I periodically feature some of the public art found in New York City subway stations, a part of the MTA Arts & Design initiative. Today’s post is about one of my favorite subway stations, the Prince Street station. The art at this station is small in scale and easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it, but the more you look, the more there is to discover. The art installation at Prince Street, created by Brooklyn artist Janet Zweig in collaboration with Edward del Rosario, is titled Carrying On. The installation is a frieze which stretches for a total of 1200 feet, including both sides of the platform. It includes 194 characters in all, made of waterjet-cut steel, slate, and marble.
One of the reasons why this art installation is so special is because it is based on photographs the artist took of real New Yorkers. That foundation gives each figure authenticity – you may recognize scenes that you’ve seen on the streets yourself.
Another reason why I love this particular art installation is related to Zweig’s own explanation of the title, Carrying On. Here is that description, as taken from the artist’s website:
The title, Carrying On, is a triple pun. People on the streets of New York are almost always carrying something, sometimes something huge and outlandish. After the 9/11 tragedy in New York, New Yorkers felt that they must carry on with their lives. (The frieze was begun just before 9/11 and finished three years later.) Finally, New Yorkers are notoriously opinionated and lively; they really do “carry on.”
If you ride the New York City subways very often, or for that matter walk the streets for very long, you are likely to see people carrying around large objects. I enjoy finding those individuals in the frieze as well.
How do you get to this frieze? Take the R or the N to the Prince Street Station. Half of the frieze is located on each platform, so you will have the opportunity to explore it regardless of which direction you are traveling.