The 130-foot sequence of glass panels at the Huntington Long Island Railroad station by Joe Zucker does exactly what it was intended: to evoke a nostalgia for Long Island as you pass through this oft-traversed transfer station between New York City and the terminus of the Port Jefferson line. Zucker says, “I hope that this piece brings travelers enjoyment, that it gives them memories of Long Island and moments of pleasure.” The images that artist Joe Zucker depicts are familiar sights–the Long Island Duck, the Montauk lighthouse–each atop a train flatbed. It is also a celebration of Long Island’s trade and agriculture–in addition to lobsters, there are oversized fish and giant potatoes (with “eyes”) in whimsical colors. Entitled For My Grandfather Noye Pride, a Locomotive Engineer, it was part of the MTA Arts for Transit Program.
Zucker has had a long career, a contemporary of Chuck Close and Richard Serra. He is perhaps better known for his paintings, but some like this 1980 acrylic, mimic glass panels–a possible foreshadowing of the Huntington Station panels.
He also explored narrative series in 1984, with the Ponce de Leon Paintings, a collection of 53 works. In 1985, the New York Times wrote that Zucker’s paintings were “part history, part myth, part artistic license,” and For My Grandfather captures all of these aspects. Completed in 1998, the glass installation at Huntington Station serves both as public art and as a windscreen. Says Zucker, “It is in memory of my grandfather and uncles who served as engineers and firemen on the trains of a distant past.”
Be sure to walk the length of the platform if you find yourself transferring at Huntington Station. The last time I passed through, I quickly snapped photographs of the panels:
For more about Sequence Art in New York City, read about those found in the Port Authority and Union Square.