Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn, New York | Photo by Shake Shack

Blue construction barriers are almost as common as pigeons in New York City. Many of them are blank or plastered with ads. As the restaurant Shake Shack built a new storefront in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, their generous team turned their barriers into a constructive place for the community—and one of the longest Before I Die walls ever. Theresa Mullen, who spearheaded the installation, shared stories of how thew wall unfolded over its three-month life. “Hardly anyone writes anymore, so it was especially poignant to see all this sharing with the written word,” she said. “I watched a woman stand for a long time, reading, smiling, thinking. She finally wrote ‘Find God’ in small words and started crying. All of this sharing amongst total strangers in such a heavily trafficked location was breathtaking.”

Brooklyn, New York | Photo by Belinda Kanpetch
Brooklyn, New York | Photo by Belinda Kanpetch
Brooklyn, New York | Photo by Stephen Baker
Selected Responses

I want to bring peace of mind to my mom.

I want to be someone's favorite.

I want to live without fearing death.

I want to lose this damn weight.

I want to pay my student loans.

I want to get an 'A' in math.

I want to eat mad tacos.

I want to be the next Oprah.

I want to buy Mom a house.

I want to have peace on earth.

I want to end racism.

I want to understand my purpose.

I want to publish a novel.

I want to stop smoking and become a singer.