Sunday, April 3

The New Mosaics

Frank Leslie Hampton, ”Uptown New York” at the Tremont Avenue station (B, D).
"YOU’VE felt the heat already. New York City’s 722 miles of subways are among the dirtiest, hottest and most woebegone in the country. Other, newer systems are cleaner, cooler and run better. I notice decor a great deal, though, and… ... What makes New York City’s stations stand apart is the overwhelming use of tile and mosaics, initiated by subway art director/engineer Squire Vickers in the 1910s, at the end of the Arts and Crafts era, and continued by him into the 1930s, with the IND’s precise Machine Age graphics. After Vickers was gone, the subways seemed rootless, with a wide variety of different schemes, some effective, some not. In recent years, the MTA has restored much of Vickers’ work, especially along the BMT Broadway line, and new mosaic installations have appeared that seem to extrapolate Vickers’ ethos, adapting it to a more playful, innovative age, with additional colors and images. ..."
Forgotten New York