‘Subway Therapy’ Offered to Stressed New Yorkers After Election Day

November 9, 2016 Updated: October 5, 2018

NEW YORK—The busy subway underpass on 14th Street between 7th and 6th avenues felt quiet on Nov. 9—the first full day after the election of Donald Trump. It wasn’t empty by any means, just filled with silent people.

The usual stride of a busy commuter was broken by a huddle of people staring at a tiled wall. Upon closer inspection, the wall was covered with sticky notes conveying messages of love, hope, worry, and disappointment.

In front of it, a table with pens and more sticky notes bore a simple explanation: “Subway Therapy.”

Matthew “Levee” Chavez, 28, a voiceover artist and bartender from Brooklyn created the space, he said, for people to release their anxieties.

“It’s been a very stressful couple of days and I thought people should have an opportunity to express themselves and maybe feel a little bit less stressed,” he said. 

About six months ago Chavez set up a table and two chairs in the subway to give people, who may not have anyone else to talk to, a chance to unload about what they’re carrying around, about what makes them feel bad. He is not a licensed therapist and does not purport to offer professional advice, but he does offer an ear and personal advice from his own experiences.

This was the first time Chavez used sticky notes, he said, which he did to reach more people.

After commuters stopped to read, contemplate, or write, many thanked the subway therapist for creating the space.

Chavez wrote on his website that over the day he went through some 1,500 post-it notes.