Art & Travel

Usually I avoid the subway like the plague. Because there’s always the chance I’ll catch that instead of the 6 train. But this past week when a massive storm whipped and watered a path up the east coast, there was no way of avoiding the petri dish of passage between home and The Frick. Except that on Q – as luck would have it – there was a sparkling new $4.5 billion carriageway that not only offered immaculate physical transportation, but a little artistry as well.

The second avenue subway is part of New York folk law – that’s how long this new track work has been in the making. Since 1919 there have been plans, politics, delays, and controversies. Most recently, or least in the past 10 years, underground blasting ahead of giant machinery boring 50 feet a day through solid rock has caused chaos for residents and shops along the construction corridor, with many leaving or going out of business. There have been lawsuits and laments, and enough dust to create a medical condition known as the ‘second avenue cough’. But now that all that is settled, the bitter sweet transformation is history, and three new subway stations have become a destination not only for commuters, but also for art lovers.

Cavernous galleries in the NYC subway have been inspiring and distracting strap hangers for years. Now there is something new with the mosaics of artists permanently exhibiting at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets. Characters typical of the 1.6 million daily commuters in NYC are ingrained in the long walkways above the tracks, where they are as entertaining in situ as they are in real life. I managed to see two out of three galleries but swinging by the 96th street terminal would have meant waiting for another train, and the last one took almost a century to arrive…



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12 Responses to Art & Travel

  1. Cathy says:

    Amazing art works. At first I thought these were photographs, until the second shots and you see the mosaic work. Congratulations to the artist.

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Hi, I have just returned from a short break in NYC. MY brother brought your blog to my attention and I wanted to thank you so much for all your fun information about places like Dough where I ate a delicious salted caramel chocolate doughnut the size of my own head which was so fresh and insanely delicious I just had to sit for a while to take it all in.
    Also the info regarding the Waldorf was wonderful. My friend and I followed your lead and wandered around taking snaps for a while – no one questioned us although at one point we nearly ended up in a conference!!
    Thanks so much. I am back to NYC in Dec and will be reading all your recommendations during the year.

    • Yes – those salted caramel chocolate doughnuts from Dough are the best! Good for you in going to the Waldorf – it’s amazing how far you can get by following your curiosity and if anyone stops you, you have your Australian accent to get you out of trouble. Have fun and happy planning for the next trip!

  3. Chrissy Hirst says:

    Love the integration of the lice kids with ball Gabrielle!! Lovely work !!

  4. phantom,SunnyCoast says:

    WoW..One would have to smile using this subway.

  5. Terry Lee says:

    Hi Gabrielle,

    This is refreshing to view amid all the other news emanating from the United States of late. The artistry is creative, imaginative, cheerful and uncomplicated. How could it not bring a smile to Commuters and Visitors alike? Of course it would! Hopefully, it won’t be smeared with graffiti of a different kind. You wouldn’t mind missing your train in order just to appreciate the artworks.

    Here in the Mallee/Wimmera country of Victoria we have underway a Grain Silos Mural Trail. A Google search of Silo Murals Trail will call them up. But, to be brief: six commissioned Artists are painting huge murals on Silos. Three have been completed, another one to be painted in March and the final two later in the year. The Trail will run for about 200 kms. Already wonderful works have been completed in the tiny villages of Sheep Hills (near Warracknabeal), Brim and Patchewollock. These places you’d ordinarily never visit or just pass through. Now they have these remarkable depictions of rural and indigenous life. The murals have given a boon to these earnest and unobtrusive places in the best possible essences. Both what you have shown in NYC, and what we are seeing in rural western Victoria, are examples of public art for the sheer pleasure of making people glad, when the world is often an untidy and melancholic place.

    With kindest regards.

    Terry Lee
    Kerang Victoria (Australia)

    • Well put Terry. Yes, the world is often an untidy and melancholic place, and art can do wonders to lift our spirits. I have seen pictures of these silos on the ABC news/website and I think they are brilliant. When I think of the silos looming out of the landscape in Tumby Bay and what a marvelous canvas they would be for art, it helps to appreciate the innovation of the people behind the Mural Trail. I hope I get to be on the Trail in person before long. In the meanwhile thank you for being in touch, it is always good to hear from you and find myself – mid NYC – surrounded by the beauty of the Australian bush.

  6. Alicia Lakin says:

    Hey Gabrielle, am proud of your achievements and follow you on ABC radio. Am an old pony clubber from the EMU pony club Cummins. Have just come across a pic of Geraldine in 1960’s
    also in pic is Dan Fitzgerald senior. did not know how else to contact you, would not chat on radio Cheers

  7. Amanda says:

    Great snaps as always! Cant wait to get there. Amanda

  8. Good pictures, my happy pixels!! Interesting post!

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