The New York City subway houses more than just hungry rats. There’s a whole world of elegant mosaics and other art underneath the streets—and Adam Chang is paying it extensive tribute. The freelance art director has been documenting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s mosaic signs that have marked subway platforms throughout the years.
By mid-2014, the NY Train Project had covered much of Manhattan. As of yesterday, Chang completed his catalog of Brooklyn stations as well, adding 157 signs to the map and bringing the total up to 276 stations. Next stops: the Bronx and Queens.
The 125th Street 4/5/6 station
You can explore the map by borough or by subway line. And while not all the art is beautiful (some of the Brooklyn stations don’t have mosaics, just black-and-white signage), each subway stop includes a piece of trivia about the station. For instance, the Prospect Park Q stop used to be the closest stop to the stadium where the Brooklyn Dodgers played and Grand Central’s subway station was once known as Diagonal Station. Some stations are even on the National Register of Historic Places (though that probably has more to do with a lack of infrastructure updates than the city’s desire to maintain its history).
The East Broadway station on the F line has a locked door that was designed to lead to a future line that was never built.
Chang isn’t the first to try to catalog the MTA’s underground art. Philip Ashforth Coppola has been detailing the beauty of subway mosaics in line drawings since 1978. But these days, the MTA is more into large-scale art than mosaics, like the Fulton Street station’s massive skylight atrium that opened last year.
Some unusual space art at the Crown Heights-Utica Avenue station.
See all of Chang's subway art recreations here.
All images by Adam Chang / NY Train Project