EAST VILLAGE — Fifth grade students at P.S. 54 unveiled Wednesday a new street sign they designed for East Fifth Street.
The sign, called "Safetyopoly" is now attached to a light post at the end of the East Fifth Street cul-de-sac behind the school between Avenues B and C. The sign addresses neighborhood safety issues, such as jaywalking, and is part of a three-year program with public art organization Groundswell and the Department od Transportation that allows students to design street signs.
"Out of 1.3 million signs this is the best sign in New York City," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan who attended the unveiling.
The sign is a play on the Monopoly board game and includes local landmarks such as Tompkins Square Park and Broadway. The students also added phrases such as "Don’t Take a Chance on Safety" and "Where Your Helmet" to remind residents of road safety.
School principal Marlon Hosang, who at the end of last year stirred discussion by slapping his teachers with a dress code, was also on hand to congratulate his students.
Chris Soria, a lead artist and designer with Groundswell, took the students through a 10 week design and safety course that included visiting the DOT's sign making factory in Maspeth, Queens.
As part of the course, students, who are graduating this Friday, explored what street signs looked like around the world.
"We explored symbolism throughout the world and how the universal language is symbolism and pictures," said Soria. Groundswell is also working on numerous other public art projects around the city that includes providing 125 teenagers with summer jobs designing and painting murals.
Jada Santos, 10, said the project addressed local safety issues such as jaywalking and distracted pedestrians.
"We took a class trip around the neighborhood to see what signs are need and what the problems are," said Santos.
Later in the brainstorming sessions to design the sign Jada came up with the idea "Don't play games with your safety." This in turn inspired Sean Redding, an 11-year-old student who is a "big Monopoly fan," to coin the term "Safetyopoly."
"This was the only sign to turn into a board game," said Soria. Groundswell will help nine other chosen schools from around the city design, make and unveil a street sign this year.
While the school and the DOT have no plans to turn this project into an actual game, Sadik-Khan said the sign was an intricate project for the DOT's sign making factory.
"This is a completely different order of magnitude," she said, of the sign.