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Exploring the 4: Arts for Transit Glasswork in the Bronx, Part 2

Continuing along on our tour of the 4 line’s Arts for Transit glasswork are five more stations – each with a unique piece of art that adds color to the urban landscape.

183rd Street

Artist: Jose Ortiz

Title: Many Trails

Found in the mezzanine area of the station, the glassword at 183rd Street depicts scenes from the area, both from the past and present. The title of the piece derives from the symbol depicted on the first panel of the piece – it is the Mohican “Many Trails” symbol. The meaning behind the symbol is described as thus:

The design symbolizes the endurance, strength, and hope of a long-suffering, proud, and determined people. The curved shape represents the arms of a man raised in prayer. the circles represent many campfires. The lines represent the many trails taken from the time the Indians left their ancestral homes.

Some of the scenes depicted in the piece are the lands once inhabited by the Siwanoy Nation (a branch of the Mohicans) in the 1600s, the Croton Aqueduct, St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at Bronx Community College.

  
 
  

176th Street

Artist: Juan Sanchez

Title: Reaching Out For Each Other

Originally designed with shaped bits of colored paper, Sanchez’s artwork features hands reaching out. Although the shapes are simple, they are easily recognizable, and add splashes of brilliant color to the platform and mezzanine areas of the station.

From artwork to faceted glass
Translated from paper to faceted glass – at left, one of Sanchez’s original works, at right, the same art in glass installed at the station.

  
 
   
  
 

Mount Eden Avenue

Artist: Amir Bey

Title: The Procession of Folk #3

At Mount Eden Avenue you’ll find colorful faces rendered in faceted glass on both the platform and lower entrance areas to the station. While the ones on the platform are certainly nice, the lower ones really shine – passing light projects the colors of the glass onto the floor. Each face represents a specific individual, someone known to the artist, and symbolizes the uniqueness of each rider that passes by.

  
   
  

170th Street

Artist: Dina Bursztyn

Title: Views from Above

Next along the line is “Views from Above” – which like Mount Eden Avenue is located on the platform and also downstairs in the station’s entrances. Bursztyn makes a little play on how the stations at the end of the 4 line are all elevated, depicting plants and animals in a similar elevated perspective. The brilliant colors of the faceted glass echo the colors of the sky seen from the elevated platform during sunrises and sunsets.

  
 
   
  

167th Street

Artist: Carol Sun

Title: A Bronx Reflection

Last, but certainly not least, is “A Bronx Reflection” – definitely one of the more beautiful bits of glass on the 4 line, if not the most beautiful. Installed in the station’s lower passageway, twelve colorful panels reflect a vision of growing up in the Bronx. Featuring text in both English and Spanish, the piece depicts animals, plants, schools, shops, and churches – culminating with a view from a window, complete with a steaming mug of coffee. All of these are scenes plucked from the memories of the artist, a Chinese-American artist who grew up in the Bronx, and teaches art to high-schoolers there today.

 
  
   
 
  
   
 

That wraps up the glass art found on the 4 Line… There are plenty of other Arts for Transit pieces along the line, but I’m featuring my favorite medium. While mosaics and other such pieces are certainly lovely, faceted glass has a unique ability to transcend the wall on which it is placed. As the daylight changes and the sun’s rays reflect through the glass, colors are projected onto the platform, providing an ever changing view.

Arts for Transit is a wonderful program, and if you’re interested in some of the other things you might find at various MTA transit stations, they have an app that you can download documenting the various art along the way. Coming this fall, a second edition of the book “Along the Way: MTA Arts for Transit” will be hitting the shelves, which will contain a photo or two of mine as well.

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