Basketball players in front of Daniel Hauben’s “Under the El,” installed by the MTA on Freeman Street in 2005
When we headed up to Freeman Street in the Bronx to see the new Seis del Sur photo exhibit, Sin Límites, we were certainly surprised. This once discouraged-looking elevated stop is hopping with cultural draws. As you get off the train you’ll see elegant panels of colored faceted glass illustrating different subway scenes. Called “The El,” the six panels were created by artist Daniel Hauben, once dubbed the “Bruegel of the Bronx” by the New York Times, who was commissioned by the MTA’s Arts for Transit project in 2005.
Given that the original Seis del Sur exhibit, Dispatches from Home, documented some of the most dramatic and disturbing graffiti in the history of New York, visitors might be justifiably surprised to see the pristine condition of these public art works. Yet pristine they are—not a cracked piece of glass or ugly vandalism as far as the eye can see.
Relied on by everyone and utilized on a daily basis, transit systems form the critical backbone for urban life. One would assume that most networks feature user friendly interfaces and streamlined routing, though this isn’t always the case. Below, we try to clarify some of the colloquial nuances of the world’s most well-known networks. Just remember: Subways are like Band-Aids.
A vintage double decker bus of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. Image Source: Flickr.com by the MTA
Fifth Avenue has it all: opulent retail, national embassies, corporate headquarters–but no Subway line. Why is this? Not only is there no line now (and no plans for one in the future), but no elevated trains or trolleys have ever operated on one of the world’s grandest thoroughfares. In fact, the avenue’s transit history is one of the most complex of any street in New York City. (more…)
In this installment of Fun Maps, we looked at a 1970′s New York City subway map we had lying around the Untapped HQ and we found subway relic of the past. On September 23rd, 1978, amidst struggles to put into place rebuilding projects from the 1960s and an impending train operator strike, the Transit Authority introduced the “Train to the Plane” or the “JFK Express.” The ride charged premium fare and featured higher quality train cars. The train was actually slower than the A service, though many residents of Howard Beach, Queens were happy to pay extra for a more comfortable ride to work or home.