New York’s Transit System & Subway Art
Discover four of New York City’s newest subway stations with the fun and fascinating art decorating them. The stations are unlike others in the City, and so is the art.
- Uncover the history of transit in NYC with your guide
- Discover the results of MTA Arts & Design public arts program
- Learn about the processes and reasons behind the artwork
- Snap photos of mosaic designs that are integrated into the walls of stations throughout the metro system
- Immerse yourself in NYC metro- with live performances filling the subway
The first subway train set off in 1904 from City Hall. Since then, the relationship between New York's subway and artwork has flourished. Initially, the art was mainly for functional and directional reasons, but art has now become an integrated part of subway platforms and mezzanines.
Following the founding of the MTA Arts & Design public arts program in the 1980s, the subway has provided a unique opportunity for artists to showcase their work. Part of this $4.5-billion project was commissioning four world-class artists to create artworks that would enliven the new or renovated stations along the extended Q line.
The art is not limited to the walls of the subway stations and passageways. If you are lucky, you will catch some performance art too. Musicians and puppeteers use the subway stations to entertain riders moving from one subway line to another line, and as a greeting to riders when they enter through the turnstiles. Other musicians use the subway platforms as a stage; and some even put on a show in the subway cars.
Be sure to purchase your individual NYC MetroCard in advance!