At first glance, the public art at the 23rd Street Station seems a little unusual. You may fly by on the subway, noticing a series of small hats scattered along the walls of the station platform. But the mosaics at this station are worth a second glance. In fact, I encourage you to get off the train and wander along the platform, looking more closely at each of the hats. The art at this station is called “Memories of 23rd Street,” and the artist is Keith Godard. As you explore the station further, you will discover that each hat is associated with a famous person who lived in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, the neighborhood located above ground from the station.
Here are some of my favorite hats, either because of their design or the people they were associated with. There are many more hats to explore when you visit though! Each hat has identifying information located below it near the bottom of the wall.
This one was really interesting – it’s associated with actress Sarah Bernhardt.
And this one’s physicist Marie Curie’s.
There’s this hat belonging to Harriot Blatch, a famous American suffragist and daughter of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
And this one belonging to Eleanor Roosevelt. I love that she is identified as a humanitarian, rather than just being identified as first lady or President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife.
The feathers on actress Lillie Langtry’s hat are pretty spectacular.
And this is stunt person and journalist Nellie Bly’s hat.
Here is famous artist Winslow Homer’s hat:
This hat belonged to former fire commissioner, Robert Adamson.
Here’s one for Samuel Gompers, the famous labor leader.
And here’s a top hat for Phineas T. Barnum, museum owner and circus entrepreneur.
This is an old fashioned policeman’s hat, belonging to Jake Harnett.
And novelist Henry James’s rather crumpled looking hat.
If you want to visit the station yourself, take the N, R (except late night), or Q (only late night) to 23rd Street. A note of caution – other lines (1, 4, 6, C, and E) also have 23rd Street stations, but those stations are not the same one.