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Posts tagged ‘Scary’

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.

Basement Monsters

Basement Monsters

Imagine these as monsters… in our basement.

Creepy faces stare out at me from the quiet, dark room. I resist the urge to tiptoe by.

It’s odd enough in the basement in the late hours, though it is well-lit. I’m on my way to the trash room with bags of recyclables. But first I have to pass the … monsters! I feel compelled to sidle past the doorway with my back against the wall. But I don’t. I peek in. The imaginative me sees blank faces with glowing eyes. Gaping maws. Guardians. Soldiers. Watchmen. Or monsters. The red eye glares and the blue eye freezes you in place if it catches you in its beam. The mouth gapes widely, blackly toothless, waiting to devour the unwary. The murky gloom beckons you inside in a soft, insistent voice even though you mean to walk past that opening. Fast.

I could be terrified… until I take one step into the laundry room….

The second I cross the threshold, the lights blink on, and the monsters become tame washing machines. No noise, no suds, and most definitely, no monsters.

Yeah, I knew it all along, but there’s a part of me that is still six years old, creeping up the stairs a bit afraid of the dark because I’m afraid of a shadowy lamp in the corner… the silhouette of which just happens to look like the man-eating plant I saw in a cartoon! There’s a part of me that stays awake long into the night, assessing the sounds, measuring the frequency of the sirens, hearing the tock tick tock tick of the clock as it counts the hours. I’m a creature of the night but it doesn’t mean that I can’t see things in its veils of gloom. I’ll exercise that part of my imagination happily because it makes me feel alive and safe—here in my happy home.

Now next time I go down there, who knows what I’ll see?

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