Best Subway Station Art (2008)

Sunset Park's 36th Street N/R station

The wave of public art installed in the subway system over the past few years has turned some lines into a virtual Armory Show. Our favorite: the mosaics in Sunset Park's 36th Street N/R station. Owen Smith's An Underground Movement: Designers, Builders, Riders consists of five panels illustrating the creation of the subway. With imagery evoking the 1930s, the three main panels depict engineers designing a subway line, construction workers excavating the tunnel, and New Yorkers riding the train. Two smaller panels greet you above the outbound and inbound stairs, illustrating the allures of Brooklyn (house stoops, Coney Island) and Manhattan (showgirls, tickertape). Beautifully intricate, they recall Thomas Hart Benton's fluid lines and all-American types combined with Diego Rivera's strong, industrial imagery.


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