nyc subway | park place

07/12/2015

This platform/station is a combined transfer station with the Chambers Street A/C/E (IND) and forms a fairly large complex, but those platforms will be addressed separately. Directly upstairs from the 2/3 train platform itself is the first part of the “Oculus” mosaic, consisting of a giant tiled map of the world radiating out from an eye. The remainder of this installation will be addressed in the entry for the Chambers Street station.

The entire mezzanine runs approximately 7 blocks, and used to also contain a station specifically for the World Trade Center. The station, including the mezzanine with Oculus and the platforms, were damaged and flooded on 9/11. The artwork remained mostly intact and the station reopened 8 months after the attacks.

The Park Place platform itself only contains the standard IRT wall ribbon with the identifying single letter indicating the station. There is some obvious and extensive water damage going on at this platform, but it’s hard to say whether this is remnants of the flooding that occurred or just normal wear-and-tear of the last 14 years.

Station opened: August 1, 1918
Original system: IRT
Trains: 2/3
Source/More info: Wikipedia; MTA Arts & Design

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nyc subway | atlantic avenue (2/3/4/5 platform)

07/4/2015

The Atlantic Avenue station is a monster transfer station in Brooklyn, that has been completely renovated in conjunction with the development of the Barclays Center. It actually connects 9 different subway lines, but through a series of connections and different platforms. I only ended up here because I was attempting to ride the D train along the route to Coney Island, forgetting that it was the day of the Mermaid Parade, making the trains an overcrowded mess, so once I hit Pacific Street, I turned around and came home.

(Pacific Street is a station that technically doesn’t exist anymore and is now actually part of the Atlantic Ave complex – there will be a separate entry for the Pacific street platform). I decided to get some fresh air while I was turning around and took some shots of the original headhouse. as well as the shiny new Barclays Center subway entrance. The original headhouse is not used as an entrance anymore and was actually moved from its original location – it’s purely decorative now and is used as a skylight for the station. While this station has been entirely renovated, they have maintained the original (or original style) station mosaics and initial markers on this platform, even when embedding them in more modern surfaces, like glass brick.

Station opened: May 1, 1908
Original system: IRT
Trains: 2/3/4/5
Source/More info: Wikipedia, nycsubway.org

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nyc subway | chambers street and west broadway

07/4/2015

Reports indicate that this station was renovated in 2007-2009, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the deteriorated condition of the wall mosaics. Here the barely visible and water-stained mosaics represent King’s College, which is now known as Columbia University, and which was located downtown in its original incarnation.

Station opened: July 1, 1918
Original system: IRT
Trains: 1/2/3
Source/More info: Wikipedia

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nyc subway | 14th street and 7th avenue

06/25/2015

The 14th Street/7th Avenue IRT line is another “original mosaics/no other appreciable art” platforms. The mosaics themselves are the original trackside “14” tile work, much of which (as you can see from the photos) is fairly water damaged and clearly in need of repair.

The station itself connects via a tunnel to the 6th avenue F/M/L (Ha!) lines, but that’s a later-built connection between the two separate IRT and IND systems, and not a “natural” transfer point. You’re basically walking a full avenue block (about a quarter-mile) underground in order to save the cost of a subway fare. Pics of the 6th avenue line platforms are still to come. The station also apparently had a connection to the 8th avenue A/C/E line at some point in the past, but it’s been gated off and is inaccessible today.

Station opened: July 1, 1918
Original system: IRT
Trains: 1/2/3
Source/More info: Wikipedia, nycsubway.org

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nyc subway | 34th street and 7th avenue

06/6/2015

Continuing on the 1/2/3 line for now, 34th Street advertises itself as connecting to Penn Station, but I’ve always found the A/C/E train over on 8th Avenue to be the more convenient station. Despite the signage here, you’ll be trekking underground for some ways to get into the station itself. Of course, convenience is a matter of degree, and if your coming from somewhere that is along this train line, this station does provide that connection.

There’s a lot of nice tiled sign work in this station, mostly emphasizing the Penn station connection, as well as some raven-related pure artwork. The art itself is part of a collection called “A Bird’s Life” by Elizabeth Grajales, and the description I could find only indicates that it depicts birds nurturing their young. Yet again, I feel like there is something distinctly lacking in the explanation for why these particular panels were chosen for this particular station.

Station opened: June 3, 1917
Original system: IRT
Trains: 1/2/3
Source: Wikipedia

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nyc subway | times square (1/2/3)

05/31/2015

Times Square is a major transfer station. Rather than trying to capture everything at once, I thought I would capture the particular areas on several trips through, which would inevitably happen as I was traveling along various lines anyway. So this set of pics is largely the area around the 1/2/3 platform, although there are a few shots that veer toward the shuttle and the n/r lines, given their proximity. Above ground, Times Square is sometimes referred to as the “Crossroads of the World”, and the subway station beneath is no different. In addition to the lines that are part of this station “proper”, the MTA has built connecting tunnels to additional trains that are actually under the Port Authority, so that you can transfer for free (buy hiking through some very long tunnels) between what were actually different, competing subway systems before the integration of the IRT (Interboro Rapid Transit), BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit) and IND (the city-owned Independent) by the MTA. For a good explanation of the history of the IRT, BMT and IND, see nycsubway.org. (That site also catalogs a significant amount of subway art, including the artists where known, but I will not be deterred from my own project!).

The artwork here brings in several themes that are fairly obvious – there is the theater district, new years eve revelers, and the general tourist-centrism of the area. I particularly like the little light boxes which each have a different aspect of times square (theater, burlesque, restaurants, etc.) in tiny caricature. Probably the most well-known artist to contribute here is Roy Lichtenstein, who created the pop art work near the shuttle platform. One of the many things that 99% of the people streaming through the station don’t stop to notice on their way through the station on a daily basis (including me!).

Station opened: June 3, 1917
Original system: IRT
Trains: 1/2/3
Source: Wikipedia

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nyc subway | west 72nd and broadway

05/23/2015

I had mentioned a few weeks ago a long simmering thought for a photography project, involving shooting all of the stations in the new york city subway system. it’s a daunting task, as there are over 400 stations and hundreds of miles of tracks. But I would not be daunted. I decided to start mapping out a plan, involving doing very small pieces at a time, and only at my leisure. The first bit of business was to switch from a pay-per-ride to an unlimited metrocard, which I was able to do the other day. Today, I picked a train and a direction, taking the 1 train from my neighborhood down to the end of the line at South Ferry, hopping off at every stop to take pictures of the platform, the mosaics, the tracks, and whatever else was of interest. There were a few stations I had to skip thanks to the vagaries of “weekend work” by the MTA (the train was running express from 14th to Chambers today), but it was a good start. I’m going to be posting separate entries for each station, and I’m going to be doing it relatively slowly so that there’s no great influx of posts, but I thought I’d start with where I started, at the West 72nd Street 1/2/3 station.

It’s your typical Saturday holiday weekend tourist crowd, with buskers, idiots pretending to jump on the tracks, and people who don’t understand how to wait for others to get off the train first before they try to board. I’ve always thought the mosaics in this station were relatively abstract, and everything I can find online about them simply refers to them as “mosaic tapestries”, but as I look at them, they start to remind me of the 91st street garden in Riverside Park, with it’s squared off garden in the middle surrounded by a walkway. In any event, that could all be in my head.

Station opened: October 27, 1904 (renovated, including new control house, 2002)
Original system: IRT
Trains: 1/2/3
Source: Wikipedia

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