by Kevin Walsh

A program cooked up by the Department of Transportation in 2011 to alert the public that walking into traffic isn’t a smart move. It’s called Curbside Haikuand features twelve designs by artist John Morse. The signs are attached to lampposts an utility poles in areas where traffic is especially heavy and pedestrians and bicyclists have run into trouble. Each sign employs a haiku, a centuries-old style of poetry developed in Japan that consists of three lines and exactly seventeen syllables. Most of the signs spell out the haiku, but some have QR codes readable by smartphone apps. (Since I still live in 1985, that’s a world apart from my own.)

I spotted this one at Court Street and Atlantic Avenue, a place where I frequently waited for the B63 bus between 1975 and 1980 when I went to St. Francis College on Remsen Street (in 2023 it is moving to Livingston) and had a job at the Brooklyn Business Library on Cadman Plaza (it was knocked down a few years ago for a luxury building).

Haiku is a Japanese poetry form consisting of three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic scheme. This program is now a a decade old and there are still some battered, but surviving, haiku signs around. On this FNY page I have some more, but the link on the page indicating all the Curbside Haiku signs around town is now deceased.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Sunnysider March 3, 2022 - 12:48 am

I think limericks would be more effective.

therealguyfaux March 3, 2022 - 12:34 pm

“In The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens or Manhattan
This goes too for the Island of Staten
Pay closer attention
This should need not be mentioned
Whether you’re white, black, or Asian, or Latin.”

Sunnysider March 3, 2022 - 8:21 pm

There was a lad from Bed-Stuy,

And road rage was his chosen high,

Pedestrians would scatter,

And lose control of their bladder

Whenever he would drive by.

Anthony+Marcano March 3, 2022 - 8:17 pm

I have to give this a try:

Get outta the street
Don’t get hit by an auto
See your kids tonight

Anthony+Marcano March 3, 2022 - 8:20 pm

One more. I’m on a roll;
Can’t you see the cars and trucks

redstaterefugee March 4, 2022 - 10:55 am

They’re leaving Manhattan,
The Bronx & Staten Island, too
So are they in Queens, too
So why don’t you?


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