New York Opens Art-Filled $4.5 Billion Second Avenue Subway Line

(Office of Governor Cuomo via Flickr)
  • Work by Chuck Close at opening of 86th Street Station.

    Work by Chuck Close at opening of 86th Street Station.

    Office of Governor Cuomo via Flickr

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo debuted Manhattan's new Second Avenue Subway station at 86th Street on January 1 - and it's part of a new transportation line full of world-class art.

"In many way, this is a remarkable New York story. It started 100 years ago – 1920 – when an engineer for the MTA said, 'I have an idea – we should build a Second Avenue Subway,'" explained Cuomo on opening day. It took a century and 2,000 people to eventually build the new line servicing the heavily traveled East Side of Manhattan.

With the completion of the $4.5 billion first phase, the city’s Q line has three new stations, extending to 96th Street, and including an existing station at 63rd Street.

Inside is a veritable art trove of works by the likes of Jean Shin, Chuck Close, Vik Muniz, and Sarah Sze.

Shin's "Elevated" series at the 63rd Street stop shows a bit of New York transit history. Close has 12 of his signature portraits at the 86th Street Station. Sze made “Blueprint for a Landscape,” with 4,300 porcelain tiles, at the 96th Street Station. For the 72nd Street Station, Muniz made a mosaic tile series “Perfect Strangers" showing the diversity of New Yorkers.

Said Cuomo: "The design of it is special and the artwork is special. The aggressive use of public art all throughout the MTA system, all throughout everything we've built. Why? Because the dream is, even if a child is never brought to a museum, just living in New York State that child will be exposed to art that will trigger his or her imagination and creativity, just going through their daily experiences. And more and more you see that, especially in these trains and in these stations, and they are all different and they are all beautiful and they are all worth seeing."

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