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Messages of hope and gratitude to cover Times Square billboards

PSA by Maira Kalman. Photo by Ian Douglas

BY GRANT LANCASTER

On Friday morning, nearly 1,800 digital billboards across the city, including iconic locations like Times Square and the Lincoln Tunnel, will share messages of hope, pride, social distancing and gratitude to essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These digital public service announcements will display messages such as ‘New York Loves You,’ ‘Only Our Hearts Go Out,’ and ‘Hopefully No One Will See This Poster’ on massive digital screens donated to the organization.

The intention is to thank essential workers like medical personnel who still have to travel in the city, as well as uplifting the community through messages of hope and solidarity that will be shared on social media or seen by New Yorkers out on short essential outings.

One of the ways it will do this is by making iconic New York spaces like Times Square look less abandoned and more like a reflection of New Yorkers’ combined response to the hardships of the pandemic.

“As it has so often in the past during moments of crisis or celebration, Times Square will channel the spirit of the city to the country and to the world,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance.

The campaign is a collaboration between the Poster House museum and the Times Square Arts public art organization, with graphic and contemporary artists from Print Magazine and For Freedoms contributing designs.

There is no set end date for the project, and the organizers will continue to look for more artists to contribute to the digital PSA project, hoping to double the number of artists and designers participating.

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