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Art Galleries in New York's Subway

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by Dora Bona (subscribe)
A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at
Published February 16th 2011
The mosaic artworks and sculptures adorning the walls, floors and ceilings of the New York Subway system are remarkable works of creative expression. In all shapes and sizes the art consists of murals of glass, ceramic or stone mosaic. You'll see stained glass windows and walls, conceptual art and installation art. Some will stop you in your tracks. Most are a photographer's delight. All will reflect the vibrant, eclectic, societal melting pot that is New York City.

In 1985, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began the Arts For Transit Program. The idea was to create specific works of art in the subways of New York, that reflected the individual communities around them. Some well known, and some unknown artists in and around New York were commissioned to create them, and in the 25 years since it began, the program has seen hundreds of amazing artworks appear in almost every subway station.


Ocular", made in 1998 is the artwork you'll see all over the Chambers Street/World Trade Centre subway station. Created by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, there are around 300 mosaic eyes, based on photographs of actual human eyes.


Revelers" completed in 2008 by artist Jane Dickson, is a collection of around 60 mosaics of people blowing party horns, wearing party hats and celebrating life along the walls of the passageway from Times Square to Port Authority.

An entire underground zoo

One of the most spectacular stations is the 81st Street subway at The Museum of Natural History. It celebrates the exhibits in the museum by hosting an array of giant marching ants, exotic tropical frogs, komodo dragons and other strange reptiles, hanging bats and huge ladybugs, just to name a few.

"Alligator emerges from sewer"

On the 14th Street subway station at 8th Avenue you'll be rendered speechless by the sculptures of Tom Otterness, in an ensemble called "Life Underground".

As an amateur photographer, and freelance writer, my brain suffers creative overload every time I visit New York. I can't adequately describe my love for the city, (who can?) so I try to capture and document it visually. The subway art lifts my heart, so if you haven't really taken much notice then just spend a day riding the subways. You won't be disappointed.
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Why? Because it will lift your heart
When: all day every day
Where: New York City
Cost: Subway fare
I love Jane Dickson's work and I love this piece! Great work! It makes me want to go underground and check out more art!
By Joann Jovinelly - senior writer
Friday, 18th of February @ 03:41 pm
I have photographed a lot of it too, it's quite amazing and an important part of Manhattan culture.
By sherr22 - reader
Wednesday, 13th of April @ 05:33 am
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