Let’s face it: the city can be a rough place sometimes.
Whether it’s the endless pollution, the strange smells, or the rush hour commute that squeezes the life out of us, the urban landscape often resembles a pressure cooker more than it does a livable habitat.
With that in mind, one U.S. design studio has taken matters into their own hands and installed “cathartic public punching bags” across Manhattan in hopes that residents can take out their daily stress in a healthy way rather than unleashing it on their neighbors.
The initiative by the Savannah, Georgia-based design collective donttakethisthewrongway was introduced as a contribution to NYCxDESIGN—or New York City Design Week 2019—as a means to allow locals and visitors alike to “release their frustrations, whatever they may be, in a safe, communal space.”
And for those who were perplexed by the sudden placement of the bright, yellow, boxing gym-style punching bags, the collective accompanied their sidewalk installations with a mission statement, which reads:
“The concept explores designing common spaces for the emotions we all face.
Good or bad, as we travel from point A to point B we deal with a good number of frustrations. Frustrations that go beyond designed systems and happen, well, because we are human.
The public punching bag offers an outlet for these emotions as a means to maybe develop a healthier way to address personal and collective issues in a public setting.”
According to the studio, New Yorkers from all walks of life welcomed the initiative “with fists and kicks of frustration and joy.”
This should come as no surprise given that Americans are among the most stressed-out people in the world, according to a Gallup poll last month, with surveys showing that anger, stress, and worry have reached the highest level in a decade, the New York Times reported.
Across the United States, 55 percent of adults said that they experienced stress throughout “a lot of the day” prior to being surveyed, while only 35 percent of global respondents gave the same response—ranking the U.S. alongside Greece, which has been a world leader in stressed-out citizens since 2012.
Likewise, 45 percent of U.S. respondents said they felt “a lot” of worry the day prior, compared to a worldwide average of only 39 percent.
And it’s a safe bet that New York City—a place renowned for its brusque pedestrians, traffic-choked avenues, and overall surly style—is hardly an exception to the rule.
So you can bet that until things change for the better, the public punching bags are a brilliant idea whose time has certainly come.