The Art of the Second Avenue Subway (72nd St Station)

The day that thousands of Upper East Side NYC residents have been waiting for is finally here! January 1st, 2017 marked the opening of the Second Avenue Subway line. For those of you who did not know, an initial project idea was introduced in 1929 and failed to go through several times during the course of the 20th century. Phase 1 had finally been commenced in 2007 which means it took about 10 years for it to be completed. Four new stations have been built up until now: 63rd, 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets. I happened to live close to the 72nd St station and what I can tell by far – this is one of the coolest stations in an entire New York City! Let me take you on a tour and show you what’s inside.

As expected, the station is very modern looking and what I’ve heard so far, it is one of the most ambitious contemporary art projects that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has ever undertaken. At the beginning of 2009, 4 out of 300 artists around the world were selected to transform the stations into their own installations. I used the 72nd St station today for the first time and took some photos there.

The work featured in 72nd St station is by Brazilian artists Vik Muniz who lives between New York City and Rio de Janeiro.

“Perfect Strangers” is the collection of life size portraits of people waiting for a train. Mosaics were created based on staged photographs of people that Vik Muniz knows in real life. Let’s take a look:

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As you enter the first underground level, vast vestibule opens up with majority of art pieces located on perimeter:

A lady got inspired and makes a drawing of the figures:

Mr. Muniz’s son, 26 years old Gaspar, was posing for his father dressed up as a Times Square mascot:

As we all know, you can meet celebrities in NYC subway from tie to time. Waris Ahluwalia is featured in this series:

A nurse and a gay couple holding hands:

Stairs to the train platforms:

Policeman with an ice cream:

Mr. Muniz himself in a comic scene loosing documents from his briefcase:

Famous restaurateur Daniel Boulud, holding a bag with a fish tail sticking out and a lady dressed in traditional Indian clothe:

And of course an iconic NYC saxophonist:

If these art works don’t wow you then I don’t know what does because they are fantastic and represent New Yorkers so well.

“In the subway you really don’t end up remembering anything but the people,” Mr. Muniz said. “You remember the characters, and you make up stories about them.”

Next week I’ll try to travel a bit up north and see how the rest of the new stations look and hopefully will make another post.

Have a great day everyone and see you soon! 🙂

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