Vito Acconci / Acconci Studio, Wall-Slide, 2002 at Yankee Stadium

In 2012, we ventured through the entire subway system in New York City, looking for the best subway art. Here are our top 10 favorites, gathered into one article! For more, check out the separate pieces on the 7 line, J/Z, G/L, B/D/F/M, A/C/E, N/Q/R, 4/5/6, and the 1/2/3.

To see some underground art of the subway for yourself, you can join an upcoming Untapped Cities tour of Underground Art in the NYC Subway!

Behind-the-Scenes Tour of NYC Subway Art

10.Essex and Delancey (F/J/M)


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.

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7 thoughts on “Top 10 Subway Art Installations in NYC

  1. Regarding the Bryant Park installation, the tendrils represent roots going under the ground, just as the quotes along the wall have to do with water. After all, the piece is called _Under_ Bryant Park.

  2. What the hell is this I’ve been sent on my e- mails??? New York ‘Subway Art’???? Scrolling down & searching hard I was half expecting some archive 70’s/80’s archive photos by mr Henry Chalfant or miss Martha Cooper of full colour ‘installations’ adorning the sides of subway cars a plenty….nice top to bottom wholecars by artists such as SEEN,BLADE,LEE QUINONES,DUSTER, DONDI WHITE-(RIP),IZ THE WIZ-(RIP),KASE 2-(RIP),STAY HIGH 149-(RIP). Whilst I appreiciate other forms of art that maybe situated in or around New Yorks infamous subways & whether or not your a fan of NYC’s Graffiti past & ‘golden era’ thereno denying its worldwide impact & influence in art,artists & we can’t forget the always important & much loved kids… & expression is a universal thing! Always has been & always will just like drawing/painting on walls & trains!!!

  3. These are wonderful, but don’t forget the *original* subway art – Heins & LaFarge’s ceramic panels (some by Grueby Faience and Rookwood Pottery) with what we might now call icons – panels with images suggesting the name of each IRT station (most famously the ceramic beaver at Astor Place – a reminder of the Astors’ role in the fur trade), Squire Vickers’s Arts and Crafts abstract tile designs, and more. The Transit Museum put it all into an exhibition and book in 2004 (100th birthday of the IRT) called “Subway Style” (full disclosure: I wrote the text) with fabulous photos by Andrew Garn. The main mistake made in the early days was the size of the ceramics – so small they could easily be missed. The new art makes up for that in spades – you can’t possibly miss it.

  4. Hi – this is a great post with some really interesting art. Thank you!

    We’ve just written a post on our blog at detailing some other great NYC subway art, including works out on Coney Island and Prince St., and on the abandoned City Hall station at the end of the 6 (which is itself pretty amazing and rarely seen). We’d love it if you’d come have a look! Here’s a link:

    Thanks for your great work!

      1. Michelle – thanks for your follow-up. Awesome stuff, as expected!

        Will look forward to reading more!

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