Subway architects: Part I

Monday, March 19th, 2007 | All Things, Events, NYC History

At the opening reception for the Transit Museum’s newest exhibition: “Architects of the New York City Subway Part I: Heins & LaFarge and the Tradition of Great Public Work” — on view at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex in Grand Central through July 8, 2007.

Between 1901 and 1908, New York-based Heins & LaFarge — the architects behind the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and the original six buildings of the Bronx Zoo — beautified the stations of the city’s first subway system: the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. The team designed underground and elevated stations, entry kiosks, and control houses; some of their handiwork remains familiar to current riders, including the subway station entrances at Sherman Square (Broadway/72nd Street) and at Astor Place (both 1904), Brooklyn’s Borough Hall station at Joralemon and Court Streets (1908), and the original IRT City Hall station (1904), closed since 1945.

Relics from that most legendary of the city’s subway stations were on display, as were original architectural drawings (on paper and linen), station objects, archival images, and contemporary photographs.  Most interestingly, a good portion of the (admittedly, cramped) space was devoted to the ceramic firms that supplied the architects’ stations, showcasing examples of early subway plaques, some of which can still be found in stations today.

Bronx Zoo Tiles

City Hall Station relics

Transit Museum Tiles

Transit Museum Tiles

Transit Museum Tiles

The second part of the exhibit, “Squire Vickers and the Subway’s Modern Age,” will go on view at the Annex July 30 through October 28, 2007.

There are 2 Comments ... Subway architects: Part I

April 4, 2007

Have you ever been to the Transit Museum in Brooklyn?

April 4, 2007

Never, but soon. I joined primarily to be able to participate in the members-only tours of the Old City Hall Station (though I missed the last round.)

Go for it ...