A Report from the Subways

For the last few weeks, the tunnels leading out of the West 4th Street station have been lined with pictures of architectural marvels, in spots usually reserved for ads. I wasn't exactly sure why, since I zipped past them on my way to work at the appropriate urban commuter speed, much too fast to get the gist of its purpose. Is it an art installation? A PSA? An awareness campaign? "Please consider architecture for your next building or edifice!" (The real, non-jokey answer is here. Long story short: It was an exhibition of recent and proposed works sponsored by AIA.)

In any case, CitiField was among the constructions featured, placed aside museums and universities and monuments. It caught my eye one morning, and I stopped long enough to take a peek. Oddly, the photo was taken from an aerial view, so the baseball diamond--not any serious architecture--was its most prominent feature. The legend below the picture called it NEW METS STADIUM, even though the picture itself was new enough to show the "CitiField" logo prominently. My guess is, the corporate name posed some legal issues for whoever put this display together.

This morning, I saw the pictures were being taken down. By the time I arrive, almost all of the posters that once hung on the tunnel walls lay on the floor, crumpled up furiously into huge balls. Workers brutally attacked the remnants with chisels, then scrubbed up the rest with sponges, all to make way for another paying customer.

However, the workers decided to save one specimen from the knife. Very carefully, they had extracted one picture from the rest and placed it lovingly on the wall between two gaping holes of ad space. The picture wasn't even wrinkled in the slightest. Someone was obviously going to take this home and put it in a place of prominence.

It was the picture of CitiField. Someone saw the home of the Mets destined for a chisel's edge and thought, "Dammit, it deserves a better fate than that." Considering how often the stadium is maligned, for one reason or another, you wouldn't think anyone felt this way. But clearly, at least one person does. I found it oddly endearing. There are worse ways to start your day.

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