History in the Making

31,000 square feet of print transports Lower Manhattan to 1767.

Big Picture

Lenapehoking, New Amsterdam, New York City: The hustling and bustling city of NYC, home to more than 8.5 million people today, has a history spanning hundreds of years; its first inhabitants were the Lenape native people, followed by Dutch settlers in 1624. The city quickly flourished, becoming the second largest city in the American colonies by 1760 and claiming the title of biggest city in the Western hemisphere in 1810 with 202,589 residents, eventually growing into the metropolis it is today.

National Marker sidewalk graphicsToday, 85 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan (previously the heart of the early Dutch settlement) is home to a staggering skyscraper the settlers of New Amsterdam couldn’t have fathomed in their wildest dreams. During a recent revitalization project, architectural design firm FX Collaborative concocted a way to pay tribute to the building’s history (A 400-year-old cobblestone-paved street still runs through the lobby to this day!) with 31,000 square feet of print.

The firm enlisted PSP National Marker to craft extensive sidewalk graphics depicting a map of New York City dating back to 1767. The biggest challenge the shop faced was sizing the graphic to the massive site and choosing the starting point: “Because we were surrounding the entire building, any minute error would be multiplied by the large number of panels. Making matters even worse was the fact that the building wasn’t square, so multiple ‘starting’ points were required,” says Patrick Madigan, National Marker general manager.

The shop meticulously scaled the artwork, dividing the graphics into 625 individual 13 x 4-foot panels with orientation markers and an intricate numbering system to aid installers. National Marker printed onto Jessup Manufacturing Asphalt Art nonslip media with an Agfa Jeti Tauro H2500 press. Installation took place in two phases over the course of a week, with the graphics withstanding the daily foot traffic of thousands of pedestrians for more than five months. “With over 60 million visitors to NYC annually, it’s likely that 10 million people viewed the mural around 85 Broad Street,” says Madigan.


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