Lonely Planet Writer

A Melbourne lane-way has just turned into a tribute to Elaine from Seinfeld

Two creative fans of the long-running NBC TV series, Seinfeld, have taken a lane-way in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to the character, Elaine Benes. Karsten Jurkschat, 29, from Melbourne and his pal Alex Little, 28, from New Zealand came up with the concept for “Elaine Way,” as they felt that the funny female character was being overlooked in the Australian city.

Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat
Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat

“Jerry Seinfeld is coming out to perform stand-up in Australia for the first time since 1998, and Melbourne is obviously very, very excited.” Karsten told Lonely Planet. “Alex and I were chatting about the shows and realised that there has been a lot of talk about the men of Seinfeld around Melbourne in the form of George’s Bar and Larry David’s café, but there wasn’t much about the true hero of the show, Elaine.”

Elaine Benes and the cast of TV series Seinfeld. Image: David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
Elaine Benes and the cast of TV series Seinfeld. Image: David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Karsten and Alex work as a creative team of advertising art director and copywriter, and they visited New York City where Seinfeld is set earlier this year.  They are big fans of Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and decided to give her some local prominence. “Elaine is the queen of the-one liner, and she’s got more attitude than a New York cabbie and is unashamedly selfish,” says Karsten. “A true triple-threat. We decided we’d give her Melbourne’s highest honour – her own lane-way.”

Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat
Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat

For their Elaine tribute, Karsten and Alex designed and printed three-metre high and six-metre wide posters featuring her head, arms and feet. They pasted them on both sides the walls of a lane-way behind Johnston Street, near the corner of Brunswick Street. When asked what the most challenging part of the quirky project was, Karsten doesn’t hesitate. “Putting the posters up, for sure,” he laughs. “It is was way harder than we thought and there was glue everywhere!”

Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat
Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat

The guys roped in their girlfriends to help turn the laneway into a tribute to Elaine, and even included a sign for an unofficial new street name – Elaine Way. When questioned about what the reaction has been like so far, their response is “insane!”

Alex Little and Karsten Jurkschat have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to Seinfeld character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat
Alex Little and Karsten Jurkschat have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to Seinfeld character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat

“We went down the morning after and people were stopping to take pics, pulling up in cars and stopping traffic,” says Karsten. “The power of Seinfeld, I guess. People love it. We hope “Elaine Way” lives on for a while yet, but Melbourne’s laneways are hot property amongst the poster crews and street artists, so we might have some competition there.”

Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat
Two Seinfeld fans have taken a laneway in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and turned it into a tribute to character, Elaine Benes. Image: Karsten Jurkschat