Every subway station in New York City seem to depict and tell their distinct story. Each station appears to have their own unique and notable personality. One striking subway station that I stumbled upon which I was truly impressed with was the Second Avenue subway station at 72nd Street.
And out of curiosity, I tried reading articles about the remarkable design and artwork of the station. I then found out that the numerous glass mosaic images on the walls of the station were done my artist and photographer Vic Muniz and he appropriately named these works of art as Perfect Strangers.
Perfect Strangers being a public art display can easily be perceived as a celebration of diversity of the people who live and work in any NYC neighborhood. It is also a powerful message to all commuters about the normalcy of life in New York. These mosaics can simply be distinguished as the microcosm of the city which reminds everyone of us that life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
young at heart
And it looks like this station has been earning some popularity and a amiaable reputation from people who loves taking photos. It is because I noticed that it was not only me who was there taking photos of those Perfect Strangers on the walls! I’m pretty sure the live breathing strangers would post their photos in their respective Instagram account. My photos however don’t seem to do justice!
Enough with the rumination! Let me just announce that I am so loving this station! The price of the subway fare would be so worth it even if your purpose is to see and check-out the Perfect Strangers!
I have written in the past that one benchmark for me to consider visiting and exploring a place or spot on the planet is the availability and complexity of its metro or subway system. The subway or metro train has always been my preferred mode of transportation when discovering a metropolis. It is quick, cheap and convenient.
Also, for me, an urban zone’s train transit system is a suggestive representation of that place’s culture, social conduct, and communal conventions. Riding the subway train is like being one with the locals.
When I was in Washington D.C., its metro train system was my most used mode of transportation known as the Metrorail. And what is so distinct and captivating about the Metrorail is its exceptional look, motif and pattern. Its design is like a weird fusion of retro and space-age at the same time. Being at the station creates the feeling of being in a futuristic movie set in which such movie was created sometime in the 60’s.
It is weird but I also often felt like being inside a thermos bottle! And it also felt like some strange alien is about to pop out at the end of the stunning tunnel.
Even the lighting of the stations were something unique. It’s not bright like the usual and distinctly dim which adds up to a whole lot of character as compared to other typical subway stations of other urban zones! Being at such an uncommon looking-station adds up to the unique Washington D.C. experience. The Metrorail stations are also photo-friendly. It’s actually Instagramable!
And through my readings, I have learned that Washington D.C.’s metro stations were voted and included in the list of America’s Favorite Architecture. After reading such, I seem to not be so surprised by this recognition. Metrorail is hip, cool and totally dumbfounding.
I can’t believe that I am now in New York. All the tiring 20 hours of travelling by air I guess is all worth it. My first day in New York was basically an orientation with my super friend Jhong on how to use the complicated subway.
smile… no worries…
But with my practical background of experience, I can proudly say that going around New York by myself via intricate subway would be an easy stroll in a park. I attribute this easy learnings from two tenets.
First is my exposure to the equally complicated subways of Tokyo and Osaka. I think navigating Japan trains is more challenging because the names of the stations are written in Japanese kanji, and if written in the English alphabet the names of these Japanese stations are really very hard to remember. Japanese train station names looks and sounds like they are from another planet.
I was so channeling my Japanese-subway learnings that it became so apparent because a couple times Japanese tourists thought I was Japanese and asked me in Nipponggo on how to go to certain points of New York.
Second, I am all but well trained and exposed to the Metro Manila congestion. I am proud to say that I am ready to face the New York crowdedness because of my exposure to the Manila congested trains. Nothing beats the crammed people-congested trains of Manila. It’s hot, humid, jam-packed,smelly, hazardous and least to say, inefficient.
That is why on my second day in the State of New York, no thanks to the allergy attacks of my super friend (I guess this is due to stress upon realizing that I would be staying in his apartment for 2 weeks, hahaha!) I went on my own and easily navigated the New York subway from Woodside in Queens to the glorious Time Square in Manhattan and back. It was supposed to be very easy but things got challenging when there were a couple of stations that were unpassable and were under maintenance, thus, the need to change lines and platforms. But all went well, thanks to my Japanese and Manila train trainings.
Next adventure tomorrow would be the World Trade Center Memorial and the bucolic-like Chelsea Market…