Air Break, 2008. Photo by Stephen Mallon.
By now you may have seen Stephen Mallon’s mind-bending photo series showing thousands of decommissioned NYC subway cars being tossed into the Atlantic Ocean. The MTA initiative was undertaken more than 10 years ago with the goal of creating artificial reefs that would support sea life along the eastern seabed. The amazing photo series, briefly on view at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries, documented the train cars being heaved into the briny deep from Delaware to South Carolina over three years. Now, a new exhibit, “Sea Train: Subway Reef Photos by Stephen Mallon,” opening March 20th at the New York Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery, features 19 large-format photographs that capture the iconic subway cars, dropped like toy trains from hulking barges as they’re being deployed as sea-life-sustaining artificial reefs,
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New York is home to world-class institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, and MoMA. But this city’s museum scene has more to offer than just the Temple of Dendur—in fact, it’s full of smaller, way funkier spots serving up found art, oddities, and history, including the history of this ever-odd city itself. Here are 10 of our favorites.
Via Victoria Pickering on Flickr
Feeling whimsical? Holiday Nostalgia rides are back this season, with vintage train cars and buses replacing regular service through New Year’s. The New York Transit Museum invites New Yorkers and visitors alike to celebrate the magic of the city during the holidays with train rides that run along the F line from 6th Avenue to 47th-50th-Rockefeller Center, with stops at stations like Columbus Circle and 125th Street, all spots known for being major holiday shopping centers.
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Photo by Marc Hermann, courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
Concetta Anne Bencivenga wants you to visit the New York Transit Museum. After coming on as the museum’s director early last year — following Gabrielle Shubert’s impressive 24-year run — she’s become “cheerleader in chief,” in her own words, excited to promote the museum’s exhibits and programming to a wide range of New Yorkers.
With 6sqft she discusses how her diverse background brought her to the Transit Museum and what the past of New York’s public transportation can teach us about moving forward. She also talks about the revamp of an existing exhibit, the introduction of new ones, and her goals moving forward as director. Do you know why the MTA subway system is featured so prominently in early comic books? Keep reading, as Concetta shares the reasons why public transit is so crucial to New Yorkers lives — in both the obvious and more surprising ways.
Image via New York Transit Museum
Is there anything more dad-approved than trains and tattoos to celebrate Father’s Day? Not much! This weekend, celebrate with pop at the New York Transit Museum’s 4th Annual Parade of Trains. Hop on and off six different types of vintage train cars, including the oldest train cars in the Transit Museum fleet, dating from 1904.
Visitors can also stop by the museum’s membership station to get a super cool, Father’s Day temporary transit tattoo while learning more about the New York Transit Museum’s ongoing exhibits. The event takes place Saturday (6/16) and Sunday (6/17) from 11 am to 4 pm at the Brighton Beach (B/Q) station. The Parade of Trains shuttle rides are free with the swipe of a MetroCard and will run continuously to and from the Brighton Beach station B/Q platforms.
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Shelly Place, an agent with Triplemint, describes Boerum Hill as “the perfect blend of old and new. Geographically, it is smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn, convenient to downtown [Manhattan], and close enough without being in the middle of the hustle and bustle. You can go days or weeks without ever leaving Boerum Hill but, if you want, you have the rest Brooklyn right there.”
Known for tree-lined streets filled with historic brownstones, Boerum Hill is one of those unique neighborhoods that has successfully blended past and present in a way few communities have been able to. There are a ton of great restaurants and creative cocktail lounges and independent specialty stores alongside the big brands, like Apple, Whole Foods’ 365, and Lululemon, lining Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue. And with a slew of new contextual developments springing up, it’s time to turn your attention to the buzz on Boerum Hill.
Everything you need to know about Boerum Hill
Via NY Transit Museum
Before the Woodlawn station opened a century ago, the surrounding area of Norwood in the Bronx was mostly rural with lots of farmland. While residential development began with the opening of the Woodlawn Cemetery, the neighborhood’s transformation really took off when the subway was extended to reach this part of the city. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first train pulling into the northern terminal of the IRT Jerome Avenue Line, the New York Transit Museum is giving guests the chance to travel on World War I-era cars to relive this important part of subway history.
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6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. This week’s installment comes courtesy of a new exhibit at the Transit Museum, “Deconstruction of the Third Avenue El: Photographs by Sid Kaplan.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
After the city consolidated its underground subway lines in 1942 (they were previously owned by private companies), fewer New Yorkers were riding the elevated lines. This decreased ridership, along with the fact that the Els ate up valuable street-level real estate and created dangerous dark spaces, led to the city taking down the Second Avenue Elevated line in 1942. In 1955, the Third Avenue Elevated came down as well, catching the eye of a then 17-year-old Sid Kaplan, whose photos of the dismantling are currently on display at the Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery Annex. The museum tells us, “From his perch on the roof of an apartment building, or leaning out the window of an office, his images capture a unique perspective of the removal of a hulking steel structure, the hard-working people who dismantled it, and the ever-changing landscape of New York City.”
More on the El history, Sid’s work, and all the amazing photos
In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your way to a fulfilling life. Ahead Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer shares her top picks for 6sqft readers!
Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day around the corner, and Times Square is proving that Love Trumps Hate with a day of weddings, engagements and of course public art. Brookfield Place is celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year with a site specific installation by Amy Kao, and the New York Transit Museum is celebrating the long-awaited opening of the Second Avenue Subway. The Center for Architecture is highlighting 20 talented African American Architects, and there’s a 6,000-pound ice spectacle to be found in Central Park. More details on these events and a flurry of others ahead.
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Via *Bitch Cakes*/Flickr
Regardless of your faith, the holidays in New York City are a one-of-a-kind experience that many of us look forward to all year. For die-hard New Yorkers, it’s not so much about the big attractions, but the smaller festivities that show the spirit of the city. Here at 6sqft, one of our favorites is the MTA’s and New York Transit Museum’s Nostalgia Trains. According to Gothamist, this year, they’re rolling out eight subway cars from the 1930s to ’70s and vintage buses from the 1940s to ’80s, so holiday shoppers and history enthusiasts alike can revel in a little old-school charm.
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