Police arrest artist setting up ‘I Love NY’ work

The installation included a plastic bag with a battery inside of it, hanging from a tree

Topics: Terrorism, NYPD,

Police arrest artist setting up 'I Love NY' work (Credit: http://tmiyakawadesign.com/)

NEW YORK (AP) — An artist who was setting up an “I Love New York”-themed public art display in Brooklyn was arrested after the wired contraption was mistaken for an explosive device.

Takeshi Miyakawa, a visual artist and furniture designer, was arrested Saturday after placing the installation in two separate areas of the same New York City neighborhood. His lawyer and employer both called the arrest a misunderstanding.

The first apparatus was found Friday morning after a caller reported a suspicious package to police. It consisted of a plastic bag that contained a battery and was suspended from a metal rod attached to a tree. The bag, which had the classic “I Love New York” logo printed on it, was connected by a wire to a plastic box that contained more wires.

The area was evacuated for two hours until a bomb squad determined that the device was not dangerous.

At about 2 a.m. Saturday, a police officer discovered Miyakawa on a ladder not far from where the first contraption was found. Police said he was tying a similar “I Love New York” bag to a public lamp post.

Miyakawa was charged with two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the first degree, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree criminal nuisance.

A judge ordered him held pending a psychiatric evaluation. His lawyer, Deborah J. Blum, said Monday that she is filing for emergency relief to have Miyakawa released. A court date was set for June 21 to review the results of the evaluation.

“He’s still being held,” Blum said Monday. “I believe that it was a gross misunderstanding and other than that I don’t have any other comment.”

Miyakawa, who was born in Tokyo and is about 50 years old, has worked for a New York-based architect Rafael Vinoly for the last 20 years and also has an independent design practice.

Vinoly’s firm released a statement Monday praising Miyakawa for his “extraordinary brand of professionalism” and said he has been a mentor to generations of young architects.

“Takeshi is a fabulous human being and a person of extraordinary talent,” Vinoly said. “We hope this misunderstanding is cleared up as quickly as possible.”

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement that the charges sounded “like a wild overreaction.”



“It’s hard to understand why a light-up bag in a tree would be treated as an attempted terrorist act unless there’s more to the story than has been reported in the press thus far,” she said.

In 2007, an artist touched off a terror scare in Boston by placing electronic devices around the city as part of a marketing stunt for Cartoon Network. The city closed bridges, roads and public transit before authorities realized the signs were not bombs.

On an average day, the NYPD receives nearly 100 reports of a suspicious package. Last year, there were more than 4,000 such reports. The number generally rises following any word of terror threats in New York and around the world.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>