Subway art. Really, it can be anything from the graffiti scribbles of bored drunk people waiting for the train to commissioned pieces. And, it’s like a free interactive museum all over the city.
The A/C line seems to have more than its fair share of commissioned public art, both underground and above. For the full tour start out at 14th Street in Manhattan. Life Underground by Tom Otterness has been in the station since 2001. If you take the time to meander about the platforms and look, instead of the usual rush from one train to another, you’ll notice that the little bronze statues are all over the station (on the L train platform as well), doing different things.
From there, take the A or C downtown and jump off at Chambers Street check out the mosaics, if you’re into tile art, and then continue into Brooklyn.
Get off at High Street and walk over to Cadman Plaza Park to see Well, a sculpture made out of acrylic and salvaged wood. Then, walk over to Metrotech for another Otterness piece, Visionary, plus the several larger works that make up A Promise is a Cloud. You’ll see the sculptures as you walk around. While you’re looking at the Otterness piece, turn to look at the map that’s near it. Right above it you’ll see The Struggle Continues, a Flash animation.
The next stop is just a few blocks off the C train at Lafayette Avenue, or you can walk there from Metrotech by crossing Flatbush and walking up Myrtle. Near the entrance to Fort Greene Park on Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park, you’ll find three sculptures, Ancient, Goatie Boy, and Goat as Wolf, which are cast in aluminum and originally made in reclaimed Styrofoam.
At this point you can stroll over to BAM or the Greenlight Bookstore for another cultural experience, or, grab a cup of coffee at Smooch, just a few blocks away, and then relax in the park–it’s own piece of public art. Of course, if you’re looking for something more underground, you can hop back on the train–you’ve just got to keep your eyes open. As you walk through stations and on the street, just watch for it. It’s there.