Earlier this year, three subway stations on the Upper West Side were closed for updates as part of the Enhanced Station Initiative program. This Thursday afternoon, October 4, the 72nd Street B/C station finally reopened with not only repairs and upgrades, but with new artwork by Yoko Ono.
The project is titled Sky and is made up of six separate mosaics on both the station platforms as well as the mezzanine. Yoko Ono, who has lived near the station at the historic Dakota co-op building since 1973, was the perfect artist to design the station’s new artwork. About the new piece, Yoko Ono said in a statement: “I’m thrilled that my new work, ‘SKY,’ will be opening at the 72 St subway station just steps from my home and Strawberry Fields, which I created in memory of my late husband. It will bring the sky underground, so it’s always with us. I hope this will bring peace and joy to my fellow New Yorkers for many years to come.”
The bright mosaics measure 973-square-feet altogether, and illustrate a blue sky with clouds “embedded with written messages of hope.” The MTA says that:
“As riders move through the subterranean subway station, the messages of hope appear in the clouds as the perspective shifts in each mosaic. The transformation of photographs into mosaic sky paintings with subtle gradations in color and tone has created a visually striking station environment. Two mosaics are above the mezzanine stairs leading to the southbound platform where two more pieces are featured, and one mosaic each is installed on the northbound platform and in the main turnstile area on the mezzanine level.”
Since its closure in May, artwork wasn’t the only thing added to the station. There were also repairs on the concrete slabs and steel columns, waterproofing of the areas known for leakage, rusted infrastructure was cleaned and repaired, floor slabs and existing tiles on the platform and mezzanine walls were replaced, and the concrete floors and wall tiles were power-washed. Here’s a look at the renovations: