julia foulkes


We are moving in on Rikers. Students have decided upon the theme of the visibility/invisibility paradox of the island. For some, Rikers is hypervisible. They work there, they know people confined there, they’ve been locked up there. For others, it is largely invisible from their New York. An island in a city made up of islands, connected by one lone long bridge, one public bus, and guarded by patrols on water and land. The closest some come to the place is in flying right over it as the plane charges off the runway at LaGuardia. Even then, you have to know what you’re looking at to see it.

Students are coming up with a variety of ways to show how Rikers is everywhere and nowhere at once. One of the most obvious is its appearance and disappearance on MTA subway maps across the decades. Usually, the island is on the map but sometimes it’s named and other times it’s not. Currently, it’s not named. So some of those clever design students devised a sticker that you can put directly on the map in the subway. So I did.

Let’s make sure we know what we’re doing to the thousands of people on Rikers Island. Because if we see Rikers in all its horrors, then the only ethical choice is to shut it down. #SeeRikers