The 14th Street Subway Station showing eagles once thought to be lost, by Philip Ashforth Coppola
Calling to mind other obsessive documentary projects by New York area residents, New Jersey resident,Philip Ashforth Coppola, has been documenting the art inside the New York City subway system as illustrations since 1978. The New York Times reports that Coppola originally thought it would take just a few months but he’s still going, and doesn’t anticipate finishing until 2030 (when he’ll be about 82). He uses a ballpoint pen, nothing fancy, and writes out descriptions about each with typewriter.
When we published our article this morning on 10 NYC pizza joints with a big slice of personality, we didn’t expect the plucky pizza rat (seen in the video above) to start trending. He makes it almost all the way down the stairs, then seems to get a case of the jitters and dashes away from the prize.
Image of 34th St. Herald Street, mapping shortest route to Korean Town. Image via Project NYC Subway
Have you ever exited the subway and felt completely lost? Well, fear not because architect Candy Chan is here to rescue you! With her new Project NYC Subway, as seen on City Lab, you can visualize some of Manhattan’s most complex subway stations, blueprint style. Her first batch includes five stops down Broadway: Columbus Circle, Times Square, Herald Square, Madison Square, and Union Square.
In a sister challenge to the Guinness World Record attempts to ride the entire subway system, the WNYC data team has been in search of the longest subway ride one can take in New York City with one swipe. On the MTA’s list of subway facts, the longest route is supposedly between 241st Street in the Bronx and Far Rockaway, at 38 miles. The WNYC data team first found a route that takes much much more mileage–148 miles in fact and 45 transfers–between those two stations. Then they sent WNYC’s Jody Avirgan on the journey, who tweeted the experience.
There may be no other subway station more contentious among subway buffs than the 76th Street subway station in Queens, an IND station on the A line near Ozone Park, Queens that the The New York Times calls the “Roswell” of the New York City subway system. Its existence is hotly debated but urban explorer Dark Cyanide says us he’s gotten closer than most and shared the photos of his exploration.
Tile from the Chambers Street Subway Station
Since the 1980s, the MTA has installed hundreds of site specific works of art throughout the subway system. These pieces of art have been designed by world famous artists in order to create a beautiful underground art museum for the millions of daily subway riders. The Arts for Transit program was a continuation of the philosophy established by the founders of the subway system that “every design element in the system should show respect for our customers and enhance the experience of travel.”
The original subway art, was composed of terra cotta and mosaic and often depicted scenes that once graced the surrounding neighborhood. According to one account, they served as a map for tourists and the illiterate. Here are some of the best examples that can still be found in some of the subways oldest stations.