What are some atypical symbols of New York?
April 4, 2007 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone think of any cool, though perhaps unusual images or symbols that represent New York?

I've been thinking about getting a tattoo for years, and a while ago I decided on the old New York City subway token for the design. I'm still a fan of the token, but I'm curious to see if anyone has any better ideas. Essentially what I'm looking for is something that represents New York in some unusual way (no Statue of Liberty drawings or sports teams or anything like that). Any thoughts?
posted by Cochise to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Two rats in a circle, each consuming the other's tail.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:46 AM on April 4, 2007 [4 favorites]

Sewer cover?
posted by backupjesus at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2007

A rat on the tracks. They may have driven them off the street, but there are still plenty left in the stations, no matter how many "warning: rat poison" signs you see.

I like the token, but what about the color-coded signs for the Manhattan lines (or whatever part of the city you live in)? Those are pretty cool. A silhouette of the island with a green square for the Park would be neat too.

I am also partial to the library's lions.
posted by luriete at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2007

Something incorporating the checkered design from yellow cabs?
posted by thewittyname at 10:51 AM on April 4, 2007

How about the New Yorker logo dude with the monocle and crazy clothes?
posted by infinitewindow at 10:56 AM on April 4, 2007

One of those Greek deli coffee cups? It's hard to think of something that hasn't been pre-emptively cliched. The Subway-line letters / numbers are really cool but lately have been all over all kinds of merchandise.
posted by grobstein at 10:56 AM on April 4, 2007

A World's Fair logo?
posted by smackfu at 11:07 AM on April 4, 2007

Bonus points for getting the sewer cover tattooed on your ass.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2007


infinitewindow - his name is Eustace Tilley.
posted by djb at 11:15 AM on April 4, 2007

I'd say the graphic and type design of the signage of the NYC subway system.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:43 AM on April 4, 2007

maybe one of the station identifying mosaics from your favorite subway station?
posted by missed at 11:47 AM on April 4, 2007

The building fire escapes from the Village (I'm thinking of the post from a couple of weeks ago)?
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 11:50 AM on April 4, 2007

I like the rats consuming each others tails. It makes me giggle. I was going to say the old 2nd Avenue Deli logo, but that's a little corporate and (at least for the time being) they're not open at the moment.
posted by indiebass at 11:52 AM on April 4, 2007

The little brass statues in the 14th st and 8th av station or many of the other subway artworks.
posted by mkb at 12:18 PM on April 4, 2007

I dare you to get a tattoo of the Naked Cowboy!
posted by lia at 12:40 PM on April 4, 2007

I've always thought a band (say around the calf for example) of the city skyline would make an interesting tattoo.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:02 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

A manhole design covering your entire back would badass.
A MetroCard? The NYC logo the Knicks wear on their shorts? Little LED stick figure from the walk/don't walk signs? A taxi meter? The Intrepid? Staten Island Ferry? The entire MTA map on the front of your torso with bus info too.
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 1:18 PM on April 4, 2007

Rudy Guiliani in drag.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:41 PM on April 4, 2007

Wormy apple a la this?
posted by The Bellman at 1:47 PM on April 4, 2007

Gray's Papaya Hot Dog. or CBGB's.
posted by Davidissimo at 3:11 PM on April 4, 2007

Perhaps a bit too political (and I can't find a link to the exact image I'm thinking of), but I think the Village Voice had an Amadou Diallo cover with I <3 NY riddled with 41 bulletholes, 19 of which outlined the heart. When I was living in NY, that kind of summed up the sweet and the sour that the city had to offer. So I'ma suggest a heart, outlined in 19 bullets.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:28 PM on April 4, 2007

- A restaurant inspection certificate — you choose the grade
- An upraised middle digit
- Mr. Met
- The no-smoking sign
- The digits "9/11" (or WTC silhouette)
- Logo of your nearest subway line
- The phrase "What you lookin' at?"
posted by rob511 at 3:45 PM on April 4, 2007

A middle finger?
posted by clango at 4:31 PM on April 4, 2007

The Wonder Wheel and/or the Parachute Drop at Coney Island.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:46 PM on April 4, 2007

Water towers. I miss being able to look out from a certain height and being able to see all the rooftops with hundreds of those wooden cylinders with the cone dome tops.
posted by myopicman at 7:35 PM on April 4, 2007

it would never work, but there's that "what to do in case of choking" poster that every restaurant is required to post...

i second the greek coffee cup, but only a new yorker would get it. eustace tilley might have a little more name recognition, but not much. and you'd have to really like the magazine. i love the idea of patience and fortitude, the library lions.

what about an eagle gargoyle from the chrysler building?
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:45 PM on April 4, 2007

When I think of home, I think of subway signs. Like, on NY1 (the local news), almost every "random shot of neighborhood" has an establishing shot of the subway station staircase.

Also good: bagels, Broadway (the giant Coca Cola sign and Cup O Noodles and all the other advertising, OR old school shows in lights), and a taxi.
posted by crayolarabbit at 8:55 PM on April 4, 2007

"La vía del tren subterráneo es peligrosa. Si el tren se para entre las estaciones quédese adentro. No salga afuera. Siga las instrucciones de los operadores del tren o la policía...."
posted by rob511 at 11:10 PM on April 4, 2007

NYC diner coffee cups with the "we are happy to serve you" logo.
posted by gfrobe at 1:29 AM on April 5, 2007

There's the NYC Parks Dept. logo:

posted by Caviar at 9:19 AM on April 6, 2007

Parks Dept. Logo.
posted by Caviar at 9:20 AM on April 6, 2007

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