Subway Station Art – 14th Street/8th Avenue Station

New York City is home to countless examples of great public art, with many exhibitions located in subway stations. And this art is free to view – assuming that you are traveling by subway. I’ve always enjoyed glimpses of the mosaics and sculptures scattered throughout many of the subway stations in the city, but more recently I’ve started viewing the subway stations as a destination in themselves, miniature art museums, rather than just transportation hubs. As I’ve done so, I’ve been able to learn even more about the public art offerings in New York City.

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The 14th Street/8th Avenue Station is one such destination, containing a large collection of bronze sculptures by artist Tom Otterness, collectively titled “Life Underground.” Some of the sculptures are easy to find, but others require a little more effort. The more you explore the station, the more unique sculptures you will find – some in the most unexpected of places! Check high and low, behind and underneath. You’ll be rewarded for your explorations.

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I found this fun sculpture underneath the stairs on the A/C/E platform. Thankfully, they can’t really saw through the pillar!

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You may have heard the mythological accounts of alligators in the New York City sewers. There are several sculptures like this one, referencing that famous myth.

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Here are a few more examples of the sculptures located on the A/C/E platforms.

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The stairways and ramps between the mezzanine level and the L platform provide opportunities to discover additional sculptures, so make sure you explore all platforms and the mezzanine level in the station. One of my favorite pieces is this one, hanging above the ramp to the L platform. Here’s both the full view and a close-up of that sculpture.

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Here are two more sculptures from the L platform, although there are still many more for you to discover if you visit!

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Want to see these intriguing sculptures for yourself? You can reach the 14th Street/8th Avenue Station on the A, C, E, and L trains. Once you’re done touring the station, Chelsea Market and the High Line are close by, as well as the NYC neighborhoods of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.

Subway Station Art – American Museum of Natural History

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Sometimes a museum may be your ultimate destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the journey. That’s definitely the case with the American Museum of Natural History, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If you travel to the museum by train, you will experience an additional treat – subway art with a natural history theme. The 81st Street-Museum of Natural History subway station is filled with mosaics of various animals and insects, floor tiles with various prehistoric native symbols and sea creatures, and replicas of fossilized bones. Titled For Want of a Nail, the subway art installation is meant to represent the evolution of life.

You’ll find the glass tile mosaics on the northbound platform level and as you enter and exit the subway station. (There are multiple entrances to this subway station, and each one has unique mosaics.) Here are a few of my favorites:

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To reach the southbound level, you descend another set of stairs to the lower level. Here, there is a beautiful ceramic tile mosaic of the planets and constellations.

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There is also the bronze replicas of fossilized bones, guaranteed to intrigue dinosaur hunters young and old (and inviting visitors to touch as well!)

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How do you get the the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History Station? Depending on the time of day, you can take either the B train or C train. Verify train times on the MTA website, where you can also plan trips to and from specific addresses, landmarks, and subway stations. This is definitely a subway station not to be missed!

Exploring Chelsea Market

DSC00788_editedThere’s something I love about Chelsea Market. Located in New York City’s Meatpacking District, it’s housed in an old brick National Biscuit Company building that spans a full city block. The Market is full of interesting old architectural details, as well as a variety of food establishments and small shops. It can be a lot of fun to explore, but I avoid it on the weekends. Out-of-town visitors flock to Chelsea Market on the weekends, making it almost impossible to appreciate the variety of things the Market has to offer. I prefer going on weekdays, primarily Monday through Thursday. Chelsea Market is much quieter early in the day, but there are some restaurants that may be better enjoyed in the afternoon and evening.

When I went to Chelsea Market last week, the Market had just been decorated for Halloween. If you have the chance to visit this month, I recommend it–the decorations are really fun! Here’s a sampling of what I saw:

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One of the main reasons people go to Chelsea Market is for the variety of delicious food options, from vegan sushi (yes, that’s a thing!) to lobsters, and everything in between. Here are a few of my favorites (although not a complete list). First, I love the cookies at Eleni’s New York. Not only are the cookies delicious, but they also make great gifts! Right now, they have some fun Halloween-themed cookies in the store, but they always have their New York City-themed cookies as well.

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Another favorite: The Lobster Place. In part, the Lobster Place is a seafood market, where you can buy fresh seafood to prepare at home. But it is so much more. There’s a walk-up window where you can buy lobster rolls (or even complete picnics for the High Line), associated with the Lobster Place’s restaurant, the Cull & Pistol (more on that restaurant coming in another post). Most popular with visitors, however, are the whole lobsters cooked fresh to order. The market is jammed full of people standing at tall tables while they tackle their lobster lunch or dinner.

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And I have to admit that I love the fresh doughnuts from the Doughnuttery, especially paired with the coffee from Ninth Street Espresso. At the Doughnuttery, you can have your hot doughnuts tossed in a variety of flavored sugars. My current favorites: Cacaoboy (flavored with cacao nibs, chocolate cookies, and mesquite), and Purple Pig (flavored with maple, purple potatoes, and bacon). The mini doughnuts go well with Ninth Street Espresso’s rich, complex coffee, which is less acidic than the leading chain coffee store’s coffee. Together, they make a great snack for a walk on the High Line.

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Chelsea Market also has some other great shops. I enjoyed exploring the Chelsea Wine Vault, although the last time I was there it was a bit early to taste wine. They offer some intriguing tasting events and special classes about wine–I may have to check one out some time. If you want a bottle of wine chilled, they can have it ready for you in only 4 minutes.

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There’s also this gorgeous flower shop in the middle of Chelsea Market, associated with Mrs. Bloom’s Mobile.

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Visually, the little shop Spices and Tease always draws me in, with its vibrant display of spices and teas.

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Finally, Chelsea Market also has it’s own outpost of Artists & Fleas–but I’ll talk more about that in my next post!

Tips for getting to Chelsea Market: Like pretty much anything in Manhattan, the best way to get to Chelsea Market (and the most cost-effective way) is by public transportation. You can take the A, C, or E to the 14th Street station, or the L to the 8th Avenue Station (these two stations are actually connected). From there, it is only a couple of blocks to Chelsea Market. There’s also one added benefit to taking the subway there. There’s a really interesting art installation in the subway station by artist Tom Otterness called “Life Underground.” The small bronze sculptures are scattered throughout the station, and you may find them in unusual places. Here are a couple of photographs of my favorites.

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