Sylvia Kwon

Takeshi Miyakawa Is a Free Man

It was art, not bombs.

By Katherine Zhang
July 23, 2012 | , , , , , , , , ,

Charges have been dropped against Takeshi Miyakawa, the Brooklyn-based furniture designer that was arrested in May for hanging plastic “I ? New York” bags on neighborhood trees.

Miyakawa, now a Brooklyn cause célèbre of sorts, made a splash when his public art installation was mistaken for an act of terrorism. On May 19, Miyakawa hung plastic bags filled with white LED lights and batteries on several trees in the West Village and Williamsburg. Concerned residents reported to the police bomb squad that nearby trees were festooned with suspicious packages; the streets were promptly evacuated and Miyakawa was cuffed. The public art exhibit—timed to coincide with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair—landed Miyakawa in Rikers with a 30-day sentence.

On July 19, the judge in Miyakawa’s case dropped the charges—which included reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance, and planting false bombs. The terms of his release include six months of probation. “I feel relieved,” Miyakawa told Open City. “I just have to stay out of trouble for six months!”

Katherine Zhang is an Open City contributor. A born-and-raised North Carolinian, she currently studies English at Duke University. Her perfect meal is beef chow fun with a side of livermush (look it up!).

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