Posts Tagged ‘subway station mosaics’

Old subway sign beauty on a 23rd Street platform

February 17, 2020

You won’t notice them as you descend the grimy stairs into the 23rd Street station.

But once you’re on the platform waiting for your R or W train, the uniqueness of the individual tiles and swirly typeface hits you.

These are the original mosaic tile bands and tablets added to platform walls when this station opened in 1918, per Subway.org.

What is it about the tiles themselves, as well as the curlicue numbers and serif lettering, that are so much more magical than the helvetica signage used in many stations today?

They turn an otherwise drab local station beneath Broadway into a time machine to the early days of the subway system, when architects were brought in to refine and beautify rough, industrial-looking platforms.

This is the station with the beloved hat tiles as well, a recent installation that’s a nod to the area’s history as an entertainment and shopping district.

But there’s just something about the colors and craftwork of those “23” and “23rd Street” tiles that really enchant and delight.

The cherry grove of Delancey Street

January 26, 2009

The uptown side of the Delancey Street F train platform features lots of cherries—three cherry tree murals as well as several smaller cherry mosaics.

cherrysdelancey

So what’s with the cherry motif? Before the Lower East Side became a jam-packed tenement district in the late 1800s, it was farmland owned by James DeLancey, acting colonial governor of New York in the 1750s who staunchly supported the British during the Revolutionary War.

The DeLancey farm supposedly had a cherry grove on what is now Orchard Street. After the war the farm was confiscated and divided up among smaller landowners. Somewhere along the way, the cherry grove met the ax as well.