August 15th, 2004

transit

"Riding on a ghost train... well, she keeps on riding, keeps on riding...."

This is a photo from the abandoned 91st Street station on New York's IRT line (the 1/9/2/3 or "red line"):



(I didn't take the photo; full credits are given at the link.)

I still press my nose to the window every time I ride a train past 91st Street, straining to see all the graffiti, the blend of art and disuse. I don't think I'll ever stop being fascinated by it. It symbolizes a lot of things about New York: the rush of progress that leaves so much behind to decay; the huge scope of the graffiti art and the perseverence of the artists; the way everything there somehow sees a second use, even if very few people know that an old subway station is now a sort of graffiti museum. I see that sort of determination to turn available materials to your own purposes as a perfectly natural outgrowth of having millions of people crammed onto a tiny island, and it's central to my concept of New York and being a New Yorker. Not desperation, because you know you'll find what you need, but determination, because it won't come to you unless you go out looking for it. I don't think I can explain it better than that.

nycsubway.org has lots more about that station and other abandoned stations. See also Joseph Brennan's abandoned station page and Forgotten NY.

(posted to my journal, graffitiisart, urban_decay, and abandonedplaces)
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