After traveling through the 4,5, and 6 lines  last week, I’ve hopped on over to the N,Q, and R subway lines to journey primarily through lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

R Line

Jay Street-MetroTech

With a wide spectrum of vibrant colors, the mosaic on the South Mezzaine wall of this station is quite the eye-catcher. It spans the length of the corridor, breaking up the otherwise monotonous white and barren walls. Arranged in symmetrical patterns, Ben Snead’s mosaic, Departures and Arrivals, underlines the relationships among different species and their roles in Brooklyn’s ecosystem.

Q Line

West 8th Street-NY Aquarium

When architecture and art intersect, that’s when you get Wavewall. Designed by architect Jim Connel and artist Vino Acconci, this station’s walls and stairway takes its form from the nearby Cyclone roller-coaster. Since West 8th Street is an elevated station, it possesses the capacity to manipulate its outer shell unlike the underground station and appropriately does it here. Walking up the stairs towards the Manhattan-bound trains, the interior space resembles a frozen point in time while in the midst of a high-speed thrill ride.

N + R Lines

23rd Street

Struck by boredom but have at least one friend with you along with a camera or camera phone? Then you are in luck because at this station, an impromptu photo shoot can easily come about. With its carnival-esque public art, commuters at this station can directly interact with Keith Godard’s Memories of Twenty-Third Street by posing underneath the images of hats. Alongside these mosaics are tiles that cite the famous owner of each hat such as Oscar Wilde or Eleanor Roosevelt.

Found on both sides of the platform, you might catch a fellow commuter standing beneath an extravagant hat while you yourself unknowingly stand underneath an equally whimsical head piece.

Cortlandt Street

When she first began planning out the artwork for this station, Margie Hughto stated, “I thought about all the different peoples, products, objects, and money that passed through the area, and I visualized a treasure vault filled with coins, gems and artifacts — rich, golden, glowing, and somewhat mysterious.”

Eventually, she ended up creating Trade, Treasure and Travel, handmade ceramic relief tiles based on the themes of finance and trade. Located on each side of the platform and in the passageway between downtown and uptown-bound trains, these panels contain several glossy images that can be easily linked to its theme, such as the dollar theme and finance. However, Hughto makes some rather obscure references. For instance, some panels include mythical figures, such as griffin, that are still connected to the theme of trade.

Get in touch with the author  @iyisak