Thu Apr 16 2009
There used to be a subway station on the B/Q line at Myrtle and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn. Now, when the Manhattan-bound trains go through the abandoned station, there is a cartoon strip--like artwork. Why and when did they close down the station? With all the new development along that section of Flatbush Avenue, does the MTA have any plans for reopening that station?—Jason Iplixian
The art you spotted makes graffiti seem old-fashioned. Called Masstransiscope, it's a 330-foot-long painting inside of a box outfitted with thin slits and special lighting, so the artwork looks like an animated movie when it's seen from passing trains. The piece was created in 1980 by Bill Brand, an artist, filmmaker, teacher and film preservationist (bboptics.com). "I was interested in public art in general, and I was inspired in particular by the scale and scope of ideas in a Diego Rivera mural," Brand explains. His next project isn't confined to an abandoned subway station: In June he's showing a film at the Vision Festival (visionfestival.org).
Masstransiscope was just restored as part of the MTA Arts for Transit program, but you'll have to continue to admire it while on the move. According to New York City Transit spokeswoman Deirdre Parker, the Myrtle Avenue subway station can't be reopened. "It is too short. It is only one-sided, as the other side was demolished by subway construction in the late 1960s. The street access was demolished recently for redevelopment on the site. And, with the current signal system, it would be a bottleneck to stop there," Parker said.—Rachel Slaff