3. Framing Union Square at Union Square Station

Artist Mary Miss’ Framing Union Square invites subway riders to not just interact with the art, but to interact with the past as well. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design in 1998, the installation is made of 125 red metal frames spread throughout the various levels of the Union Square Subway station. These frames direct commuters’ attentions to remnants of the original station from 1904 and places where original elements once existed, but are now lost to time.

Mary Miss told MTA Arts & Design, that this interactive subway art installation invites the public “to look below the surface, to see a ‘slice’ of the station, its structure, its history.” When one peers through the frames, they will find decorative tiles, signs, and pieces of infrastructure. A mirror that reflects the current station side-by-side with remnants of its past also awaits discovery. In some windows, there are historic images and text that call attention to companies and people who worked in the station.