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Check out these surreal photos of subway cars at the bottom of the ocean

By
Will Gleason
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We’ve all been on a subway car that’s taken us to an unexpected destination—whether it’s a mile from your intended stop via an unexpected express train or a hallucinatory vision quest via an unexpected stalled train with no air conditioning. We can all say, thankfully, that none of those spots have been the bottom of the ocean. Slowest of claps for the MTA.

But now you have the chance to see just what it would look like if you took the N train 20,000 leagues downtown. All the way down.

The New York Transit Museum has unveiled a new exhibit in their Grand Central Gallery featuring photographs of the very surreal-sounding subway reef. Basically, between 2001 and 2010, the MTA took over 2,500 decommissioned subway trains and were like, "What if we just dropped these bad boys in the ocean?" Turns out, that was a great idea. The cars, which were deposited off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, were used to create new habits for sea bass, tuna, mackerel, flounder, coral and other sea life.

Photographer Stephen Mallon first heard of the project in 2008 and spent the next two years documenting the subway cars underwater journey.

“Sea Train is the largest show of my career and I am thrilled beyond words to be working with the New York Transit Museum,” says photographer Stephen Mallon. “In organizing this exhibit, we chose an intimate selection to provide a fresh look at one of my all-time favorite projects.”

Another bonus to this visually striking initiative? It not only created miles of artificial reefs along the East Coast, it also saved the MTA over $30 million in disposal costs. If only our trash was this inspiring.

Redbird Reef
Photo by Robert Martore, Courtesy of South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Redbird Reef
Photo by Robert Martore, Courtesy of South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Transfer, 2009
Photograph by Stephen Mallon
Weeks 297, 2008
Photograph by Stephen Mallon

 

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