‘A Walker in New York City’: a Magical Timelapse of Artist JR Creating a Large-Scale Mural in Manhattan

French artist JR created this 150-foot-long mural on the streets of Manhattan by pasting huge strips of paper on the ground. The street art was created for the New York Times Magazine and was featured on the cover of its “Walking New York” issue.

As an artist, JR has made a name for himself for pasting giant photographs around cities worldwide. More recently, he has focused on photographing immigrants. The New York Times Magazine approached him to collaborate.

For this mural, JR and a 20-person crew pasted long strips of paper onto Flatiron Plaza, which is a a triangle of pavement that sits between Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 23rd Street. The mural is of Elmar Aliyev, a 20-year-old waiter at an Azerbaijani restaurant called Old Baku, on Ditmas Avenue in Brooklyn.

In the video, you can see the installation of the mural in the early morning and the reactions – or non-reactions – of pedestrians throughout the day. Most people walked right over the mural without seeing it, a statement on the often invisible 3.1 million immigrants who call New York City home.

It’s a magical thing to watch someone create something so significant, isn’t it?

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