Many New Yorkers (and visitors to NYC) rarely travel on the 1 train in the lower part of Manhattan, but there are some real treats on that line for those seeking subway station art. One of my favorite stations is the Houston Street station, home to artist Deborah Brown’s mosaics titled Platform Diving. I love the name of this installation. It plays off of two very different ideas that share common language. On the one hand, the installation stretches along a subway station platform, and it includes platform and subway car images. But platform diving is also an aquatic sport, and the mosaics show these subway station images underwater, with sea creatures floating through the scenes. The blues and greens of the glass tiles create a series of 7 beautiful, serene murals that are worth taking a detour to the station solely to see the art.
Here are some photos of the mosaics. The photos give you a sense of what makes this installation so appealing, but the mosaics are even more special if you get the opportunity to see them in person.
The station also has some good examples of the vintage mosaic tilework that set each station apart during the early decades of the subway system’s existence. In addition to the “Houston” signs featured in the first photo in this post, you can also find these details.
Want to see the Houston Street station subway station’s art for yourself? Regardless of which way you are traveling on the 1 train, you can see part of the installation. The southbound platform is host to 4 of the Platform Diving murals, and the other 3 are located on the northbound platform.