GREENPOINT — New York is just not that into you.
After a rough year in the city that never sleeps, artist Seth Carnes has put his own spin on the ubiquitous I Love NY slogan — creating a line of T-shirts with the counter-logo "NY Doesn't Love U."
The T-shirts, which feature a red slash through a black heart, were prompted by a sign spotted by Carnes, 38, that said "YOU IDLE, YOU PAY $2,000."
Carnes, who moved to New York from California 12 years ago, felt that the sign said it all about NYC.
"One moment you feel like the city and the life here is kissing you on the forehead. And the next moment it’s punching you in the gut," said Carnes, who immediately took out a napkin and drew his replacement slogan after seeing the sign.
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Carnes whipped up a batch of T-shirts and produced them in Greenpoint at Kingsland Printing for online sales. The shirts, several of which have already been sold, cost $29.95 and are made with organic products and water-based ink, Carnes said. They are currently only available online.
Though Carnes said he saw other logos with similar concepts, he thought they were "junky" and wanted to develop his own.
He also looked into whether his T-shirt design potentially violated the trademark for "I Love NY," which was created by graphic designer Milton Glaser and is now owned by New York State. The logo has been aggressively defended by CMG Worldwide, which reportedly issues 200 cease and desist letters a year over the logo.
But after looking at lawsuits including one where a North Carolina man successfully argued against New York State, Carnes decided that his design was different enough to move forward.
CMG Worldwide did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Carnes, who now lives in the East Village, had endured a difficult year in the time before he was inspired to draw the logo, he said. He lived in a building that had to be evacuated due to nearby construction problems, and he ended up struggling with housing for months due to various issues.
The city feels different than it did when he first moved here, he said, citing the increasing disparity between "the hyper rich and the hyper poor."
"There’s this mentality of 'crap, I just got punched in the gut again'," he said.
But he said he hopes people who end up buying the shirt will use it to express their own feelings about New York, Carnes said.
After all, everyone has their own "NY Doesn't Love U" moment, he said.
"It's an interpretation of one's relationship to the city," he said.