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The Insider's Connection

Subway Station

The “Brightest” Subway Station – 49th Street

Do you ever notice something aesthetically unusual in New York and wonder about its history? Thousands of commuters pass through the bright orange, open, columnless 49th Street subway station at 7th avenue every day and likely notice – it looks nothing like NYC’s other stations! How did this happen? In the 1970s, the MTA was expanding and funding the enhancement of existing stations that needed an upgrade. The architectural trends at the time were about clean lines, bold colors, and unobstructed spaces and when architect Philip Johnson was commissioned to spearhead the $2.5 million renovation of the 49th Street subway station, he had “cheer” in mind. This is the theater district, and the subway, he thought, was ready for some zest and color. The 49th Street station previously looked similar to most others in New York City – white tiling…

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November 5, 2019

Pocketful of Resistance Art – Tom Otterness’ Life Underground

What do we miss when don’t remain curious? Where are stories hidden in obscure pockets of Manhattan? Whose work tells the story of the City? Whether you’re a New Yorker or a visitor, you’ve probably passed through the 14th Street subway station at 8th avenue. Home to the A, C, E, and L trains, the station spans 2 blocks north and contains an inconspicuous, mystical work of art that thousands of commuters miss each day while staring at our phones. Where did it come from? What’s the point? This subway station was renovated in the 1990s, at which point $200,000–1% of the station renovation budget–was allotted to the commission of a unique project by Arts for Transit. The MTA’s Arts for Transit program commissions permanent public art in MTA-owned transit hubs; Life Underground is among the most famous and widely-publicized…

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June 10, 2019

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