In fact, did you know at least 175 MTA transit stations feature the work of female artists?
Whether they’ve made a vibrant background on your Instagram feed or have added a pop of color and joy to your morning commute, you can thank these amazing women artists at the top of their fields for beautifying our subways, all across the five boroughs.
We’ve picked out 10 to feature below, but remember there are 165 others! You can explore even more on the MTA Arts & Design website here.
1. Prospect Avenue Station (The Bronx)
These beautiful faceted glass compositions showcase the changing weather of NYC’s northernmost borough in a four-panel series, aptly titled “Four Seasons.” The pieces incorporate the unique and historic railings in the station, and offer colorful views looking out over the Bronx.
The artist, Marina Tsesarskaya, lives and works in New York and has had work exhibited internationally in the United States, Canada, Russia and her native Ukraine.
2. 28th Street Station (Manhattan, 6 line)
This station is the work of Nancy Blum, who is known for her stunning botanical drawings, richly detailed and especially intricate. She has worked on many public art installations over her career, including features at the San Francisco General Hospital and Seattle Airport. You can keep up on her work on her website or Instagram page.
3. 1 Av Station (Manhattan, L)
Artist Katherine Bradford wanted subway riders to see themselves in her new piece at the 1st Ave station, while also being inspired to daydream a bit. “I want to give back to these subway travelers their own sense of whimsy,” she said. “I want to give them the possibility of stories that evoke enchantment over reality and a kind of technicolor backdrop to their subway experience.”
The lime green, aquamarine blue, and rosy pink glass mosaics definitely transport you away from the dark and dingy tracks. Stay up-to-date on her latest works here.
4. 34th Street Hudson Yards (Manhattan, 7 Line)
The 34th Street Hudson Yards Station opened in 2018 and features this beautiful glass mosaic artwork entitled “Funktional Vibrations.” It’s also one of the largest commissioned works in the NYC transit system.
It was created by artist Xenobia Bailey, who is known for working with yarn and in the tradition of African-American art including crocheted hats, large mandalas and sculptural installations. You can keep up on her work on her website or Instagram page.
5. Prospect Av (Brooklyn, R)
This work at the Prospect Av station in Park Slope shines with beautifully bright colors and shapes — but it’s full of even more intricate detail than is visible on the surface. The composition layers of the piece incorporate “pixelated satellite images presented in mosaic tesserae, and historical maps and photos of the nearby waterfront.”
Artist Monika Bravo lives and works in NYC but originally hails from Bogotá, Colombia and has had work exhibited at the Stenersen Museum in Oslo; Seoul’s International Biennial of New Media Art; Bank of the Republic in Bogotá; New Museum and El Museo del Barrio here in New York. See more on her website here.
6. Broadway Station (Astoria, Queens, N/W Line)
This gorgeous laminated glass artwork has a stained-glass feel and reflects beautiful colors onto the station platform on sunny days. Called “Outlook,” the work by artist Dianne Carr was made to reflect “the past and present of the [Astoria] neighborhood” through colorful landscape renditions.
7. 163 St-Amsterdam Av (Manhattan, C)
This gorgeous station work was influenced by artist Firelei Báez’s Caribbean cultural heritage (which is prominent in the neighborhood of Washington Heights as well). The title, “Ciguapa Antellana, me llamo sueño de la madrugada. (who more sci-fi than us),” is even derived from famed poet & writer novel Junot Díaz’s “The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao.”
Find Báez’s work on her website here.
8. Gun Hill Road Station (Bronx, 5 Line)
The glass mosaic “My Sun (Mi Sol), My Planet (Mi Planeta) and My City (Mi Ciudad)” by artist Andrea Arroyo pays an ode to her theme of sun, planet, and city. The glass work and bright colors bring lively color to the station, especially on a sunny day. You can find out what she’s working on next on her website or Instagram page.
9. Rockaway Park-Beach 116 Street (A/S, Queens)
If you’ve ever taken the train to Rockaway Beach, you’ll know these pieces of art are the perfect greetings. One shows day (“First on the Beach”) and the other shows night (Wednesday Night Fireworks), both evoking the best of summer in the city through bright laminated glass artwork.
Artist K K Kozik actually originally made these in pastels, and they were later transformed into the glass panels. Find out more about the visual artist here.
10. Avenue U (Brooklyn, F)
This transcendent glass creation looks like paintbrush swipes — and that movement is purposeful, made to mirror “the diversity of New Yorkers in transit, as well as the movement of the human body in space.” What a beautiful way to view the rush of commuting!
Entitled “Brooklyn Transitions,” this work actually encompasses 30 permanent glass artworks installed on the northbound and southbound platforms of the Avenue U station along the F line in Brooklyn. Artist Andrea Belag is a New York artist through and through, having studied at the New York Studio of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture, has received honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, and lives and works in NYC. See more on her website.