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Posts tagged ‘Graffiti’

Creepy Tunnel Awaits Public Art

Creepy Tunnel at 191st St New vs Old - DNAInfo

Photo credit: DNAinfo/Lindsay Armstrong

I disliked using the 1-Train Uptown because of the tunnel. Until a few months ago, it symbolized the Portal to Hell, how lost souls would gain entrance to the netherworld. But not now.

How it used to be: After exiting the 191st Street Station, the dark, dank, dirty and seemingly-endless long tunnel from the station to Broadway captivated my imagination. I envisioned the helpful city planners and happy artists painting beautiful murals several years ago. But we all suffered the reality of ugly black graffiti, stuck-on posters that someone burned while on the wall, and dirty ineffective lighting fixtures. I even complained about the illumination to the local precinct police. Tunnels don’t bother me; I’m from Pittsburgh, a city replete with tunnels. The specter of violence and/or unsavory occurrences spooked me although regular, law-abiding people traversed it daily. My mind simply worked overtime. I wasn’t scared, just leery (and lazy, weary of walking uphill once I exited on Broadway).

Now: The Department of Transportation replaced the lighting with brilliant and energy efficient LED lights last autumn. That transformed the tunnel. It’s still dank and long, but doesn’t awake my automatic dread response. I wish I had a bike or skates to float along its inviting length. Along with the platform renovations, LEDs make the 191st Street Station a safer and more desirable destination.

Public art waits to happen here. See DNAInfo: City Seeking Artists to Paint Murals for ‘Creepy’ 191st Street Tunnel. I moved to the neighborhood after the “new” mural was already blighted, so I never got to see it in its glory. Curse the taggers and graffiti “artists” who’ve already marred and mauled the tabula rasa of newly painted walls! I, for one, happily await new, creative artwork (not spray paint) that will uplift community spirit and beautify our corner of Washington Heights.

The 1 Train Tunnel

IRT at 191 and Broadway

The 1 Train Station at 191st Street and Broadway

I’m enthralled with the subway—at least the parts I’ve traveled. Choosing between the A- and the 1- trains was simple until recently; the A train always won. The entrance at W. 184th St. is a short walk up Overlook Terrace, and you can grab a book from the Nomat Book Club’s bookcase situated at the curb if you lack reading material. The walk homeward is flat, too.

NoMat at A train

NoMat Book Club at W. 184th St. and Overlook Terrace. Last summer it was on the wall. Now it is at the curb (“New Location”).

The IRT 191st Street Subway tunnel from Broadway always spooked me. Its dark and gloomy aura promised nightmares with the light fixtures dim and dust-filled. Mysterious mile markers (190.52, etc.) appeared high on the walls, but not regularly. Recently I took the 1 train when a track emergency caused the A train to halt at 168th St. I reluctantly exited the 1, dreading the tunnel. However, I was delighted to see new LED lighting and bright yellow walls (albeit vandalized by graffiti). This development, along with the renovation of the platform, will make the 1 train more desirable a transportation choice… even though the walk homeward is uphill.

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