Tuesday, November 10, 2009

my favorite stop

I hopped off the N train the other day just to take some photos for you.

Oh ok, maybe I did it for me, too. This is my favorite stop in the subway system, and I don't get to admire it much anymore. (Once upon a time I worked in the Flatiron Building, which is just upstairs from this station, so I visited it much more often than I do now.)


The walls of both the uptown and downtown stop are lined with mosaic hats.

Here's a quote from the MTA Arts for Transit website about the work:

"From the 1880s through the 1920s, 23rd Street was a major vaudeville, entertainment, and cultural district, and 'Ladies Mile,' the fashion and department store haven of the time, was located nearby. In his mosaic Memories of 23rd Street, Keith Godard represents the area through the various hats they might have worn."

The hats are all at different heights. Here's one that's especially far from the floor:


Why? Well, take a close look at the plaque below it:


I would imagine that Mr. Barnum was very tall. And why do I say that? Take a look at the hat next to it, which is very close to the floor. Click the photo to see whose hat it is:


(If you can't read the type, it says "Tiny Tim.")

I love the glass tiles used in the mosaics. They have a rippled surface that reflects the light in a fascinating way, and the colors themselves are incredibly clear and vibrant.

It's fun to stroll up and down the platform imagining the people who wore these hats. I have a few favorites, but I'll let you admire them and pick your own:




green





beret
beret
tophat



There are many more, but unfortunately the next train arrived and I needed to leave.

Which is your favorite?

19 comments:

  1. Oh I love it!! I love hats and I love whimsy. Perfect!

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  2. I rather like the hat with the feather in it, the one below the photo of the hat with a red bow. They all look lovely.

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  3. Don't you just love public art when it is done properly.

    Brilliant.

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  4. My absolute favorite holiday destination is NYC and we venture just about anywhere in this great city. I have not as yet caught the N train, but have taken note for next time. The hat mosaics are wonderful!! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Kathy8:08 AM

    Such a wonderful post! I especially like your glimpse of the city posts. It makes me miss NYC.

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  6. Laura James8:24 AM

    I would stand under one and have my picture taken..would love to do this with the whole family.

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  7. I love this stop too. I think my favorite of the hats is the basic boater, although there is also a fantastic over-the-top ladies hat, maybe across the platform, with feathers and ribbons that so vividly evokes the wearer. I also love up by the Museum of Natural History, with the animals and dino bones.

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  8. Teresa11:23 AM

    How fun! Wished I lived closer! I fancy the one with the red bow!

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  9. Well, the Bing Crosby hat at the last just caught my eye - love that one. But, the red one with the detailed photos you took is probably a 'top' hat of mine, too.

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  10. It's also cool when you are in a passing train and see people standing on the platform. Sometimes they are lined up just perfectly and they look like they are wearing the hats.

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  11. These are simply stupendous! I fancy the pillbox hat most.

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  12. This is great! I especially like the green one!

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  13. so cute! i love that someone took the time to do this...

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  14. I love these. You may want to check out these children's books which my daughter and I are particularly fond of that fit in with this theme - Zara's Hats and Coco the Carrot.

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  15. I love that stop too! I always make my Fiance stand in front of a hat so I can take his picture.

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  16. i love this post !

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  17. When I visited NY I was totally fascinated by the subway art walls. Never knew they existed! Thanks for sharing this one-I'll have to find it next time!

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  18. Wow. I've never been at that station! I've always admired all the mosaics at the platforms, but haven't lived in NY for a while now. Now I'm going to look through my pictures and see if I have any pictures, too... I know I took some the last time I was in Brooklyn.

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  19. That's my work stop... I see it all the time!!!

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