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Danny Lyon-MTA Subway Photograph-1966-NYC-6
Magnum photographer Danny Lyon captured commuters on the New York City subway back in 1966. Today, and for the next year, they are on display at the Atlantic Avenue Barclays Center stop in Brooklyn. These amazing color photographs don’t look their age; there’s a certain quality to Lyon’s work that makes these 48-year-old photographs feel contemporary, except for the obvious changes to the decor of the subway.

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NYC Subway Token

The last time anyone in NYC actually used a token was 11 years ago. For 50 years New Yorkers used these little round coins (that we would mistake for quarters constantly) to ride the subway until the Metrocard debuted and made them obsolete (as well as the token booths, which are slowly being erased too). At the time of the forced token extinction, the MTA had 60 million tokens in circulation. Tons of coins with no pocket or subway to call home. So where did they all go? Were they dumped in the middle of the sea like old train cars? Are they all in some sort of stock room, only sprung out when someone wants a souvenir? Well an article on Gizmodo today revealed what happened to the beloved subway token .  (more…)

Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal Dispatcher Booth-Queens-Bushwick-Myrtle Wyckoff-NYC-2

In 2010, the Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal opened at Myrtle-Wyckoff station on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, line facilitating subway to bus transfers along the L and M lines. The project from the MTA was completed at a cost of $4.5 million, bringing together the numerous bus lines in the area into a small stretch on Palmetto Street, which is open to buses and deliveries only. Much like the newspaper stand that mimics the original Heins and LaFarge fare control station on 72nd Street, the dispatcher booth is a miniature house that is in the same aesthetic as the main house, just across the street.

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Holland Tunnel Catwalk Car-Packard NYC

In the Old Images of New York Facebook group today, a member posted this fabulous image of a Holland Tunnel Port Authority police cop in a narrow Packard “catwalk” car that ran along tracks in the tunnel. Doing some research, we discovered this was not the only model for the miniature cars in the tunnel.

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MTA Arts & Design_NYC_Sandra Bloodworth_Untapped Cities_Bhushan Mondkar09‘Whirls and twirls’ by Sol LeWitt at the 59th Street – Columbus Circle station. Photo: Rob Wilson; (Top) Installation views, Images: MTA

In celebration of their upcoming 30th Anniversary, MTA Arts & Design recently launched their latest book New York’s Underground Art Museum: MTA Arts & Design, an updated companion to Along the Way which was published in 2006. The new edition features nearly 100 new works of art that have been commissioned and installed over the past eight years. Untapped Cities took this opportunity to kick start a four part series featuring our interview with Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design as well as the co-author of this fabulous book. We started with the origin and evolution followed by the various programs within Arts & Design. In this third part we discuss the process involved in installing these refreshing art pieces within the NYC transit system. The interview was conducted by Catherine McKeon Mondkar and Bhushan Mondkar.

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Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-NYC Street Grid-001

Artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley made these incredible “day glo” maps of a handful of the world’s major cities ostensibly to understand in his own words, “what other treasures I had missed.” The result from a data visualization standpoint is to give us an idea of how gridded a city is. A basic rundown of how these beautiful maps work: the roads that are oriented in the same direction have the same color. The thicker the lines, the more “grid-like” the area is.

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