Silicon Valley isn’t the only place in the United States that could learn from Seoul (as trumpeted by the New York Times Magazine in early June). So could New York City. Seoul, South Korea, is older by centuries than New York, but it is also younger. Devastated by the Korean War in which whole neighborhoods were demolished, Seoul had to rebuild and recreate itself after the ending of the war in July 1953.
It has since grown into one of the most energetic and compelling of global cities. It is simultaneously gorgeous (sleek skyscrapers lit up nightly in dazzling colors) and ugly (blocks of monumental concrete buildings erected to military standards to withstand bombing).
This particular Kickstarter definitely doesn’t need more help, and that’s certainly not why we’re writing about it. But designers, transit enthusiasts, and architects are going gaga over this subway poster, inspired by the specifications of the original Standards Manual for New York City subway signage by Bob Noorda and Massimo Vignelli. Last year, this same team, successfully funded a Kickstarter to reissue The Standards Manual. Now, this poster is an affordable way to “get it into many people’s hands,” they write, with the opening price at $35.
Rome was not built in a day, they say. And neither was New York City or its 24/7 subway system. All good things take time, and more so, when it cuts through some of the densest neighborhoods in America. On our fifth annual pilgrimage through the monumental construction site of the Second Avenue Subway, Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, president of the Capital Construction at MTA, led us through three new stations and 23 blocks of tunnels–from 63rd street to 86th street some 115 feet below Second Avenue.
New Yorkers who date back to the mid 1970s will remember the birth of subway graffiti art and Lee Quinones as a prominent figure in this movement. Well known for painting entire subway cars, and credited with painting about 125 cars all together, the Puerto Rico-born New Yorker was part of the respected writing crew The Fabulous 5 (Fab 5). Now, forty years later, Quinones has long since moved out of the subway and into the mainstream–in galleries, museums and private collections all over the world. You may recognize our previous coverage of Quinones within the Museum of the City of New York exhibition, City as Canvas
Image via Ryan Murphy/Hacking the NYC Subway
We’ve all experienced that moment of disorientation as we head out of the subway: are we facing east, north, south or west? Is that an avenue or a street? Ryan Murphy, a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, has taken it upon himself to enhance New York City civic environment through a series of semi-permanent signs he’s installed on the staircases coming out of subway entrances.