Halo (1991) © Nicholas Pearson, NYCT 34 St-Herald Sq Station. Photo: Nicholas Pearson

At Untapped New York, we are no strangers to the secret beauty of the NYC subway system. Throughout the more than 470 stations you’ll find fascinating works of art that span the entire history of the transit system, from the construction of the very first stops to today. While many contemporary mosaic works are massive in size and hard to miss, there are many more subtle pieces that you might pass on your commute every day and never notice. Here, we explore those often overlooked pieces hiding in plain sight. Next time you’re taking public transportation, be sure to take a peek at these hidden subway art installations.

1. Reach New York at 34th Street-Herald Square Station

Reach at 34th Street

The 34th Street-Herald Square N/R train platforms have a secret pair of musical instruments. The green metal bars, easily mistaken for subway infrastructure, are part of an installation called Reach New York, An Urban Musical Instrument. What looks like air ducts are actually speakers, and the holes have motion sensors in them. If you reach up and put a hand in front of one of the holes, a musical note will play.

Underground Art in the Subway Tour

Underneath the Fulton Center Sky Reflector

The unusual installation was created by artist Christopher Janney in 1996. It was installed to inspire interactions between strangers waiting for their trains. Riders can compose a spontaneous song with those waiting across the tracks on the other platform. See this and more of the installations mentioned in this list on our upcoming underground art walking tour!