Toynbee Tile on Delancey

Posted on: September 11th, 2009 at 6:18 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

This image has been archived or removed.

Last week, Jeremiah spotted a unique Toynbee Tile in the middle of Second Avenue and Eighth Street.  Now the Lower East Side can join the club.  Indeed, we came across another such ominous inlay in the westbound intersection of Allen and Delancey.  It was inserted just a couple days ago, and seems to be a clarion call to mobilize against the New York Post and its journalists.

According to Resurrect Dead:

The first confirmed sighting of a Toynbee Tile was in Philadelphia, PA, in 1983. Other unconfirmed claims date back to the mid-’70s, possibly as early as 1975. New tiles have consistently popped up ever since. Over the years, Tiles have been spotted in Philadelphia (believed to be their origin;) New York City; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Washington, DC; Kansas City; Detroit; St. Louis; Chicago; and several other smaller US cities. Additionally, Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Buenos Aires, Argentina; have all been “Tiled.” Tiles have also appeared on major US highways, as well as outside of the Holland Tunnel in New York City.

The physical makeup of the Tiles remained unknown for years. That they could weather the erosive qualities of inner-city road life make them all the more intriguing, and unparalleled in the world of textiling. Until recently, all that was known about their materials was what was hinted at in a few Tiles containing confounding instructions on how to make your own. The Tiles are now believed to be a combination of ‘true’ linoleum, which is difficult to purchase in the US, tar paper, asphalt crack filler, and an unknown form of glue, all hand-cut to the unknown Tileist’s liking. They are applied to concrete via the heat of the sun and the pressure of car tires, which will eventually wear away the tar paper and reveal their message.

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