Even if you live thousands of miles from New York City, you might have seen a bit of news last week about a mysterious thing called "the Second Avenue Subway" - the opening of three new stations that connect the Upper East Side of Manhattan with an existing subway line that already ran from from midtown Manhattan to Brooklyn.
Why was this such a big deal? In short, this was a project that was almost a century in the making. Planning and construction started almost 100 years ago, but was derailed (sorry - couldn't resist) by the Depression, wars, budget crises and any number of factors. About 10 years ago, a plan was approved to finally complete phase one of the project - and construction began. Throughout that period, a 30-plus block stretch of the Upper East Side along Second Avenue - and side streets - were completely ripped up above and below ground.
Scott and I moved into a nearby apartment in 2012, "enjoying" more than four years of constantly changing traffic patterns, street and sidewalk blockages and detours, and construction zones on streets around our building. In the initial months, there were daily explosions as workers continued to blast through bedrock to clear the tunnels. Since we both work from our home office most of the time, this made conference calls interesting. When sirens and whistles sounded - warning that a blast was imminent - Scott would alert people on the other end of the call as to what was going on.
The reward for all of this? As of January 1, it's a whole new world. There are three sparkly new stations - the entrance to one of which is just steps from our front door. We can get to meetings in midtown in 15 minutes, and be in Times Square for a Broadway show in less than 20 minutes - as opposed to the hour-plus journey it might have previously taken via connecting buses and subways.
In addition to clean (so far, at least), well-lit stations with escalators, elevators and wide train platforms, one of the highlights of the new stations is the art that was commissioned for each. If you live here or will visit the city, these stations are worth a visit just to take in the art.
Today, I'm sharing photos of the "gallery" (aka mezzanine) in the the 72nd Street Station. Here's a bit of background on the artist and his work:
And a peek inside the station. If you've ever been on the New York City subway, you will notice that the contrast between the new stations and the typical dark station with narrow stairways and platforms is quite stark.
Click on each tile to see each piece up close and personal.
More to follow in the weeks to come. Where are some of the most unexpected places you have found amazing art?