drake meme proposal

Drake meme just appeared in the strangest of places

The City of New York wants to make a Brooklyn park more accessible by installing a ramp. What better way to illustrate the impact that this could have on residents than with a rendering of Drake, in a wheelchair, rolling up to some style bloggers?

The artists appear in a 59-page-long proposal released this week by the city's Parks Department, which apparently has no fans of Degrassi: The Next Generation on staff. Or perhaps it's the opposite. Maybe this is a hip hop lovers Easter egg waiting to be found.

drake wheelchair park

The NYC Parks Fort Greene 'parks without borders' presentation includes a before and after of an existing set of stairs. Before,  inaccessible. After, accessible to Drake circa 2005.

In the "proposed entrance area" sketch, Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs of Street Etiquette can be seen laughing in the foreground.

Drake appears in the background as Jimmy Brooks; the wheelchair-bound teen he played on Degrassi before striking it huge in real life as a rapper.

The Parks Department hasn't yet said if this was done on purpose or by accident, but either way, it's attracted lots of attention. 

Perhaps tellingly, the image of Kissi and Gumbs appears on several websites and Pinterest boards dedicated to "ethnically diverse render people."

When I did a reverse image search on the photo, Google's "best guess for this image" was, in fact, "diverse people cut out."

The park rendering just happened to feature an image of two men who appear in several galleries of free-to-download 'ethnically diverse render people.'

The image of Jimmy (or "Wheelchair Drake," as he's come to be known online) is the same one used in a very popular internet meme dating back to 2010. 

It's almost like somebody's dad in the Parks Department punched "young man in wheelchair" into Google and didn't recognize the photo. Or maybe, as Brokelyn suggests, "an intern at the New York City Parks Department is currently getting fired."

When asked about the rendering, a spokesperson for the Parks Department was coy.

"Started at the bottom of Fort Greene Park's signature hill, now we're here with the final design," he said to the New York Post.  "Which takes care to create a more welcoming park entrance — with improved views."

Looks like that intern is proving useful after all.

Lead photo by

New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission 


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