A Greenpoint artist who sparked a bomb scare on Bedford Avenue by hanging illuminated trash bags says his art project was supposed to make the neighborhood more peaceful.
Furniture designer Takeshi Miyakawa, 50, walked out of court a free man on Wednesday after spending five days in jail for planting a plastic “I Love NY” bag containing battery-powered LED-lights that cops thought was an explosive.
Miyakawa insisted he just wanted to help calm one of his favorite hangout spots with public art, but cops initially saw it as a threat and cordoned off three blocks of Bedford Avenue on Friday while the bomb squad investigated
Hours later, police say they caught Miyakawa as he was putting up another bag on a lamppost near Lorimer Street. Prosecutors charged him with reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance, and planting false bombs.
On Sunday, Judge Martin Murphy ordered Miyakawa held in custody pending a mental health evaluation — perhaps the artist’s worst critique in his career.
Miyakawa apologized for the disturbance his project caused neighbors.
“I was in shock that I got arrested, but I was more in shock that people in Williamsburg were locked down for two hours — I really apologize,” he said outside Brooklyn Supreme Court. “Some people suffered from the project.
Friends and work colleagues, who called the judge’s decision to hold Miyakawa behind bars for days “absurd,” rallied to support the artist at the courthouse on Wednesday in hope of his release.
“Takeshi is a fabulous human being and a person of extraordinary talent,” said architect Rafael Viñoly, who employs Miyakawa in his model shop. “We hope this misunderstanding is cleared up as quickly as possible.”
Miyakawa’s attorney Deborah Blum, asked for his speedy release and Judge William Garnett consented — as long as Miyakawa undergo psychiatric testing.
Miyakawa said he was happy to have his freedom and was eager to home so he could take a long bath and have a beer.
He said he is not planning to sue the city for what his supporters call a lengthier-than-expected detention at Rikers Island. Instead, he is focusing his attention on his upcoming trial, which begins on June 21.
“I didn’t do this to get media attention, it was supposed to be quiet and discreet,” he said.
Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.