Soon after Aretha Franklin’s death on August 16, New Yorkers began creating tributes to the Queen of Soul at the Franklin Street and Franklin Avenue subway stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn respectively. Brooklyn resident Leroy McCarthy led the tribute charge along with a street artist friend and together they stenciled “Aretha” above the Franklin signs on the subway platform in Brooklyn.
MTA staff scrubbed those tributes clean shortly after that, but on September 1, the agency officially debuted its own tribute to the music legend. Both Franklin Street and Avenue stations now bear signs that read Respect, which are placed close to the existing signs on the platform. The commemoration can be seen on both platforms at the Manhattan and Brooklyn stations.
This particular idea came from feedback provided by McCarthy. He was hoping to create a large “Respect” sign outside the Franklin Avenue subway station in Brooklyn. For now the MTA is sticking to the posters on the subway platforms but it hasn’t totally ruled out a larger commemoration.
“We wanted to memorialize the outpouring of love from the community for Aretha Franklin,” an MTA spokesperson told CNN, which first reported on the new signage. “In consultation with local leaders, we agreed that ‘respect’ was a beautiful tribute and worthy message.”