Makeshift tributes went up at the Franklin Street subway station in Tribeca earlier this week—those included wheat-pasted messages in the stairwells reading, “Say a little prayer for Aretha” and “Aretha Makes Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” (on the southbound side of the station), as well as four handwritten "Aretha" Franklin Street signs (on the northbound side of the station).
— Adam Kuperstein (@Adam4NY) August 16, 2018
An MTA spokesperson told the NY Post on Thursday they had no immediate plans to take down the memorials: "When asked for comment, the agency's spokesman Jon Weinstein aptly replied, 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T.'" Unfortunately, someone didn't get that M-E-M-O, because as of Friday morning, all four of the handwritten "Aretha" signs had been painted over.
All that remains at the station now is the “Aretha Makes Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” stairwell, and one newly-handwritten "Aretha" Franklin sign on the northbound side (whoever did that one blacked out the "Street" part of the sign, and instead added "Respect" underneath). At least one person left some flowers and a handwritten note on the street by the station as well.
Meanwhile, more tributes popped up at the Franklin Avenue subway station in Crown Heights as well. You can check out more photos of that above.
Brooklyn County of Kings paying R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the #QueenofSoul Aretha Franklin with temporary street art @BPEricAdams @RobertCornegyJr @cmlauriecumbo @TishJames @RepJeffries @RepYvetteClarke @News12BK @NY1 @bklyner @TIDAL @Daydog @LondellMcMillan @Essence @TheRoot @BKStreetArt pic.twitter.com/asj8v13mGM
— Chris Wallace Way BK (@CWWayBK) August 16, 2018
The artist who put the memorial in the video above told Metro he did so because he was "saddened by the passing of Aretha Franklin and wanted to do something to show respect to the Queen of Soul." He noted that it was done in spray chalk, and was easily removable.
The stencil people work fast pic.twitter.com/O721W9pn2K
— Amanda Mull (@amandamull) August 16, 2018
If you're walking around the city this weekend, you're more than likely to hear Franklin's music emanating from cars and stores, just like after David Bowie, Prince or Tom Petty died. There seem to be fewer and fewer occasions where the entire city is talking about the same thing, so much so that sharing and celebrating the music of artists like Franklin seems to be one of the only things that can break through NYers' hardened shells, even if only for a few minutes. There remains a visceral feeling that you can't just replicate sitting in front of a laptop and screaming into the void—you need to be standing next to another person to really get it.
Someone on the bus was playing Aretha out of a speaker and instead of getting annoyed, everyone nodded and hummed along, and the guy next to me teared up.
— Madeleine Davies (@madeleine_rae) August 16, 2018
It's also been announced that there will be an all-star tribute to Franklin at Madison Square Garden in November; and the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where she first performed at just 19-years-old, paid tribute on their marquee.
Tributes have also gone up in her hometown of Detroit:
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) August 16, 2018
If you see a tribute to Aretha around town, send us a photo.