I have walked through the Times Square-42nd Street subway station for years without realizing that there was an incredible example of Pop Art located there. As you walk from the N/R/Q to the 1/2/3 (the old BMT trains to the IRT trains) pause for a moment, look up, and you’ll be amazed by what you see.
A museum quality work of art located in a subway station.
Times Square Mural was designed by Roy Lichtenstein in 1994, though it was not installed until 2002. It consists of 16 panels and was a gift from the artist to the people of the City of New York. The Mural is reminiscent of Lichtenstein’s other works, which can be seen in many of the City’s museums. It is one of at least two currently owned, and displayed, by the City. The Mural combines Lichtenstein’s love for comics and science fiction with New York City themes. The ship on the left side of the mural is based on spaceships from Buck Rodgers and the man featured on the right side of the mural is likely Buck Rodgers himself.
The eponymous section of the mural quickly catches your eye since it breaks up the science fiction sections. The 42 is based on one of the original beaux art subways signs created by Heins + LaFarge for the original IRT stations.
Some of the other New York City themes include allusions to arches from the Old City Hall Subway Station, the Trylon and Perisphere, (from the 1939 World’s Fair) and the Unisphere (from the 1964 World’s Fair).
Unless you are looking for it, Lichtenstein’s signature is hidden in the lower right corner.