How to charge your phone at a lamppost, and other urban hacks

An anonymous artist is repurposing trash and other objects found on New York City streets to make city life better

Photographs courtesy Rotten Apple

Forgot your phone charger? Not a problem—just head to the nearest lamppost. One sustainably minded designer is repurposing found objects to create clever urban hacks to "address waste issues and encourage civic participation." The anonymous artist has unveiled nearly two dozen DIY inventions over the past three years under the project title Rotten Apple.

The handy creations are often as functional as they are whimsical. A scrap of wood wedged into a bike rack creates a seat for tired commuters, and a sticker on an electric main makes passersby aware of a safe, albeit illegal, outlet for when your iPhone runs out of juice. Most are scattered mainly around Brooklyn, as "it’s harder to do in Manhattan because of the police presence," the designer explains.

Other twists are even more playful, such as a traffic cone strung upside down and reinvented as a planter. A cutting board perched on a fire hydrant? Voila—a makeshift chessboard. We’re particularly smitten with the humble piece of chalk that encourages commuters to make subway signs into message boards, canvases and more. "When you’re waiting for your train, you’re looking at ads or staring into nothingness," says the artist. "I wanted to give people tools to play." So next time you fall victim to the G’s erratic schedule, look around: There may be a game of tic-tac-toe right in front  of you.

Photograph courtesy Rotten Apple

Photograph courtesy Rotten Apple

Photograph courtesy Rotten Apple

Send tips to:

Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

Time Out videos

Subscribe to Time Out New York on Spotify for playlists and recommendations from our Music team.

Check out New York's best restaurants, hottest street style, cool apartments and more.