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What Is That Mysterious Yellow Turtle Symbol Spotted Uptown?

 Inwood residents have spotted a yellow turtle symbol on streets east of Broadway.
Yellow Turtle Symbol
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If you've ever wondered about the yellow turtle symbol that has popped up on several Inwood storefronts and apartment buildings, you’re not alone.

The image — which has appeared on shop windows and even a neighborhood billboard — features the black outline of a turtle on a bright yellow background, but no other information is provided.

At least five storefronts or apartment buildings on Sherman Avenue between Dyckman Street and 207th Street were seen bearing the symbol. Business owners and residents said they appeared on their doors and windows about a year ago.

Anthony Cruz, owner of Jochy Café at the corner of Sherman Avenue and Academy Street, said he hadn’t given the image much thought.

“I never really noticed it before,” he said when asked about the stickers on the deli’s door. “Now I’m curious, too.”

The turtle also appears on a large billboard overlooking Vermilyea Avenue near West 207th Street.

Residents there said they thought the illustration was connected to a clothing company started by an Inwood resident. Sure enough, a search of social media revealed the New York City-based clothing brand Affluent Clothing using a strikingly similar logo.

The line features hats emblazoned with the word “Blessed” and T-shirts with photographs of New York City street scenes, including two men playing handball near the “Crack is Wack” mural and a shot of the elevated 1 train.

The company was founded by two friends who were influenced by the street art and fashion they saw growing up in the city in the 1980s and '90s, according to the brand’s website.

One of Affluent's founders, who goes by Fambino, confirmed that the symbol is his company's.

"The turtle itself represents longevity and good fortune," said Fambino, who delicned to provide his full name. "I definitely want to put that out there."

He said he also found inspiration in the fable of the tortoise and the hare.

"In my life, I’ve seen plenty of rabbits and thought, 'Wow, why can’t that be me? This guy has such a big head start over me,'" he explained. "So, it’s a reminder to me that it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish."

The lifelong Inwood resident said he placed the images around the neighborhood as a type of underground campaign.

"That’s the street-life aspect of it," he said. "It’s guerrilla marketing."

Affluent's products can be found at 4U Fitted Caps on Dyckman Street, as well as online.