Brooklyn man paints marriage proposal on billboard over the BQE
A besotted Brooklyn man risked his life to scale an empty billboard overlooking the BQE and paint a marriage proposal.
“I never felt like this in my life,” Drew Henkels, 28, said. “I wanted to make sure she knew I was serious.”
The message he painted in June — “Will u marry me Chelsea Mose?” — still looms over the the unromantic expressway near the Flushing Ave. exit.
Henkels met his sweetheart a year ago in Perth in her native Australia, where he was on tour playing in a band.
They exchanged old-fashioned letters for four months before she came to visit him in November.
After she moved into his Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment in April his thoughts turned to marriage.
“I was mulling over a couple of proposal scenarios,” Henkels said. “None really felt worthy, so when this idea struck me I couldn’t let it go.”
He made several failed attempts to scale a different billboard before settling on the one he tagged.
“If you fall, it’s two broken bones at best, more likely a spinal injury,” he said. “There’s nothing romantic about taking care of someone in a wheelchair.”
All the same, on June 6, he threw a rope through the bottom rung of the ladder that hangs off the billboard — 50 feet off the ground — and hauled himself up.
He wrote his high-profile proposal in blue paint.
“Looking down, feeling dizzy and holding a long, heavy paint roller over my head, I felt I could fall at any minute,” he said.
He drew courage as drivers stuck in traffic on the BQE began to honk and cheer.
When Mose, 24, got home from work, Henkels walked her over to see his handiwork. “I went down on one knee and I pulled out the ring and pointed up,” he said.
He was met with silence, and his heart sank.
“I wanted to make the most of it and savor the moment,” Mose explained. But she quickly relented. “I could see the anxiety in his eyes,” she said, “so I said, ‘Yes!’ — really fast and really loud.”