New York subway art: Delancey Street mosaics

Mosaic art in the Delancey Street subway station, New York City (photo by Sheila Scarborough)Most people might not expect an artistic experience in a gritty urban subway station (other than perhaps encountering a really talented street musician playing in the great acoustics) but thanks to active promotion of public art by the New York MTA, there are plenty of colorful underground delights to see.

One of them is this giant fish mosaic at the Delancey Street station (F line) and even though I was surprised by its size and intricacy, I was not surprised to find a mosaic there.

One of my blogging friends, GrrlScientist, has been photographing and documenting this artwork for a long time.  She periodically sends submissions to my Carnival of Cities blog carnival – her posts depict the huge variety of mosaic tile subway art in the MTA system. Thanks to her, I knew to look for it when I was in New York doing some work for the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.

A little digging taught me that the photo above is more formally known as “Shad Crossing” by artist Ming Fay; it was completed in 2004. It represents the local shad fish that swim upriver in springtime, and also the immigrants who come across oceans to live in this part of Manhattan’s Lower East Side and make a new life in America.

Another Ming Fay mosaic in the station beautifully depicts a lush cherry orchard; today’s Orchard Street, near Delancey, used to be an orchard on the Delancey family farm.

Do you have any favorite subway art or architecture in your city?

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