Border Control – our first Therapy Wall

Automated Passport Control MachinesWhen we arrived in New York on the day of the election results, we got diverted to the slow stream immigration line with a big X on our automated passport control entry visa. (We’re assuming it’s because we were coming from Turkey.)

We were tired and miserable, not just from the long flight, but the confirmation that Trump had won is battle for the White House. Despite our dark moods, we were able to muster a gallows-laugh at the TV screen where a loop video of Obama welcomed us as visitors to the United States.

I wonder what the new Trump video will say? Me thinks it won’t be quite as welcoming.

The hispanic immigration officer wasn’t too friendly with us to begin with, “How long are you staying?”

“Not long, based on the election result” we responded.

His austere demeanour crumbled and for a few minutes we were joined by a common thread of disappointment over the election result before being processed through JFK passport control without a hitch.

Therapy Wall of Post-its

This coming together with a common activity across the city, and in a grieving process shared by thousands of New Yorkers, they empathised by sticking post-it notes to the confession wall at the 14th Street and 6th Avenue Tunnel. This activity spawned a couple of copy cat locations, and we encountered the wall at Union Square where more subway travellers expressed their post-election grief, hope and thoughts.

The messages ranged from anger of Donald Trump’s win to inspirational hopes about the future of not just the city, but the country as a whole. With all the talk about Trump building a wall, this definitely wasn’t the type he was referring too.

Union Square Post It Wall

Union Square Therapy Wall

Therapy Wall Union Square 3

Union Square Therapy Wall

Therapy Wall Union Square 1

Union Square Therapy Wall

Although most of the messages were text, there was a group of images that caught my eye. Therapy Wall Union Square 2

These were multi-racial portraits with simple messages about what each person was fighting for.

Therapy Wall Union Square 1

Therapy Wall Creator

The Union Square wall was created by Matthew “Levee” Chavez.

“Subway Therapy is about making people smile, laugh, and feel less stress,” he writes. “If someone wants to get something off their chest or has a burning question, I’m happy to be there for them. I believe that people grow and learn through dynamic conversation.”

You can Follow Levee on Facebook and Instagram @subwaytherapy

Levee at his Subway Therapy Table

America is truly the land of opportunity for Levee … he’s created a website site called Subway Therapy to support his immersive project, and he recently announced “they’ll be a book”.

[bctt tweet=”What would your #TherapyWall post it note say?” username=”rovingjay”]

Therapy Wall Update – Added December 26th

The message on this wall aren’t just a whimsical act of defiance of camaraderie, they’re going to be part of this city’s social history.

Governer Cuomo Partnership


The New-York Historical Society will preserve a portion of the sticky notes as part of its “History Responds” program. Beginning Tuesday, December 20, 2016 through Inauguration Day on January 20, 2017, members of the public can continue to participate by placing sticky notes on the glass wall at the New-York Historical Society’s front entrance on Central Park West at 77th Street.