Making the rounds this morning is a fascinating article on New York City’s ghost subway system, comprising dozens of partially built or fully built but never used tunnels and platforms interwoven among and between the city’s currently bustling tracks and stops. Mainly originating from the 1920s and ’30s, these forgotten subterranean spaces represent the thwarted ambitions of city planners who once envisioned an expansive, interconnected future for every neighborhood in New York—until the fiscal repercussions and socio-political re-prioritizations of the Great Depression and World War II changed everything.

Reading all this brought to mind Stephen Mallon’s stunning 2010 photographs of the MTA’s ongoing “loadouts” and “drops” of retired subway cars into the Atlantic Ocean for the dual purposes of disposal and reef building. Coming to rest deep in the waters off the Maryland coast, the skeletal remains of obsolete trains circumscribe a virtual space of the sub-marine variety, existing as yet another invisible incarnation of the New York subway system’s many lives.



“New York’s Lost Subways (Complete with Map and Dusty Pics)” at Transportation Nation

Great interview with the artist in “Stephen Mallon’s Subway Submarines” at The Heavy Light
Next Stop Atlantic, Mallon’s exhibition at The Front Room
Stephen Mallon’s website

images: © Stephen Mallon, from The Heavy Light
thanks:  The Home Base, for their February 2011 post, Old subway cars