Subway mosaics that supply a little history

I’ve always loved the colorful mosaics that decorate certain subway stations. They give you a local history lesson while you’re waiting for your train—when the mosaics aren’t too grimy, that is.

The Borough Hall stop on the 2 and 3 line features this colonial-looking borough hall building (left).

At Christopher Street, the platform is lined with mosaics of Newgate prison (right), which jutted out into the Hudson around Christopher and West Streets until the 1820s.

Images of Peter Stuyvesant’s Bouwerie (left) adorn Union Square, close to where the original Bouwerie was in the early 19th century.

And of course, there are the train mosaics (right) at Grand Central Terminal, a tribute to railway titan Cornelius Vanderbilt, who opened Grand Central Depot in 1871.

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5 Responses to “Subway mosaics that supply a little history”

  1. RAB Says:

    Don’t forget the beavers on display at Astor Place in honor of John Jacob Astor, who made his fortune in the fur trade:

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Definitely not–they’re among my favorites! Your photo is better than mine though:

  3. eve Says:

    There used to be a great little photo book available at the transit museum, with excellent photos and info on the subway mosaics… borders, station names, panels, all of it wonderful. I cherish my copy!

  4. Kaz Says:

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful close-up, RAB!

  5. A mystery chapel in a Canal Street subway station « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] They’re mini history lessons depicting some hallmark of the area from when the station was built: a noteworthy building, like City Hall, or a tribute to a local industry, such as the locomotives at the Grand Central Station stop. […]

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