If you make it up to the 72nd Street station of the long-awaited Second Avenue subway, you will see a celebrity from the restaurant world: French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud. The life-size mosaic was created by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, who created a bunch of portraits in the station in a series called “Perfect Strangers.” All of them are based on people that Muniz knows, with the idea being that they could be regular people waiting for the train. In Boulud’s portrait, the chef looks at his watch as he carries a bag of vegetables and fish.
The most meaningful reward as a #newyorker after more than 3 decades cooking in the same zipcode #10021 #ues is my #portrait in #mosaic at the new #2ndavesubway #72streetstation @mtaartsdesign @mtanyctransit #subwayart by my friend the famous artist @vikmuniz #publicart #mtaarts #lifeinnewyork #newyeareve will be the opening of the 2ndave subway line
It’s no accident that Muniz used Boulud as an inspiration. The two have been friends for some time. Artwork from Muniz hangs at Boulud Sud, and the artist and chef have collaborated for work at Bar Boulud and for a celebration of Brazil at Muniz’s studio.
Even though the two are buddies, an immortalization of Boulud as a chef for the station artwork isn’t a bad fit for the neighborhood. The celebrity chef started his career in New York in the ‘80s by cooking at The Westbury Hotel in the area. His most famous restaurant Daniel, which has two Michelin stars, has been on the Upper East Side since 1993 and has long been recognized as a top fine-dining restaurant in the city.
In an Instagram post of the work, the chef called the portrait, “the most meaningful reward as a New Yorker after more than three decades cooking in the same zip code.”