One-Track Mind: Drawing the New York Subway

Philip Ashworth Coppola. Princeton Architectural Press, $24.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-61689-674-4
Artist Coppola (Silver Connections) documents the mosaics and architectural elements adorning New York City’s subway stations in painstaking detail in this impressive homage to New York City’s subway stations. Artwork and adornment were considered and incorporated at the earliest stages of the planning and construction of the city’s subway system at the beginning of the 20th century. The intent was to bring the ornamentation of the upper class to the common people, incorporating details like wainscoting, panels, and moldings in order to soften the subterranean gloominess. Using only a pad of paper and an ink pen, Coppola records every tile, flourish, and color panel of transit décor, like the mosaic name panel at the Canal Street station on the 6 line; the beaver plaques at Astor Place, which pay tribute to the station’s namesake, John Jacob Astor, who made his fortune in part from the beaver pelt trade; and the sloop plaques that once decorated the old South Ferry station. This small art book is an outstanding appreciation of one of the city’s most begrimed environments and a reminder to take some time and appreciate one’s surroundings. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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