New York Installs Punching Bags To Relieve Frustrated People

by : Julia Banim on : 04 Jun 2019 16:20
Punching bags put up as public art in Manhatten.persnicketyfox/Instagram

The world is an extremely frustrating place, and each day we head out into it just hoping and praying it will annoy us a bit less.

Okay, perhaps this is a view slightly coloured by my own personal mid-Tuesday gripes, with my day already being sullied by a rogue eyelash swimming about on my eyeball.


But even on my sunniest of Friday mornings, there are times when I would happily sink my fists into a nice, firm punching bag. And I hear I’m not the only one.

Punching bags put up as public art in Manhatten.persnicketyfox/Instagram

Public punching bags are currently being placed at different locations throughout Manhattan, all thanks to donttakethisthewrongway, an innovative design agency from Savannah, Georgia, who profess a talent for ‘dealing with slippery situations’.

The agency put up the punching bags during New York Design Week 2019, which took place from May 15 to 21. And they have proved quite a hit on social media.


One delighted New Yorker took to Instagram to praise this uniquely punchable design installation:

This is AWESOME. I don’t know who to thank for this – OH MY WORD – THANK YOU!
We need more of this. A public punching bag! Currently on 11th Avenue and 37th (?) Street.

For every crappy dog owner who doesn’t pick up after their dog, for every gigantic rent payment, for every dingus who stops to check their phone directly in front of a subway station entrance, for the general lack of fresh air on this island… So much angst, so little time. Sweeeeet release

According to a statement on the donttakethisthewrongway website, these punching bags are far more than just something to lash out at, they are ‘a public amenity that caters to emotions’.


I guess this ‘public amenity’ angle kind of makes sense. We have bins where we can leave rubbish and benches where we can have a nice sit down when we feel tired.

And yet there is seemingly no public storage box to pop our daily stresses in when we just can’t deal with them. And all that crappy energy has to go somewhere.

The mission behind these punching bags has been detailed on the donttakethisthewrongway website:


The concept explores designing common spaces for the frustrations we all face. 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.

However, as cathartic as this might feel at the time. I’m not one hundred per cent convinced that this is the best way to vent any rage you might be holding in below the surface.

Indeed, according to an article in Psychology Today, previous scientific research has suggested whacking a punching bag could actually increase your feelings of aggression, with ‘sitting quietly or meditating’ proving far more effective.

Punching bags put up as public art in Manhatten.persnicketyfox/Instagram

Admittedly, I would still be tempted to give one of these a good thump…

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: US News, America, New York


donttakethisthewrongway and 2 others
  1. donttakethisthewrongway

    a public amenity that caters to emotions

  2. persnicketyfox/Instagram


  3. Psychology Today

    You Can't Punch Your Way Out of Anger