The rebuilding of Lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001, included two major Federally funded transportation-related projects undertaken by the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NYSTMA): The creation of a new transportation hub at Fulton Street, and the construction of a new South Ferry Subway Terminal to replace an antiquated loop station with a short platform.
With the construction of the new South Ferry Subway Terminal, the NYSMTA had an opportunity to commission artwork that not only related to the significant historic location, but was dispersed throughout the entire station. The terminal project required an exceptionally creative response that started during the planning and design phases. Arts for Transit worked in partnership with government and community relations staff to ensure that participation included community and arts professionals in the “outreach to artists” and a competitive selection panel process.
"See it split, see it change" (close-up view pictured at right), the multi-part installation by Doug and Mike Starn, fills the interior of the new South Ferry Subway Terminal concourse. It consists of a large-scale mosaic map showing both current and historic Manhattan, which bridges the past and present importance of the site, 425 fused glass panels illustrating silhouetted trees and an oversized image of a single leaf adapted from photographs.
In its totality, the artwork with its images of map, tree, and leaf depicts the subway as the city’s circulatory system while addressing time, space, the natural, and the manmade. In this way, the artwork speaks to place both literally and metaphorically and provides a timeless aesthetic for the local, national and international transit customers to relate to and enjoy.
The realization of this effort demonstrates the importance of close working partnerships with the community and among agencies so that design and concept meld into a more enjoyable experience for those who use the station.
“See it split, see it change,” by Doug and Mike Starn. An oversized image of a single leaf adapted from photographs and a large scale mosaic map showing both current and historic Manhattan.
"See it split, see it change” by Doug and Mike Starn. In the foreground of this photo is a laser-cut stainless steel fence featuring a tree motif.
*Special thanks to Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts for Transit and Facilities Design, for assistance with this profile.