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Memories of Twenty-Third Street

23 St (R/W)

Memories of Twenty-Third Street

Keith Godard
Artwork in glass mosaic by Keith Goddard showing hats on the platform walls.
“Memories of Twenty-Third Street” (2002) by Keith Godard at 23 St. Photo: Rob Wilson

About the project

From the 1880s through the 1920s, 23rd Street was a major vaudeville, entertainment, and cultural district; "Ladies Mile," the fashion and department store haven of the time, was located nearby. In his mosaic “Memories of 23rd Street,” Keith Godard represents the area’s history through the various hats icons of the neighborhood may have worn. The celebrities Godard had in mind include Jim Brady, Oscar Wilde, Sara Bernhardt, Mark Twain, and Lillian Russell. "In addition to bringing back memories of the specific time period and people and appealing to the viewers on a more common level as fascinating hats, this design can also serve as an interactive, playful, and witty landmark," Godard says. "As a diversion, passengers waiting for the subway train might try to picture people on the opposite platform 'wearing' the hats they are standing beneath!" 

About the artist

A London-born longtime New Yorker, Keith Godard (1938-2020) was a renowned designer and a pioneering educator in graphic design history. Godard attended London College of Printing and Graphic Arts before moving to the United States to attend Yale University’s graduate School of Art and Architecture. Early on in his career, Godard worked for several publications including Fortune Magazine. In the late ‘80s, Godard established his own firm, StudioWorks, where he focused on public art installations, wayfinding projects, and exhibition design. As a principal there, Godard designed notable exhibitions for the United Nations, Manhattan Children’s Museum, and the New York Transit Museum, among others. Godard was an active member of the design community and a beloved faculty member for a number of colleges and universities.