The vibrant colors of the naturalistic mosaic that coats the walls at the Essex & Delancey subway station brings a splash of color to subterranean New York.
Long hailed as one of the most artistic cities in the world, New York City certainly is home to many beautiful art museums and galleries (check out our list of NYC’s Must See Galleries from last week). But even below NYC’s teeming sidewalks and traffic-packed streets, art abounds in the form of murals, mosaics, and sculptures which span the depths of the extensive MTA subway system. In this week’s featured Foursquare list, we bring you Subway Art in NYC, our definitive guide to the city’s truly underground art scene, taken from Untapped Contributor Kristin Gaylord’s column, Transit Talk.
Bryant Park station: One of the largest subway art pieces in the city is Samm Kunce’s Under Bryant Park (2002), which is, as you would guess, in the subway station beneath the park itself. A grand and awe-inspiring depiction of lightning stretching across the sky, the mural also contains quotes from Mother Goose and Carl Jung.
Jay Street/Metrotech Center station: Another long mosaic (this one runs the full length of the corridor that it adorns), Ben Snead’s “Departures and Arrivals” creates a visually pleasing, geometric pattern of brightly plumed birds alternating with colorful lion fish.
New York Aquarium: Inspired by the curves and drops of the nearby Cyclone roller coaster, this station’s walls and stairways seem to dip and sway as you walk past. An intersection of art and architecture, this station’s Wavewall is a must-see.
Broadway/Lafayette St. B/D/F/M station: Brightening up this station is Leo Villareal’s neon light installation. Villareal, whose repeating hexagonal light sculptures together resemble a glowing beehive, seems to be commenting on the high-speed buzz of life that daily passes through the station.
Jackson Avenue: At this Bronx station, a collection of six stained glass visual narratives glint in the light, each an illustration of a different Latin American fairytale. Aptly called “Latin American Stories,” George Crespo’s installation offers subway passengers a glimpse into the rich cultural history of the region.
Metropolitan Avenue (G): A favorite of Instagram users across Brooklyn and beyond, the philosophically challenging statements within Jackie Chang’s “Signs of Life” murals directly address commuters at this station, asking them to pick a side on issues such as “Faith or Fate?” and “History or Your Story?”
Times Square: One of the few installations that are actually located outside of the subway system itself, Max Neuhaus’s sound art installation is unmarked and unnamed, and therefore hard to miss. If you stand on top of the subway grates on 7th Avenue on a day with less human traffic, though, you’ll hear it–deep, organ-like sounds flowing up from the grating like steam.
Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center: One of the more remarkable installations on this list is George Trakas’s “Hook, Line, and Sinker,” a steel sailboat suspended the middle of the station, high above the sea of human transit.