This holiday season, many subway riders got the chance to ride vintage trains as part of the MTA’s Nostalgia Train event. As if riding a train from the `30s wasn’t cool enough, they included several retro advertisements in the cars. Particularly of interest was a series of ads called “The Subway Sun.” Much like today’s “SubTalk,” The Subway Sun was a series of public service ads that ran from the 1940s to the 1960s. Frederick G. Cooper was the original cartoonist behind the series, and in 1946 his protégée Amelia Opdyke Jones or “Oppy” took over and continued to design them for the next 20 years. The term “litterbug” is said to have originated from Oppy’s posters. Below is a collection of Subway Sun posters snapped on the Nostalgia Train.
This isn’t new, but definitely worth checking out. In 2008, street artist Joshua Allen Harris created several subway air creatures out of tape and plastic bags. Here is a video interview from New York Magazine.
Introducing Posterchild, a Toronto-based artist perhaps best known for his Mario Blocks street art project. In his latest work, called New York Sunsets, he posts cityscape silhouettes over several video billboards found on subway station entrances. Many more Sunsets can be found on his blog, Blade Diary or watch a video of the installations after the jump.
So there I am sitting in the movie theater last weekend to see Where the Wild Things Are and lo and behold, this Coca Cola ad comes on featuring what is clearly the New York City subway. If you look closely at the background, it appears they are using some retro subway map.
When visual journalist, Kate Lord moved to New York in February, she was immediately intrigued by the musicians of the city’s transit system. “People just don’t burst into song in a crowded place in Charlotte, North Carolina,” she said of her hometown. Featured in this post are several photos from her ongoing project on subway musicians. The image above is of Marques Toliver, one of Kate’s favorite underground musicians. Press play below to listen to one of his songs, Sights and Sounds of the City as you enjoy the sight of Kate’s amazing photographs.
Sights and Sounds of the City by Marques Toliver
Oopsies. She’s not even from Manhattan.
Have you ever wondered when a specific subway station or line was built or how the subway system evolved over time? If so you must check out this interactive subway ridership map. You can drag the slider along the timeline to see which stations are active and what their ridership was for any year from 1905-2006. It is really fascinating to be able to watch the subway lines spring up right before your eyes.
We’ve mentioned Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s Subway Art book a number of times here on The Subway Art Blog. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the initial publication. To commemorate this, Chronicle Books is releasing a 25th Anniversary Edition of the book. The new release features 70 new photos, updated text and a larger size. We highly recommend this book for the Graffiti lover in your life.
There is something about the subway that seeps into our collective subconscious as New Yorkers. It is a part of us, therefore its history fascinates many of us. One piece of subway history I find interesting is the subway map and its evolution over the 100 years it has been around. NYCSubway.org has an extensive collection of historical subway maps, some of which can be seen above. For the entire collection follow the link below.
And now for my exceedingly long-overdue, yet brief, first post.
In our research to find out if a Subway Art Blog already existed prior to creating our own, we came across the Subway Art book. The book consists of hundreds of images of colorful graffiti on New York subway trains captured by two photographers in the 1980s, accompanied by short back stories. Subway Art provides a glimpse into what is unfortunately a bygone era when the exteriors of so many subway cars became animated canvases.
A very cool virtual experience of the book can be had here.