New Yorker Cartoons On The Empire State Building Walls
The iconic Empire State Building now boasts half-a-dozen New Yorker cartoons on its walls. One each by Robert Leighton, Liana Finck, John O’Brien, Tom Cheney, Jason Patterson, and Frank Modell.
Through the courtesy of Mr. Leighton (who is shown below, at The Empire State Building, with his drawing*) the Spill shows you three of the six cartoons in situ, and tell you a little about their installation and how their installation came to be.
Left: Frank Modell’s drawing, published in The New Yorker, 1975
Mr. Leighton has shared the information he received when the project was first proposed to him:
“As part of ongoing upgrades to the Empire State Building Observatory experience, we’re looking into the idea of installing certain New Yorker cartoons in the stairwells between the 80th floor and the 86th floor.
When visitors come to the Observatory of the Empire State Building, they take the elevator to the 80th floor and transfer to another set of elevators to arrive at the 86th floor open-air Observatory deck. Guests have the option to take the stairs between 80 and 86 instead of the elevator to avoid the lines. We’d like to reward the stair-takers with a whimsical display of New Yorker cartoons in the stairwells. The cartoons would all be thematically appropriate – either relating to the Empire State Building/high rise construction, general unique New York moments or stairs. We think this will be a great “hidden New York” feature that will help guests feel like insiders.”
Asked how the drawings were applied to the walls Mr. Leighton was told:
The design firm, Thinc, used a company called Applied Image. Thinc prepared the graphic image including the title block. They printed the image on a durable, graffiti-resistant, wide format wall vinyl. The vinyl extends to the edges of the available space to avoid picked edges. Then they apply it with adhesive.Here are the official specs: Printed and installed by Applied Image. Production Method: 3M Envision Print Wrap Film with Avery Anti-Graffiti overlaminate. Anti-Graffiti protects image from scratches, chemicals, solvents or graffiti paint.
— Above: John O’Brien’s drawing on the wall. Published in The New Yorker 2018.
I asked Mr. Leighton what it meant to him having his drawing chosen:
“When we’re thinking up our cartoons, the most we imagine is that they’ll be printed, saving them from a lifetime of obscurity. For those that see print, our hope is that they’ll be re-printed somewhere, maybe becoming part of a book. To be reprinted like this–becoming a permanent part of the iconic skyscraper of all time–is just a pure undiluted thrill.”
*Mr. Leighton’s drawing, published in The New Yorker February 4, 2013, carried the caption “Escher! Get your ass up here!” The caption, edited by Mr. Leighton, appearing in the Empire State Building: “Escher! Get back up here!”
Jimmy Kimmel’s Cartoon Rejected By The New Yorker
Here’s a fun segment from last night’s Jimmy Kimmel program. It features The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen, in magazine’s offices, as well as on stage in Brooklyn with The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick.
Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon
NYC Basketball by Johnny DiNapoli, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2019. Visit his website here.