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admin 31.08.2013

A tilde added to the sign for the N subway line in Sunset Park, a heavily Hispanic neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.
New York City’s subway lines sometimes take on cultural meaning, maybe even pop­-cultural meaning. The N line begins — or ends, depending on your perspective — by the water at Coney Island, way south in Brooklyn. The enye fairies, who sprinkled tildes on the yellow-and-black N-line signs at various stops, apparently didn’t make it out this far. The enyes are the work of Z Street Art, a project that’s throwing up new pieces of art in public places each day for six months. A multicultural advertising agency called Globalworks launched a similar effort last year, urging New York City’s MTA to change the N line to the Enye line annually during Hispanic Heritage Month. Down at the N stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that’s nearly half Hispanic, some commuters were intrigued.
I told him the rationale for the tilde — how it was a recognition of the city’s Spanish speakers.


A few Spanish-speaking school kids who walked by said they thought it was cool that their language was getting some recognition. Claudia Lechuga (“‘Lechuga,’ which actually means ‘lettuce’ in Spanish,” she explained) lives right by the Sunset Park N stop, and she’s into the enye. John Lee works around the corner in this neighborhood, which is also home to a big Asian community.
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A few days ago, a number of its signs sprouted tildes — the curving accent mark that turns the N into the Spanish letter “Enye”.
The amended signs are concentrated toward the middle of the line, as it runs through midtown and downtown Manhattan and central Brooklyn.
One guy suggested the L line could be re-spelled “El” to make the Spanish article “the.” Another worried about the possible confusion of a rolled R in the R Line.


She’s originally from Mexico, and runs an employment agency nearby, where the clientele is largely Hispanic.
Rap icon Jay-Z’s name gives the parallel J and Z lines more cred (although his moniker is probably not a reference to them). These are busy stops, though, and not many people there seemed to have time to take notice.
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