An elevated train ride through the nocturnal city

Painter Jack Lubin, born in New York in 1907, might be best known as an abstract-style muralist.

Two murals this WPA artist painted in a garment district building were removed by developers in 2011, and a mural he completed in 1956 in the Statler Hotel in Dallas was rediscovered and restored in 2012.

In 1938, he painted this magical nocturne of an elevated train in a noir-ish nighttime New York, capturing the yellow light from inside the train and apartment windows, as well as the blue glow of the sky in a Manhattan that even on a moonless night never goes black.

The painting looks like a dream—what I wouldn’t do to travel back into that scene and experience the screeching and rumbling of an elevated train gliding three stories over the sleepy city!

[Painting: Smithsonian American Art Museum]

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7 Responses to “An elevated train ride through the nocturnal city”

  1. An elevated train ride through the nocturnal city | Real Estate Investing Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate An elevated train ride through the nocturnal city […]

  2. Nocturne (1938), Jack Lubin – This isn't happiness Says:

    […] Nocturne (1938), Jack Lubin […]

  3. Tom B Says:

    Great description of this painting. Even though we live in a different time, the City mood may be the same. Art has changed so much.

  4. Lady G. Says:

    What a wonderful painting! One thing I read about the EL train line from newspaper articles written during the construction of the subway system, was that it created such a sooty mess for the people down below and left a fine layer on everything, their clothes, and hats, awnings. The apartments across the way couldn’t keep their windows open. They found themselves sweeping soot and dust out many times a day.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I’ve read the same thing about all the dust and grime. Apparently wealthy people back then changed clothes multiple times a day in the 19th century, and I’m sure this was one reason why!

  5. The Gilded Age beauty of the Sixth Avenue El | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] week, Ephemeral New York created a post around a moody, magical nocturne of an elevated train on the move in 1938 Manhattan. The artist is Jack Lubin, a WPA painter whose […]

  6. Dave Lippman Says:

    Want to imagine 3rd, 6th, and 2nd Avenues before their Els were demolished?

    Walk up 9th Avenue…most of it did NOT see its real estate replaced.

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