The ships of the Fulton Street subway station

The city owes its success to the waterfront. No wonder the Fulton Street subway station (currently being renovated into the Fulton Street Transit Center) pays homage to New York’s maritime past with these mosaics and murals.


It is the Fulton Street station, named after Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat. Makes since, then, that circa-1905 bas reliefs of the Clermont, the first steamboat, decorate the IRT 4 and 5 train platform.


Murals installed along the station’s corridors also celebrate the city’s waterways and ships, like the mighty ocean liner the Mauretania, above, or the Fall River Line steamboat Commonwealth, below.


Originally created in 1913, they were displayed in the popular Marine Grill basement restaurant of the once-impressive McAlpin Hotel on 34th Street.

When the hotel was being renovated into apartments in the 1990s, the murals were headed for a landfill. Preservationists rescued six at the last minute, and they were reassembled at Fulton Street by the MTA in 2000.

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8 Responses to “The ships of the Fulton Street subway station”

  1. brulionman Says:

    I thought only Moscow has metro stations so decorated, nice to see similar things in NY

  2. wendy Says:

    What a wonderful save! I love that last one.

  3. exhibitingnyc Says:

    The subway mosaics always make the commute a bit more enjoyable. These are great. Love when they are themed based on the stop. The New Year’s Eve revelers at Time Square are a personal fave.

  4. exhibitingnyc Says:

    Reblogged this on Exhibiting New York and commented:
    Love this post by Ephemeral New York. A reminder that you don’t need to pay admission to see some charming artwork in New York.

  5. Beautiful sailing ships at the South Ferry station | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Ceramic plaques like these were installed in the earliest stations. Each plaque reflects something about the station’s neighborhood or history: a sloop for South Ferry, a beaver at Astor Place, a steamboat at Fulton Street. […]

  6. The sailing ships of the Columbus Circle subway | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] subway stops celebrate all kinds of nautical images—like at Fulton Street, where Robert Fulton’s steamboat is immortalized on the platform of the 4 and 5 […]

  7. The FiDiaries: Getting Lunch Down to a Science (When Not Pitching to Clients) | Knotel Says:

    […] platform make me so happy. I secretly swoon over the preserved 110-year-old tile-work trim and an original steamboat mosaic by Robert Fulton himself. It’s no wonder the station is a registered NYC landmark; just check out the entrance at […]

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