Public Art – 2nd Avenue Subway

2nd Avenue subway mosaic

I finally got to see the new 2nd Avenue subway! I’ve been waiting for this almost as long as Peggy Olson has! This would be my subway station, if I still lived in New York. It smells new, which is the oddest thing I’ve ever said or thought about the subway. New concrete. It’s airy with a glassed entrance, unlike most other stations, and it has an elevator. I wished I had more time to poke around, but I did take a short, one-stop ride.

The art in some subway stations has fascinated me for years. Here, we have mosaic tile portraits of nearly life-size New Yorkers. I was pleased to note the diversity in the depictions – various professions and demographics. The detail is great, though I prefer the whimsy of the animal and fossil mosaics in the 81st Street station on the C line.

Am I the only one – or was it weird to notice that the closest figure to this gay couple was a nurse in uniform, who was directly looking at them? That juxtaposition struck a wrong note for me because it swooped me right back to the heyday of the AIDS epidemic. Maybe that’s generational, but I still want to say “too soon”. And, I wished a lesbian couple could have been included in addition to the lone gay male couple – if the MTA needed models, we were practically right upstairs!

Nice job on a project only a century or so in the making!